China drives planet towards climate catastrophe

The UN is warning that the globe is headed for a massive overshoot on carbon emissions and associated climate catastrophe:

Global temperatures could rise sharply this century with “wide-ranging and destructive” consequences after greenhouse gas emissions hit record levels last year, international climate experts warned on Tuesday.

The head of the World Meteorological Organization said global temperatures could rise by 3-5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels this century – more than three times agreed limits – if nothing is done to stop rising emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions surged to a record level last year, the United Nations said in its “Emissions Gap Report”, released ahead of U.N. climate talks in Madrid next week aimed at spurring world leaders to limit climate change.

It measures the amount of emissions cuts needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, as agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year warned of huge global changes if that target is not met, such as the loss of nearly all coral reefs and most Arctic sea ice.

Under current national pledges to cut emissions, “temperatures can be expected to rise by 3.2C this century, bringing wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts,” said a summary of the report by the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

“Being a grandfather – we don’t want to leave that for our grandkids,” the report’s lead author John Christensen told a Geneva news conference.

“With 3 degrees we would lose a fairly big fraction of the current (agricultural) yield and areas like Africa where the population is growing would really suffer,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The UNEP report said the safest temperature threshold set in Paris – of 1.5C – was still achievable, but would require emissions cuts of 7.6% a year between 2020-2030. Limiting the rise to 2C it would mean annual cuts of 2.7%.

“We are talking about transformational change now – incremental change simply will not make it. We simply need to transform societies in the next 10 years,” Christensen said.

Here’s the overshoot:

The biggest offenders:

With more to come, at Caixin:

Chinese environmental experts have warned that the country’s planned expansion of coal power projects risks hindering global efforts to fight climate change even as the nation remains on track to meet its own international emissions pledges.

The assessment followed last week’s publication of two reports savaging countries’ continued reliance on fossil fuels and questioning China’s credentials as a green leader.

On Thursday, environmental research network Global Energy Monitor (GEM) published a report showing that growth in China’s coal-fired power capacity more than offsets reductions made elsewhere in the world.

The report also said that China’s proposed coal power expansion through 2035 means that its coal power capacity alone could “far exceed” the total capacity allotted to the entire world under the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global heating below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and shoot for a target of 1.5 C.

That conclusion echoes another report, published Wednesday and co-authored by U.N. Environment Program and other environmental organizations, which showed that the world’s fossil fuel production plans mean that the amount of the polluting fuel produced by 2030 could be 50% greater than a figure consistent with the 2 C target and 120% greater than a 1.5 C pathway.

Three cheers for the CCP!

Which puts us on course for the worst case RCP8.5 scenario:

It is absolutely the case that carbon abatement should be run on per capita basis to be fair. But it is also true that if China just exploits developed economy decarbonisation efforts as an opportunity to destroy the planety then there isn’t much point.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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Comments

    • If you boycott Made in China then you will need to source your stuff from elsewhere and the emission will simply shift from China to wherever you are going to source your stuff from.

    • Right on!

      Finally a little bit of common sense climate from MB!! Just need to let go of the CO2 thing, deal with the overall pollution.

      Just as an aside, has anyone ever done a study of the 20th Century Nuclear testing and its effects on climate/weather.

      All those Nuclear explosions must have some sort of long term effect.

      • Nuclear explosions will induce winter. Carl Sagan wrote a book about it.

        So you already found a solution to the Global warming!!

    • Misleading headline. USA is the culprit. Per capita USA is miles ahead of everyone. USA needs to change their way of living

      • The90kwbeastMEMBER

        Sorry mate the planet doesn’t care about per capita it cares about total emissions. And even if you are worrying about per capita, the USA whilst high is declining. What direction is China heading in..

          • Per capita is not BS as the high per capita countries are leading the lifestyles that the rest of the world is aspiring to. It is something that needs to be dealt with as well as the overall output of massively polluting countries like China.

            What this piece does highlight is that China’s output was not taken into account when this problem was first identified and so everything is being revisied up.

          • Yes it is….

            Six coal fired power stations 20mill people….
            Six coal fired power stations 30mill people…. Per capita goes down, output remains the same.

            There’s a lot of reasons for cramming millions into Smelbourne…

          • It isn’t just power stations that make up the per capita number. There’s consumption, waste, transport and the logistics of the supply chain among other things.

