Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New report shows the futility of Obama's CO2 cuts, China is in control

A NYT article today by Andrew Revkin "Shows China’s Central Role in Shaping World’s Climate Path," which for those who believe man-made CO2 is the control knob of climate [not me], illustrates the futility of Obama's EPA plan to cut US CO2 emissions an additional 30% by 2030, and bankrupting cheap electricity from coal in the process. 

The reasons include:

  • US emissions have already been decreasing at the same rate as proposed by the EPA without any intervention at all and at the same linear rate shown by the added lines on Revkin's graph below are on target for a 2 Gigaton/year decrease by 2030 [before EPA intervention].

  • Conversely, China is on target to increase CO2 emissions by 9 Gigatons/year by 2030, and India to increase emissions by 2.5 Gigatons/year by 2030, a total of 11.5 Gigatons/year increase by 2030. 

  • The painful US sacrifice of 2 Gt/yr CO2 emissions is only 17% of the increased emissions from the developing 3rd world countries of China and India, a drop in the bucket that will have no noticeable effect. The leaders of both China and India will not be attending this weeks UN Climate Summit, India's Prime Minister is being called a climate skeptic by The Guardian and is rightfully far more interested in bringing cheap and reliable electricity to his people. Nether China nor India has any concrete plan to reduce CO2 emissions, just lip service, thus are unlikely to do so or to follow Obama's wishful "lead."
Bottom line is, no matter how much Obama delivers on his promises to make US electricity prices "skyrocket," "bankrupt the coal industry," and to force unreliable & expensive green energy down our throats, it will clearly be all pain and no gain, even for the CAGW true believers. 

Linear extrapolations of recent trends added to NYT graph

From The Economist, the surprising major sources of CO2 emission [equivalents] reductions include China's one-child policy, the Montreal Protocol [since debunked], and hydropower [debunked]

New CO2 Emissions Report Shows China’s Central Role in Shaping World’s Climate Path

report from the Global Carbon Project shows China's soaring trajectory for heat-trapping carbon dioxide.Credit Global Carbon Project
While President Obama and more than 100 other heads of state are expected to participate in the United Nations Climate Summit today, President Xi Jinping of China, the country making by far the biggest contribution to the atmospheric buildup of greenhouse gases, will not appear.
That’s just one indication of the enormous roadblocks facing those trying to press for a strong new global agreement on stemming global warming in negotiations next year. (For more on the roadblocks, read the recent Op-Ed article by Robert N. Stavins, who heads the environmental economics program at the Harvard Kennedy School.)
Chris Buckley, a longtime China correspondent for The Times, has written a valuable piece for the Sinosphere blog on China’s central role in propelling, and possibly slowing, the buildup of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. The post centers on an interview with Glen Peters, a scientist who is one of the authors of this year’s Global Carbon Budget report, tracking emissions trends for carbon dioxide from energy and cement production. Here are several excerpts and a link to the rest:

The view from a coal-fired power plant in China's Hunan Province in June.Credit Jason Lee/Reuters
In the latest Global Carbon Budget, China seems to figure even more prominently than ever. Why is that? After all, it’s not the only country emitting carbon dioxide. Many wealthy countries have higher average emissions per person.
China has undergone unprecedented economic and structural changes in the last decades, and this is also true for carbon dioxide emissions. In 2002, China emitted around 14 percent of global emissions and the International Energy Agency wrote that in 2030 Chinese emissions would remain well below those of the United States.
Since then, Chinese emissions have grown at around 8 percent per year, passing the United States in emissions in 2006. China now emits 28 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, more than the United States and European Union combined, and almost double the emissions of the United States alone. China has per-capita emissions 45 percent over the global average, and higher per-capita emissions than the European Union. Sixty percent of the growth in global emissions since 2002 is due to China. Even though China has emitted less in total than the United States and European Union since pre-industrial times, the gap is fast closing. The major changes are all happening in China, and the world’s eyes are therefore on China….
So what does your most recent research tell you about where China’s carbon emissions could be headed, and how much they’ll have to bend to give the world a chance of meeting the two-degree target?
Since China is responsible for almost 30 percent of current global emissions and emissions continue robust growth, to have any realistic chance of keeping below two degrees requires strong action by China. We estimate that the remaining emission quota to stay below two degrees Celsius requires China to reduce emissions at around 8 to 10 percent per year and this is, in many cases, greater than the mitigation challenge for the United States. By comparison, the transition to nuclear energy in France, Belgium and Sweden in the 1980s led to reductions of 4 percent per year, but they only lasted for a decade. The mitigation challenge for China is immense.
That sounds daunting. Could you explain the implications? Many Chinese scientists and officials say that China’s carbon emissions are likely to keep growing until at least around 2025, and possibly many years after that. But you’re saying that keeping to a two-degree goal will demand much faster, deeper cuts from China, not to speak of the rest of the world. Is that right?
There is a broad misconception of what it means to keep below two degrees. Most analyses use models that have very optimistic assumptions about the implementation of carbon pricing globally and the availability of key technologies like carbon capture and storage. Analyses also focus on what happens at the global level, hiding country-specific details. This gives the impression that mitigation is easy once there is sufficient political and societal support.
The engineering reality on the ground is likely to be quite different. While China is moving forward with stronger and stronger climate policies, it is unclear if China’s current level of ambition is consistent with keeping global warming below two degrees. The arithmetic of the small remaining emission quota means that the more China emits, the less others can emit. This brings issues of equity and fairness directly into the debate. Despite positive progress in Chinese climate policy, the reality is that, to be consistent with two degrees, a peak and decline in Chinese emissions will have to occur sooner and faster.
You’ve said that, given the failure of advanced countries to do much more in cutting emissions, China has a chance to lead the way in the climate negotiations. But how could it make the kind of emissions reductions you have in mind without hurting its economy? As you know, there’s a great deal of reluctance in China to making changes that could put economic growth at risk.
Each country has its own historical context, which often psychologically constrains options moving forward. Norway is among the richest nations in the world but does not see a path away from its dependence on oil and gas extraction. In contrast, its immediate neighbors Denmark, Sweden and Finland have been almost as successful, but without oil and gas.
There are many ways that a country can find its riches. The secret for China is to make itself a part of the solution. It is clear that to keep below two degrees requires massive new investments in renewable technologies, batteries, electric cars, and carbon capture and storage. A bold move forward will ensure these technologies are “Made in China,” with the riches to closely follow.

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