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China’s Climate Pledge: ‘If we would like to give then bucket loads of cash, they will build a few wind mills and solar panels, and pocket the rest’

China’s Climate Pledge

By Paul Homewood Guardian readers are no doubt wetting themselves over news that China has now officially submitted its climate plan to the UN: China will aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65% from 2005 levels under a plan submitted to the United Nations ahead of crucial climate change talks in Paris later this year. The pledge has been eagerly awaited as the country is the world’s largest carbon emitter. China said it would increase the share of non-fossil fuels as part of its primary energy consumption to about 20% by 2030, and peak emissions by around the same point, though it would “work hard” to do so earlier. The figures are contained in a document submitted to the United Nations ahead of the next round of UN climate talks in Paris. All countries are expected to submit their national pledges to reduce carbon emissions beyond 2020, also known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). The pledge consists of three parts: 1) CO2 emissions to peak by 2030 This is something, of course, that we already knew. The real question is what level will they peak at? We need to remember that, as even the BBC were forced to admit last year, CO2 emissions per capita in China surpassed the EU’s in 2013. In that year, China emitted 7.33 tonnes per capita, compared to 7.19 tonnes in the UK. [Based on CDIAC emissions of 9977 and 461 million tonnes respectively, and populations of 1360.7 and 64.1 million] The Guardian, for some reason, thinks this means that the UK is not doing anywhere near enough, while the Chinese are super heroes! 2) Increase non-fossil fuels to 20% by 2030 Note that this is as a proportion of total primary energy consumption, and not just electricity. According to the recent BP Review, in 2014 China’s primary energy consumption was : Mtoe % Oil 520.3 17 Gas 166.9 6 Coal 1962.4 66 Nuclear 28.6 1 Hydro 240.8 8 Renewables 53.1 2 TOTAL 2972.1 Non fossil fuels, which of course include nuclear, therefore amounted to 11%. In contrast, the contribution of non fossil in the UK is already 15%, and EU targets mean that this figure will be above 20% even by 2020. Much of China’s targeted increase will be met from Hydro and Nuclear. According to the Pledge Document, capacity of wind power will increase from 96 GW to 200 GW by 2020, and solar from 28 GW to 100 GW. Even at the higher levels, the contribution from wind and solar will still be minimal in the overall mix, maybe about 3%. It is also worth noting that, according to the Guardian, China plans to cap coal consumption by 2020 at 4.2 billion tonnes. This is all well and good, except for the fact that in 2012 it was only 3.5 billion tonnes. Add in the promise in the pledge that the use of natural gas will be expanded to more than 10% of the energy mix by 2020, effectively doubling consumption, it is clear that CO2 emissions will continue to rise for some time yet. 3) Cutting GHG emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65% from 2005 levels. As the Pledge Document admits, CO2 emissions per unit of GDP are already 34% below 2005 levels. Most of this has been achieved not by building windmills, but because much of the economic expansion has been in low energy consuming sectors. This is a process which will only accelerate in coming years. Summary It is clear that Chinese emissions will continue to rise in the next decade or so, probably significantly from already high levels. The sting in the tail of course is money, as Page 18 of the Pledge Document makes clear: $100 billion a year, and increasing! As a “developing country”, China no doubt expect to receive a large wodge of this, despite the fact that they are already a heavily industrialised country. Put another way, if we would like to give then bucket loads of cash, they will build a few wind mills and solar panels, and pocket the rest. If climate change really was a threat, the weak Obama and his cronies in the EU would insist on immediate cutbacks, or at the very least a freeze, in China’s emissions. Instead, they are so desperate to come home with a piece of paper to wave that they will sign up to anything. The full Pledge Document is here. (It’s OK – you don’t have to speak Mandarin or Satsuma, just scroll down for English!)

— gReader Pro