        • Sorry mate the planet doesn’t care about per capita it cares about total emissions. And even if you are worrying about per capita, the USA whilst high is declining. What direction is China heading in..

          ‘Per capita emissions are irrelevant. Also, China is the problem because its per-capita emissions are increasing.’

  1. The90kwbeastMEMBER

    One can quickly see how any discussion about climate change and carbon emissions is just virtue signalling without acknowledging the elephant in the room of China’s massive contribution in overall emissions. Good for Australias trade balance with coal exports though! 😉

  2. China and India by themselves produce 75% of the world’s carbon emissions between them, These two countries amount for 3/4 of the worlds CO2 production , whilst Australia produces less than 1%,, yet nothing is mentioned in the MSM in relation to the aforementioned countries implementing even the most basic clean air laws which the West did from the late 1960’s onwards.

    • We’re not less than 1% when you take into account emissions from the coal exports much of which are to China and India — we could stop them if we, you know, actually cared about this matter instead of just passing the buck. It would definitely be bad for our economy, China and India have the same reasoning.

        • ALmost half the worlds population.

          United states at 16% with with 1/5th the population makes them almost 4 times worse.

          Do you seriously think its ok to assign blame based on “country” rather than population ? That would have to be one of the single most ridiculous and unfair approaches ever suggested.

          While we are at it global warming is a cumulative problem – the build up has taken 200 years of emissions. The totality of the situation is conveniently being position as starting in the presented graph with China’s rise from 3rd world to developed.

          It honestly could not get any more disingenuous than that graph – truly propaganda at its finest.

      • @Nim Chimpsy imagine trying to argue we don’t contribute less than 1% because of our coal exports to China, why don’t we just stop exporting iron ore, beef, and other primary products because the inputs which produce them require Carbon!

        @Rene Konk, those figures have been widely discredited, one only has to read the annual stories on how the residents of Chinese and Indian cities are advised to stay indoors due to pollution being so bad. You can’t even see the sky in the cities of China and India and the climate change shills always conveniently forget to mention the total lack of clean air laws in the aforementioned countries.

  3. I think it has to come down to individuals, choosing where they will and will not put their money, advocating, and making/changing markets…

    I’ve recently gone from a 50% renewable power plan to 100% (I thought I was already on 100%…oops!).

    I’m already driving around less, and looking forward to getting an electric vehicle in the next few years, if I can find one that suits (fingers crossed). I’m already pretty good on minimising power consumption at home, without being a Nazi.

    I’d do solar and batteries if we didn’t rent, as I think the numbers are a no-brainer now.

    Millions of individuals making changes to their lives can make a difference, and I don’t think it needs to reduce our quality of life either.

    My 2c

  4. blindjusticeMEMBER

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L5AVBOh4SM
    Worth a watch – she is one of the 97% consensus on climate change and
    https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/52041/1/52041-mclean-2017-thesis.pdf
    worth a read for the audit of the Hadcrut database
    also from 13:30 the guy who invented weather and climate models first discusses the models.
    https://youtu.be/-fkCo_trbT8
    note how many vitally important inputs are entered as parameters prior to running a model. But hey the science is settled right?

    • blindjusticeMEMBER

      The consequences are already here. Millions die each year from the poisons emitted in Asia. Do they stop because of that? No. Will they stop for climate change?

      • Without ‘economic’ power, there’s no political power-hence they will carry on until forced by rest of Earth’s inhabitants to remove the ‘tail pipe’ from our enclosed space here. Change and the demands for it are increasing rapidly but many believe we’ll brake too late and head right off the cliff. Wars will be fought to change behaviors.

  5. I like how China’s coal emissions will blow away totally all of Western Europe’s best endeavors to eliminate coal emissions.
    It’s a bit like one room in a house is ablaze whilst others living in the same house feel cosy.

  6. There’s a nagging little discussed fact underlying this catastrophic raise in Carbon emissions, put simply it is that You can’t produce the core components of a Renewable Energy system using Renewable Energy. At least not today.
    Our Aussie fixation with Renewable Energy results in our Coal being burned in China to manufacture the renewable generation sources which we import. Now you can try to run a modern production line without reliable (dispatchable) power… but lets just say that nobody that knows what they’re doing is that silly.
    So in many ways our Western energy savings aren’t really energy savings at all, but facing this “Inconvenient fact” might be a little too much truth for most of our Aussie Green virtue signalers.
    Good job we haven’t forgotten just how to point the finger of blame…that’s something we’re really good at.

