Word from participants who shall remain nameless is that China has taken the lead in global warming obstructionism in 2007.

chinese flag

“China is being very difficult,” says one, who asked not to be named. “[They are] the only country who opposes sentence: “most observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”” Though they dropped the objection eventually, they did hold up proceedings for an hour today on this one sentence.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that U.S. participation–led by Harlan Watson–has been characterized by several participants as “constructive” and “very discreet.” With the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases slowing or halting its objections to climate change science and action, the pressure is on China, a country whose emissions are on pace to eclipse the U.S. shortly.

Of course, U.S. per capita emissions dwarf China’s but that country’s vaunted economic miracle is powered largely by coal. From home heating to industry, this dirty black rock is choking Chinese cities in a yellow haze and adding to the global atmospheric burden of carbon dioxide. With the U.S. acceding that the time may have come to act, the pressure will be on China to clean up–a difficult feat for a country that only has access to one fossil fuel in abundance indigenously: you guessed it, coal.

This is not to say that the U.S. has dropped its opposition to climate change. Global warming deniers, prominently represented by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), continue to twist the facts to serve their rhetorical needs. For example, yesterday, said senator charged that the media was covering up the fact that the IPCC summary to be released this week “was not approved by scientists but by politically motivated UN bureaucrats.”

This is flat-out false. As my story from yesterday points out, the scientists have the right of refusal to any language changes in said summary that do not reflect the underlying science. And the document is largely being negotiatd by diplomats from the respective countries, not the UN at all.

The good senator also points to a supposed conspiracy that must be behind the decision to publish this summary three months before the first actual scientific document it is based on. Rather, that decision may be based on the tens of thousands of comments from various governments the authors of these consensus reports have received and must address. After all, the process to become an IPCC reviewer is not a difficult one.

So for all those who fear that climate obstructionism is dead, you can rally around the flag of China. For those who think that the time has come to act, the scientific and diplomatic consensus of most of the nations of the world supports you.