This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Agreeing To Disagree

"If all of them were to be built, they would emit 6.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in 2030."
"If you add all of the power plants that are existing today and will still be operating in 2030, you come to 12 gigatonnes from coal fired power in 2030 and that's actually 400% higher than is necessary for 2 degrees."
Climate Tracker Action analysis : Dr. Niklas Hohne, research team member
coal fired power station
Getty images If all the new coal plants are built, the chances of controlling warming will reduce significantly say researchers

"My energy consumption is one twelfth that of US and one tenth that of Europe, so don't you think that my people also have a right to grow and use energy?"
"Should they remain in the dark? Is that humanity? That is why I will need power from all sources. We are increasing our renewable targets tenfold in the next 15 years but we will require coal because it is the need of the hour for my people to grow."
Prakash Javadekar, Indian environment minister

"Decarbonisation is emerging as a toxic word; many countries appear as quite opposed to decarbonisation."
"Many of those countries, though not all, whose coal plans would breach their INDCs [Intended Nationally Determined Contributions], are among those opposed to the word decarbonisation."
"You can begin to draw a line between the coal stations being planned and the negotiating dynamics here of the long term goals."
Bill Hare, Climate Analytics

"For seven of the nine countries, the planned coal plants threaten their INDCs."
"This would lead to higher emissions from coal plants and it would undermine the country's efforts and it could also lead in a worst case to a displacement of renewable energy."
Markus Hagemann, NewClimate Institute
Pie chart that shows different sectors. 25 percent is from electricity and heat production; 14 percent is from transport; 6 percent is from residential and commercial buildings; 21 percent is from industry; 24 percent is from agriculture, forestry and other land use; and 10 percent is from other energy use.
Source: IPCC

At the Paris UN climate-change summit in Le Bourget, a report was released pointing out the deleterious effect of coal-burning for energy, on the atmosphere. An interesting side-note on the issue is that while President Barack Obama turned thumbs down on Canada's Alberta oilsands by refusing to permit the building of a pipeline to send Alberta oil, along with U.S.-derived oil to Texas refineries, the United States burns inefficient and dirty coal creating far more carbon emissions than oilsands extraction ever would.

This coal study examined the coal-burning activities of eight countries including India, China, Indonesia and the European Union. All of them have submitted national carbon cutting plans, termed INDCs, promising to reduce or cap their emissions. These are, of course, promises, promises that an effort will be made at some time in the future, but not immediately, not even tomorrow or the next day, that efforts will be taken to transition from coal to other energy-deriving measures. It is intention, not a guarantee.

Canada is responsible for 1.6 percent of world emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases, and Canada is prepared to make financial sacrifices in an effort to replace the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind and whatever environmental science can come up with down the road to alleviate the present situation of loading the atmosphere with particulate matter creating heavy smog conditions poisonous to all living things: China in particular comes to mind.

China coal pollutionChina Photos/Getty Images   China accounts for about 30 percent of global CO2 emissions

The agreements meant to result from the Paris conference on the environment will not be legally binding; requiring states to set their own targets, which explains the "Intended Nationally Determined Contributions" entitlement. There will be no monitoring of performance, nor penalties for non-compliance and no common benchmarks by which to measure progress. Nor will there be a consensus on what constitutes progress, necessarily.
Pie chart that shows different types of gases. 65 percent is from carbon dioxide fossil fuel use and industrial processes. 11 percent is from carbon dioxide deforestation, decay of biomass, etc. 16 percent is from methane. 6 percent is from nitrous oxide and 2 percent is from fluorinated gases.
At these conferences, of which this is the 21st, developing countries [once called Third-World] are struggling to 'catch up' to the advances long realized by 'developed' economies of First-World nations. They are in the aggregate, and they belligerently insist on 'fairness' and 'compromise', although the weight of that is placed firmly on economically stable and technologically advanced nations. They had their opportunity to advance their economies, and now it's the turn of the laggards, who must have their turn.

Rich countries must make sacrifices to enable the poorer countries to reach the point in their economic advancement that has long since been attained by the former. China and India, therefore have no intention of committing to any reductions. And nor is the U.S. Congress prepared to ratify any agreement without the inclusion of China and India, the world's two most populous countries, promising that they too will make an effort.

Since the largest emitters of C02 is the United States, with China moving alongside at speed, any agreement reached by the other large emitters falls into the category of redundantly useless.


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