    • If you do not aspire to produce anything then renewables might sound like an attractive idea.

      No matter how you look at it, it just doesn’t work globally.

    • ” put simply it is that You can’t produce the core components of a Renewable Energy system using Renewable Energy.”

      Complete horse manure.

        • I am not the one making outlandish statements: “You can’t produce the core components of a Renewable Energy system using Renewable Energy.” I don’t need evidence, but I will state that Iceland, a first world industrial country runs on 100% renewable energy and has done for a long time!

          You make a statement that defies the laws of physics and requires elaboration. A kilowatt of energy from a renewable source is indistinguishable from a kilowatt produced from fossil fuels. Engineering can produce reliable systems from unreliable sources – how do you think hospitals and data centres maintain 100% power running on unreliable power networks?

          • Really, you want to lecture me on the Physics of renewable energy. F’ing unbelievable.

            OK let me explain
            Unknowns and Indeterminates are the enemies of automation, they turn simple control problems into impossible what’ifs. Simple material dollars in dollars out equations become what’if the machine goes down at this stage of production? questions.
            The fix for this is guaranteeing your own local personal Grid. For most manufacturing companies this means having guaranteed battery backup (for an hour or so) AND generator back-up (for up to a day) that is the direct cost of accepting unreliable electrical power as the primary power source for a modern manufacturing company.
            So lets put some numbers to this.
            Operationally Battery backup costs about 50c/kwh if / when you use it. Generator backup for the battery systems cost about $1.50/kwh fuel costs whenever you need it. with a fixed costs of about $100/year/kwh.
            these are real costs that any modern high tech manufacturer must pay to ensure continuity of power IF they rely on renewable sources. The actual cost of power from these renewable sources can be as low as 5c/kwh but the ancillary costs can easily exceed 30/kwh. it is these other/ associated costs that make coal generated electricity cheap by comparison.
            IF you want me to go into the details of costs associated with each stage of the of production monocrystalline solar cells than I’m happy to substantiate what I’ve claimed. But is it really that hard to understand that unreliable electrical power is the enemy of complex high tech industry?
            Google something like Czochralski puller and try to understand the process. Now imagine you’re half way through growing an ingot and the power goes out. Do you just get to laugh it off or scrap your entire production line? As in every last ingot you’ve grown for the last week is worthless scrap? (hint I know the answer)
            All that I’ve said is that you can’t make renewable power with renewable power because it is unreliable and I stand by that.

          • Fact 1: Iceland has 100% renewable power generation.
            Fact 2: Iceland has 3 aluminium plants (highest power consumptions & can’t lose power)
            Fact 3: Iceland has Czochralski puller production!! (Yes, I googled it https://artemis-artemise.be/03-25_furnace-for-silicon-carbide-crystal-growth-in-iceland).

            Fact 4: EVERY manufacturing process, hospital, data centre, tall building ALREADY has a battery and/or a generator backup power because the current power grid goes down, poles fall over, transformers blow out, coal power stations stop working.

            Like I said, we KNOW how to make reliable systems out of unreliable supply. We can reliably have communication to space ships traveling past Pluto. We KNOW how to keep people alive on life-support systems in hospitals in 3rd world countries with dodgey power. We KNOW how to buffer power. Batteries are dropping in price by 23% every year.

            You can apologise now 🙂

          • Ok let me understand your position.
            A Chinese company goes to the trouble of moving critical production to Iceland and you take this as proof that electricity reliability was not a factor in their decision.
            Sure Iceland has reliable electricity but it is hardly as a result of deploying what most would consider renewables.
            As for the other factors you need to associate costs with these behaviors/choices and compare these all-up costs with the cost of electricity generated using Gas, Coal or Nuclear technology.
            that’s all I’m saying

          • You stated You can’t produce the core components of a Renewable Energy system using Renewable Energy.”

            I claimed your statement was horse manure, I have proven that we ACTUALLY CURRENTLY DO produce core components using 100% renewable energy. Your statement was horse manure.

