Net Zero Agenda Faltering: “Pie in the Sky”
NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT / by Paul Homewood / 3d
By Paul Homewood
A round up of Net Zero news:
Yesterday, Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan warned that COP26 will end in failure without hundreds of billions in annual support from the rich West. Developing countries would need about $400 billion a year in climate finance support to shift towards low carbon development pathways, yet developed countries had failed to deliver the $100 billion a year of climate finance promised as part of the Paris agreement.
Now, India has come out fighting, calling the West’s 2050 Net Zero targets “pie in the sky.” India’s energy minister said poor nations want to continue using fossil fuels and the rich countries “can’t stop it”.
According to both the UK and US governments, at the UN climate summit in November all countries should adopt Net Zero emissions targets similar to those adopted by Western nations. The fundamental problem with this expectation is that it contravenes the Paris Climate Agreement which cements the UN’s key principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities.‘ This principle acknowledges that developing nations have different capabilities and differing responsibilities in reducing CO2 emissions.
In a recent interview, India’s climate negotiator Chandrashekhar Dasgupta made clear that the West’s Net Zero agenda undermined the principle of equity and “common but differentiated responsibilities” of developed and developing countries. This position also explains why India is demanding that richer countries adopt “net negative” emissions targets.
India: Net zero targets are ‘pie in the sky’
Sharp divisions between the major global emitters have emerged at a series of meetings designed to make progress on climate change.
India lambasted the richer world’s carbon cutting plans, calling long term net zero targets, “pie in the sky.”
Their energy minister said poor nations want to continue using fossil fuels and the rich countries “can’t stop it”.
China meanwhile declined to attend a different climate event organised by the UK.
Trying to lead 197 countries forward on the critical global issue of climate change is not a job for the faint hearted, as the UK is currently finding out. […]
India, the world’s fourth largest emitter, doesn’t seem keen to join the club.
“2060 sounds good, but it is just that, it sounds good,” Raj Kumar Singh, India’s minister for power, told a meeting organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
“I would call it, and I’m sorry to say this, but it is just a pie in the sky.”
To the discomfort of his fellow panellists, Mr Singh singled out developed countries where per capita emissions are much higher than in India.
“You have countries whose per capita emissions are four or five or 12 times the world average. The question is when are they going to come down?”
“What we hear is that by 2050 or 2060 we will become carbon neutral, 2060 is far away and if the people emit at the rate they are emitting the world won’t survive, so what are you going to do in the next five years that’s what the world wants to know.”
Meanwhile China continues to plough ahead with coal power:
Despite its pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, China continues to burn more coal than any other developed nation, relying on the fossil fuel to satisfy the nation’s surging demand for electricity.
According to a report released Monday by U.K.-based energy and climate research group Ember, China accounted for 53% of the world’s coal-powered electricity in 2020—nine percentage points higher than its share in 2015, when China joined the Paris Agreement.
“Despite some progress, China is still struggling to curb its coal generation growth,” Ember senior electricity policy analyst Muyi Yang said. “[F]ast-rising demand for electricity” in China continues to be satisfied by burning coal.
China’s electricity usage has surged 33% since 2015. According to the International Energy Agency, demand from China’s steel and cement industry—propped up by the state’s heavy infrastructure investment—is one of the primary drivers of electricity consumption, alongside increasing automation of the manufacturing industry.
And the climate agenda is slipping in France as Macron finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place!
The politicians have all left Emmanuel Macron‘s La Republique en Marche (LREM) over the President’s lack of commitment to environmental and social issues. The French leader has failed to stick to his famous “make our planet great again” slogan from 2017, sparking the fury of those both in opposition and in his own party.
Jennifer De Temmerman, an MP and former LREM member, said the President’s commitment was “skin deep”.
She told Politico: “It’s all communication, smoke and mirrors. He lectures others, but in reality, his actions in France don’t pass muster.”
Thousands of protesters took to the street of Paris on Sunday to demonstrate against the President’s climate bill, which environmental campaigners say falls too short of Mr Macron’s promises to change the world.
Ms De Temmerman said: “We were expecting a grand bill, a landmark piece of legislation, and it falls very short of our expectations.
France’s High Council on Climate, a body set up by The French President himself to advise on climate policy, said the measures will not “fill the gaps in France’s transition to low carbon.
They added the bill will only deliver “between a half and two-thirds of the cuts needed between 2019 and its [40 percent] target for 2030”.
Those who once supported the French President’s green ambitions, now recognise the “contradictions” in his policies.
It strikes me that the world has actually made little progress (if that is the right word!) since Copenhagen in 2009. Back then the developed world had to agree to allow developing nations the right to carry on increasing emissions, as well as giving them hundreds of billions of dollars. Very little of that money has actually appeared.
Fast forward, and developing nations are still increasing emissions, while demanding ever larger sums of money. Meanwhile the West is finding that the transition to a low carbon world is going to be extremely painful.
No doubt at COP26 in Glasgow (rumoured that it may be postponed again because of the pandemic), the usual fudges will be made. There will be vague promises from poorer countries to “do something” at a time several decades in the future. These will of course be utterly worthless, and be no more binding than their Paris pledges.
The BBC will proclaim that the world has been saved (before reading the small print in a few years time). And a year later, Prince Charles will warn us that we only have X years to save the planet!