Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Breaking-US and China Reach Agreement on Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The US and China have reached agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  The bottom lines (and they are of necessity different) is that China will cap emissions by 2030 or earlier and generate 20% of its energy without fossil fuels.  The US has agreed to cut emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

The devil is always in the details, but this is an interesting first step towards a Montreal solution to limit climate change which, of necessity, must be asymmetric.  Each country takes a step forward, mostly but not exactly, in the same direction.  In the US, negotiations with Republicans appear more difficult.

The Whitehouse press release made some interesting points:

3.     Today, the Presidents of the United States and China announced their respective post-2020 actions on climate change, recognizing that these actions are part of the longer range effort to transition to low-carbon economies, mindful of the global temperature goal of 2℃
David Victor and Charles Kennel enjoyed that one
5.     The global scientific community has made clear that human activity is already changing the world’s climate system. Accelerating climate change has caused serious impacts. Higher temperatures and extreme weather events are damaging food production, rising sea levels and more damaging storms are putting our coastal cities increasingly at risk and the impacts of climate change are already harming economies around the world, including those of the United States and China. These developments urgently require enhanced actions to tackle the challenge.
Hmm, guess there is a consensus about the science that the policy makers have figured out
6.     At the same time, economic evidence makes increasingly clear that smart action on climate change now can drive innovation, strengthen economic growth and bring broad benefits – from sustainable development to increased energy security, improved public health and a better quality of life. Tackling climate change will also strengthen national and international security.
and the economics.

There is a  fact sheet on the agreement


Anonymous said...

On the other hand:
"McConnell plans Senate effort to preempt EPA carbon crackdown."


John Puma

Anonymous said...

The US met the Kyoto goals by doing nothing ( thanks to demographics and market based technology ).

Fortunately, demographics and market based technology apply not just in the US and China, but globally.

Anonymous said...

We never met our Kyoto goals, Anonymous.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... You may be right.

The US reduced CO2 emissions by 5.4% from 1997 to 2012 ( the expiration of Kyoto ).

The Developed target of reduction for developed nations was 5.2%, which the US met but proposed reductions for the US were even more at 7%.

Nevertheless, the US reduced CO2 emissions without policy - a trend that is likely to continue.

Pekka Pirilä said...

Paris should lead to an international agreement, not only to a set of declarations of separate goals by each party - that would be just a repetition of Copenhagen that was judged a failure.

An international agreement should be ratified by each country. Getting the US Senate to ratify anything meaningful seems almost impossible. Getting China to agree on anything more than a declaration of good intent may also be very difficult.

EliRabett said...

a. You have to get there
b. Sausage making is not neat
c. Declarations of good intent by developing countries worked in the case of the Montreal Protocls

Graeme said...

so this summary from the BBC is what the rabbit calls agreement:

"China did not set a specific target, but said emissions would peak by 2030.

Wednesday's pledge is the first time it has agreed to set a ceiling, albeit an undefined one, on overall emissions."

An undefined ceiling eh? Hmm... let's see... is that similar to no ceiling? Or an agreement to do whatever we damn well please?

Anonymous said...

China - We will do nothing different until 2030. We hold the same position we had earlier this year.

US - We will cut our emissions by 26-28% by 2025 below the 2005 levels, while China, under this "agreement" is free to continue to increase theirs until 2030.

Brilliant. Only Rabetts could like this idiocy.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the target for developed countries was a 5.2% reduction from 1990 levels, not 1997. Furthermore, the numbers you're giving seem to be restricted to energy-related CO2 emissions, not the national total from all sectors.

Anthony Watts is an idiot and made the same mistakes, then refused to acknowledge the errors. Don't be Anthony Watts.


EliRabett said...

It was the same deal they had for CFCs and they beat the deadlines. BTW, that's the headline, read the fine print.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty simple.

Both China and the US will have lower emissions in 2030 because both, like much of the world, will have fewer working age ( and consuming age ) citizens in 2030 than they do today.

Looks like this.

Fewer emitters means fewer emissions.


Hank Roberts said...

#CometLanding beats out #KimKardashian on Twitter yesterday

There is still hope.

Anonymous said...



David B. Benson said...

This agreement, by itself, will accomplish almost nothing.

Fernando Leanme said...

I agree with David Benson. The agreement is vaporware intended to get you guys excited. I suggest you move clocks forward using a spreadsheet and estimate CO2 concentrations in 2035 under the agreement. However don't use the iPCC fossil fuel production rates. Use mine, I have lower figures. And don't assume carbon capture, because it's not feasible with current technology. Go ahead, give it a try.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Fernando and David,
The agreement is already accomplishing something--it's getting India and Brazil to talk about issuing their own goals. In this area, perception matters. Ultimately, we have to turn fear of leading into fear of being left behind with an outdated energy infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

Yes I am sure India would also like to agree with the US to not do anything about their CO2 emissions for 16 years and get the Us to cut theirs another 26-28%.

