Posts Tagged ‘UN Paris Conference’

China has been burning more coal than reported – and any Paris “agreement” will have no significance

November 4, 2015

The NYT reports that in the last 10 years China has admitted it has been burning about 17% more coal than has been reported. The extra one billion tons burned every year is equivalent to what is consumed by Germany. But the global temperature (the satellite measurement based calculated temperature, not the calculated land based measurements which are fudged every year to keep cooling the past) has been flat for over 18 years. Antarctica is gaining ice mass. Ice cover in the Arctic is at the highest level for the last 10 years. Sea levels are not rising any faster than they have been for the last 500 years. Apart from shifting money between countries it is difficult to see what Paris is all about.

Irrespective of what Paris may “agree”, it will be non-binding and will allow India to treble its coal consumption and China to double its coal burn. Both will however “reduce” their carbon emission intensity per unit of GDP (how not?). Energy growth exceeds GDP growth at low levels of development (and fuels GDP growth) but then flattens out as the GDP increases. Thus reducing carbon emission intensity per unit of GDP is easy (and virtually impossible to avoid) when GDP is growing and development has reached the point where growth in electricity (or energy) consumption is lower than GDP growth.

energy to gdp growth as function of gdp

energy to gdp growth as function of gdp

The trebling and doubling respectively of India and China’s coal consumption over the next 20 or so years is an inevitability. Carbon emissions will follow no matter how they are packaged to seem to be “a reduction of emissions per unit of gdp”.

What European countries do to cut their fossil fuel use – and increase their electricity costs – is pointless and with no measurable objectives. European actions are no longer of any significance in terms of global emissions. Moreover nothing “agreed to” in Paris will give any measurable impact on any climate parameter over the next 50 years. The only measurable results of any Paris deal are the inputs – money flows between countries and the changes in fuel use. None of the desired “climate changes” are measurable. Truly policies without any measurable objectives.

china - revised coal consumption - graphic NYT

china – revised coal consumption – graphic NYT


China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases from coal, has been burning up to 17 percent more coal a year than the government previously disclosed, according to newly released data. The finding could complicate the already difficult efforts to limit global warming.

Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense. The sharp upward revision in official figures means that China has released much more carbon dioxide — almost a billion more tons a year according to initial calculations — than previously estimated.

The increase alone is greater than the whole German economy emits annually from fossil fuels.

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