Daily Archives: April 9, 2013

“China Defense” or “Chewbacca Defense”?

When it comes to reducing carbon emissions, we have the unfortunate situation in North America that many people, rather than tackle the problem head-on and doing something about it, are, instead, invoking the “China Defense”. The China defense goes something like this: There are other countries that are polluting the atmosphere much more than we are, like China, because they are still growing and emerging, especially from an industrial perspective. And they are not going to stop what they are doing.

The problem with this defense is that it makes about as much sense as the “Chewbacca Defense“. For those of you familiar with South Park, the creation of the mad minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the “Chewbacca Defense” is a legal defense designed to deliberately confuse the jury by making use of the fallacy known as ignoratio elenchi (red herring). This defense, which (supposedly) satirizes Jonnie Cochran’s closing argument in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, starts off by stating that Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor, which isn’t true. Then it states that the statement does not make sense (which it doesn’t). Then it connects the senselessness of this statement to the actual legal case, to imply that the legal case is equally senseless.

Confused? Good. Because you’d have to be to fall for the “China Defense” when you consider, as pointed out in this great HBR blog post on the fallacy of the “China Defense”, the following:

1. China is doing much more than we are to reduce carbon emissions.

  • China introduced a 10-year 5 Trillion Yuan alternative energy plan in 2010
  • In August 2012, it announced it would spend over 2.3 Trillion Yuan in the next 3.5 years to cut pollution
  • In August 2012, it announced it would reach 21 GW in solar power capacity by 2015
  • As of January 2013, Wind is the #3 source of energy in China
  • It just announced the implementation of a carbon tax

2. Science doesn’t care

We have to decarbonize at the rapid rate of 5% less carbon per dollar of GDP annually until 2050, or the catastrophic effects of global warming will make us long for the days when Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina were the worst we had to deal with (and the cost of catastrophes was under 100 Billion).

3. Not only is going green good, but it will put more green into your pockets than you can imagine.

The truth of the matter is that the clean economy will be a multi-trillion dollar market. Embracing the clean economy could go a long way to helping the U.S. manage it’s public debt!

So make sure to do your best to minimize carbon in your supply chain.