Coal scuttle

Last week we had Ambrose Evans-Pritchard telling us that:

It is patently obvious that China is not about to sabotage a climate deal.  Its submission to the COP21 summit aims for peak greenhouse emissions by 2030, if not before. It plans 200 gigawatts (GW) of wind and 100GW of solar by then, and a reduction in coal use from 2020 onwards.

This week the New York Times tells us:

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.

If you can’t trust a Communist government, who can you trust?

The Chinese government has promised to halt the growth of its emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse pollutant from coal and other fossil fuels, by 2030. The new data suggest that the task of meeting that deadline by reducing China’s dependence on coal will be more daunting and urgent than expected.

Or maybe the promise falls into the category of “empty”.

“It’s created a lot of bewilderment,” [Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University in eastern China] said. “Our basic data will have to be adjusted, and the international agencies will also have to adjust their databases. This is troublesome because many forecasts and commitments were based on the previous data.”

Remember, these are the figures Ambrose Evans-Pritchard swallowed wholesale while dismissing ExxonMobil’s predictions on future hydrocarbon use as “pure fiction”.

When President Xi Jinping proposed that China’s emissions stop growing by 2030, he did not say what level they would reach by then.

And nobody thought to ask?  Or were the collective tongues of the world’s credulous media jammed too far up his arse for him to catch the question?

The new numbers may mean that the peak will be higher, but they also raise hopes that emissions will crest many years sooner, Mr. Yang, the climate adviser, said.

Raise hopes?  This is a bit of a comedown from “It is unstoppable. No amount of lobbying at this point is going to change the direction” that we heard last week.

“I think this implies that we’re closer to a peak, because there’s also been a falloff in coal consumption in the past couple of years,” he said.

Assuming nobody’s overlooked the odd 600 million tons here and there.

Chinese energy and statistics agency officials did not respond to faxed requests for comment on the data revisions.

Did anybody think to send an email?

Economists have grown increasingly skeptical about the economic data China publishes, and the revisions open a new episode in the debate over its energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Doesn’t bode well for an agreement in Paris, does it?  What happened to this all being determined by fate?

So if China’s emissions have been much greater than believed, researchers will want to understand where the extra carbon dioxide output ended up — for example, how it might have been absorbed in natural “sinks” like forests or oceans, said Josep G. Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project, which studies the sources and flows of greenhouse-gas pollution.

“If the emissions are partially wrong,” Mr. Canadell said, “we’ll be wrong in attributing carbon sources and sinks.”

This is science-speak for “we haven’t a fucking clue”.

“That?  Oh no, that’s organic rocking-horse shit.”


2 Responses to Coal scuttle

  1. Graeme says:

    In the London Review of Books – generally on the greeny side of things – an article concludes:

    “By insisting once again that they don’t have a responsibility to reduce emissions, China and India have ensured that the Paris conference will not reach the hoped-for agreement. Global emissions reductions have been impossible for more than a quarter-century and will continue to be impossible, for the very good reason that this is what was agreed in the original convention. Numerous near irrelevant agreements and declarations of intent will no doubt be made in Paris, obscuring the failure to reach any agreement on global reductions. International policy has so far been based on the premise that mitigation is the wisest course, but it is time for those committed to environmental intervention to abandon the idea of mitigation in favour of adaptation to climate change’s effects.”

    The legal world is catching up with the sceptics.

  2. dcardno says:

    …it is time for those committed to environmental intervention to abandon the idea of mitigation in favour of adaptation…

    you keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means
    Adaptation IS mitigation – it reduces the impact of “climate change” (taken to mean “anthropogenic” and usually implies “catastrophic” – if such a thing is ever observed). What climate interventionists have been pursuing is not ‘mitigation’ but prevention.