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  • The Math On Chinese Emissions

    Chinese President Hu Jintao captured headlines yesterday, promising the PRC would “endeavor to cut carbon-dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020.” Reviews have ranged from an important step toward emissions caps to vague and disappointing.

    For those serious about climate change, China is the whole ballgame. If 2000-2006 trends in Chinese and American emissions held in 2007, then the PRC’s emissions were nearly 15% larger than America’s and pulling away fast.

    The financial crisis altered everyone’s carbon trajectory but lending-induced resilience in China’s heavy industries means their emissions kept rising. Looking ahead, nearly two-thirds of the global emission increase by 2020 could be due to the PRC.

    Projecting forward is more discouraging. Say China achieves 8% average annual GDP growth to 2020 (or reports it has). Say it deftly cuts 2000-2007 annual emissions growth in half, to 6%. That would constitute a large drop in emissions per unit of GDP and a complete victory on that score.

    At the same time, 6% annual growth to 2020 is the worst scenario to be found on China’s emissions. If you believe carbon emissions are extremely dangerous, 6% growth to 2020 is a complete disaster.

    The issue is not whether specific commitments are forthcoming from Beijing but how much the freight train of Chinese emissions can be slowed, promises aside. To cut emissions growth in half is simultaneously a powerful accomplishment and an utter failure. That quandary, not Hu’s speech, is where attention should be focused.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to The Math On Chinese Emissions

    1. Loyd Reddig, Weather says:

      Set some goals for PRC to reach and they won't. They haven't in the past. Speak up for the enviroment in the PRC and see what you get. I am not going to support any treaties that are unenforcable in the PRC. Especially if they come from the UN. Send the UN to the PRC and let them build an office there. They have a lot of work to do there and it can be done at a cheaper price in the PRC.

    2. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      Old CHICOM saying, "You fix, we watch."

    3. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      In the American way of thinking, if I keep my lawn cut, trimmed and green, and my neighbor does not, the Government will tax me for using more products to produce a nice lawn.

      In our Government's way of thinking, I pay to have my garbage removed, recycled, or to go to the county dump. My neighbor burns his, tires included, and once a year receives a fine of $100.00. Who is the greater fool?


    4. Al, The Villages, Fl says:

      Don't know about the folks in the U.S.A. but the PRC does not intend to kill its economy for some global warming/emissions goal. It's called common sense. Without clear science to direct a course of action with clear goals and a high probability of success(economically and environmentally) no intelligent person is going to invest in that show. People out of work don't care about global warming. (Recognizing,of course, that Pittsburgh and London were,at one time, in need of environmental help)

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