    • Store the power as pumped hydro, compressed air, heat, batteries, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc…so many ways to skin the cat..

      It’s really just details now.

      Disclosure: I am an engineer, so have at least half a clue of what I’m talking about (I say this not to shut anyone down, but so you now I’m not just asserting crap…)

      • Oh course you can buffer Renewable (PV/Wind) with Energy storage solutions (dams, battery, compressed air etc) but that hybrid combination is not the same as directly utilizing Renewable generated energy to run a critical manufacturing plant.
        IF your manufacturing solution requires the use of energy storage solutions to synthesis a reliable grid than the cost of said storage is an essential part of your manufacturing flow and as such must be costed in the flow.
        Atm the cheapest batteries available add about 25c/kwh to the cost of renewable, so the actual Renewable energy costs under 5c/kwh and the storage costs 25c/kwh. for a combined costs of 30c/kwh. which is about 3 times the cost of Coal fired or Nuclear generated electricity.
        IF you happen to have two dams available to pump water to and fro than these costs (ignoring the dam infrastructure cost) could be as low as 5c/kwh. So yes in this case by ignoring many of the costs you could synthesis a reliable grid with Renewables and Storage for less than the cost of coal fired electricity.
        The problem with using compressed air is that the round-trip efficiency is typically about 30% which means the actual cost of energy used is between 2 and 3 times the cost of renewable generation (wind and PV) itself.

        • The trouble with the use of dams as batteries is that you can no longer use the dams for water management – you can no longer release or pump up water based on water requirements in times of droughts or floods.

    • I think it’s not (mostly not) done by teh MB crew. It’s part of the platform the site is built on. Hot words seem to be targeted by some algorithm built into the back-end which references a centralised blacklist, which in turn updates, depending on what subject matter is hot globally. That’s how I read it, anyway, from empirical experience
      Nevertehless (see what I did there?), the moderator(s) at MB can put you in the sin bin for sure. I don’t see them doing that habitually

  7. “China drives planet towards climate catastrophe”
    more correctly
    FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY DRIVES PLANET TOWARDS CATASTROPHE.

      • The feedback caused by climate change is not just hypothesised it is already been seen. The increased length and severity of droughts due to the dying out if the land. The overlapping of fire seasons for the northern and southern hemispheres. The destabilization of the west Antarctic Is Sheet due to warming waters. The Arctic blasts hitting the mid latitudes in the northern hemisphere from the collapse of the Arctic pressure barrier due to the more rapid increase if temperature at the higher latitudes, as per the predictions of the climate scientists.

        As to the link places it doesn’t relate to the topic of discussion. It’s akin to throwing up some unrelated mathematical thing to attempt to make a point when discussing compound interest.

        • Its all about the numbers. Climate is always changing, climate is now getting warmer, Co2 is rising, there is a feedback loop, Co2 is causing measurable warming (“measurable” requires maths compared to what the natural increase from the little ice age might be otherwise.) Measurable can be insignificant. I think the alarmist criticisms of John Christy’s chart contrasting the actuality with the IPCC models are incorrect, but that’s just me.

      • “The equilibrium law shows this is impossible.”

        Wow! The stuff that gets made up by the fossil fuel industry is amazing. Amazing how there is never a peer reviewed paper to go along with some new ridiculous hypothesis – just some random fossil fuel backed website with no one there to point out the ridiculousness of the assumptions.

        The earth, the atmosphere and the rest of the universe are not a CLOSED equilibrium system! So Le Chatelier’s principle CANNOT apply.

        And ‘unproven positive feedback’? Are you serious?

  8. God help the planet if these people get wealth, imagine just 10% of the population seeing a better income, I know this sounds bad but put it into perspective, that’s 130 million people demanding more food, more meat more fish more commodities, moving away from staple rice diets etc….wanting more goods, more cars, bigger houses, more everything…130 million…like having another UK arise…the pressure on the planet to provide will be enormous and devastating…and that’s just if 10% of them go from poor to middle class….what happens if its more!…

  9. China running a negative-sum-game pushing us into climate catastrophie as it dominates and hoards the apocalypse’s dwindling resources.

    • We were already heading into climate catastrophe and China’s growth has just accelerated it. None of the developed world has done enough and the devloping world is adding to it as it grows.