These agreements are awesome and will save us from Global Warming! Hurrah!


a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll 1,
Your lack of understanding of the history of this issue is equal to your lack of technical understanding.

This is the first time China has agreed to anything. But, then you've shown yourself to be uneducable as well as boorish.

J Bowers said...

"The agreement is vaporware intended to get you guys excited. "

No. It's a major agreement signed by two of the world's superpowers who didn't actually need to sign anything in the first place. Get a new revenue stream, Fernando.

Aaron said...

Consider that much of the tar sands/shale oil in Canada belongs to China, but is expensive to extract.
OPEC countries have oil in the ground that is inexpensive to produce, but they had been keeping the price of oil high to maximise their profit on the oil.

Along comes AR5, that all of the countries had to sign off on. AR5 says that there may not be much of an oil market in 50 years, so (OPEC) might as well produce and sell all of their oil as soon as possible. That lowers the price of oil.

Why should China pay $80/bbl to extract and transport tar sands oil that they own in Canada, when they can buy oil from OPEC for $70/bbl?

The truths in AR5 are the enforcement mechanisms in the US/China agreement. The price of oil is going to go down because, AR5 tells us that oil in the ground now has a shelf life. If energy companies want to make any profit on their (carbon) reserves, they need to produce that oil before the Earth goes off of a carbon economy.

There will be a race for the exits, and some folks will get trampled.

The price of carbon based fuels will plummet, making it very hard to sustain progress in renewable energy.
The energy companies will say, "See carbon is cheap." The price of fossil fuel energy will drop below the production cost of energy from the "Drill Baby, Drill" wells, and those facilities will never recover capital cost. Oh, well! Haliburton made good profits installing those wells.

Hank Roberts said...

This first step, by itself, will accomplish almost nothing.

That's how progress works.

Slightly diverts funding and attention toward various steps that could be part of the paths that makes sense.

One step in the right direction changes how the world looks, slightly.

Anonymous said...

At this point (after getting a second term and after the midterm election), Obama has nothing to lose (and much to gain*) by proposing "historic" non-binding climate "agreements", especially knowing that he and the Democrats can always blame Republicans for any failure to follow through (whether true or not).

*after previous climate summits at which the Obama admin was very "unhelpful" (some say sabotaged) Obama knows he has to do something to turn around his tarnished image as a climate agreement foot-dragger. His legacy demands it.

But his decision on keystone will tell us how sincere he is.

Anonymous said...

Simple a-ray, what reductions will China have before 2030 from this agreement? Your arrogance with how often you are just full of crap is astounding.

China has agreed to nothing, that you find that interesting means nothing.


Anonymous said...

This is laughable that China agrees to continue to increase emissions every year and will cap NLT 2030 and rodents here think it is a major agreement.

They agreed to do nothing for 16 years, period.


Anonymous said...

Some people seem to have missed that China pledged to get 20% of their energy from renewables by the deadline.
By way of the comparison, the US currently gets about 13% of its energy from renewables of all types, and China only gets 7%.

Perhaps this is why some loudmouths (anonymous and otherwise) should hold their tongues until they've actually read a little something about the issues first.


Fernando Leanme said...

I'm finished with my computations. The agreement, if followed by other nations, will yield a 0.2 degree C reduction in worldwide surface temperature by 2050. If it's not followed and only the EU, China and the USA take strong action the difference is about 0.1 degrees C or even less.

This is versus allowing the fossil fuel markets to evolve on their own, of course. My model shows fossil fuel depletion will bite the growth rates by 2030 to 2035 anyway. I suspect the Chinese model is similar to mine.

EliRabett said...

The bunnies will pay due attention Fernando.

Graeme said...

wow...these bunnies are supposed to be pro-science...but they don 't want to do co putation. Kdos to fernando leanme...the only scientist amongst you bunch of losers

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

they don 't want to do co putation. Kdos to fernando

Damn, and I ran into a dumpster filled with dozens of dusty old keyboards last hippie Christmas.

J Bowers said...

" Kdos to fernando leanme...the only scientist amongst you bunch of losers "

The one who can't figure out why his skin feels cold when he gets into his pool, and why the analogy doesn't work in the Arctic Ocean. Yeah, great scientist #fail

J Bowers said...

"I'm finished with my computations. The agreement, if followed by other nations, will yield a 0.2 degree C reduction in worldwide surface temperature by 2050. If it's not followed and only the EU, China and the USA take strong action the difference is about 0.1 degrees C or even less. "

You'll be dead by then. You've said you have grandkids, but I don't believe you.