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Discussion > Climate Change Act 2008

The President Trump thread is in danger of being derailed by a digression on the Climate Change Act, resulting from Phil Clarke challenging criticisms of the costs and ineffectiveness of the CCA, and seeking to rebut those criticisms by referring to a paper by Bassi & Duffy in 2016, which can be found here:

http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Bassi-and-Duffy-policy-brief-May-2016.pdf

The paper broadly claims that UK energy policy isn't significantly increasing costs or damaging industrial competitiveness (I paraphrase), and Phil therefore cites it in support of the CCA and "green"/renewable energy policy generally (again, I paraphrase). I criticised it based on its authorship, and Phil rightly criticised me for that, as it was an ad hominem attack which didn't deal with the substance of the report itself.

Point taken, I promised to critique the report itself instead.

The first point to make (and this isn't a criticism) is that the report is actually extremely short (thus making the task of offering a critique that much easier). On the face of it, it runs to 20 pages, but the first 2 pages consist of a front-piece and a puff-piece for the Grantham Institute, followed by a contents page then a page about the authors and some acknowledgements, followed by 2 pages of executive summary (summarising the modest amount of detail that follows).There is then a page of introduction and summary of the ambition of UK climate change policy compared to its competitors, followed by 2 pages of tables, then some more discussion stuff. We are half-way down page 12 before we reach this: How UK carbon prices compare with its competitors. It is page 14 before we reach this: The competitiveness impact of climate change policies. By page 17 we are into a conclusion,and the rest of the paper is taken up with references, followed by a page of green adverts and self-promotion.

To be blunt, I would expect a serious paper seeking to justify a catastrophic piece of legislation and the vast costs not just to industry but to domestic consumers too, to run to rather more detail than is to be found here. This is an immensely complex subject, and IMO it cannot be dealt with comprehensively in such a short fashion. Darwall's paper is relatively short, but the meat of it is rather more substantive than this.

And so to the detailed critique. First, the paper starts to have something to say only when it gets to the section headed "The ambition of UK climate change policy compared to its competitors". To quote the paper:

This section compares the ambition of UK climate change policy to its competitors in
three respects:
– the stringency of emissions reduction targets (section 2.1)
– the strength of climate change policy and legislation (section 2.2)
– carbon prices (section 2.3).

It tries to suggest that the UK, in "leading the way", now finds itself among " a leading pack of countries with ambitious climate change targets. However, other countries have more ambitious targets than the UK, including Germany’s goal for reducing emissions by 2050 and China’s goal for reducing the carbon intensity of its GDP by 2020."

However, this is massively contentious (and highly selective) stuff. Germany's goals will not be met, and are not built into statute like ours. A serious study citing Germany's goals would, IMO, allude to the difficulties they have already experienced, their INCREASING GHG emissions, and their increasing reliance on coal following their strange decision to close down nuclear power. But the study ignores all that. As for China, I refer the interested reader to the thread on the Paris climate agreement and my summary of China's INDC. I will post another summary if anyone is interested, for ease of reference. However, the central point is that a short-term non-binding carbon intensity goal which will almost certainly not be met, is not the same as a binding legal obligation to reduce absolute emissions. We all know that China is continuing significantly to increase its emissions, and we all know also that extreme doubts have been expressed by more thoughtful greens as to the wisdom (or lack of it) of allowing self-certification of emissions, as provided for by the regime set up under the various agreements from Kyoto to Paris. For his paper to claim what it does in support is very weak stuff.

This claim is also weak in detail:

"It is encouraging therefore that over 75 per cent of annual global emissions are now covered by national targets for economy-wide emissions reductions. The 2015 Global Climate Legislation Study (Nachmany et al., 2015) showed that 43 countries, plus the European Union (EU) as a whole, have economy-wide targets to reduce their emissions in absolute or relative terms. Of these, 40 have economy-wide targets up 2020 and 21 have targets beyond 2020."

If one analyses the INDCs of the countries signed up to Paris, one readily sees that those responsible for most emissions have set themselves meaningless targets, and that world-wide emissions are increasing, and are bound to increase, as populations continue to increase dramatically and as developing countries continue, very understandably, to seek higher standards of living for their populations.

The two pages of tables which follow set out some superficially impressive-sounding targets, but nowhere notices the lack of legally binding status (unlike in the UK) or the conditionality of many of the targets, or the fact that the targets dealing with INTENSITY will still in many cases see absolute emissions increase substantially. This is an exercise in greenwash.

They do make a half-good and half-bad point here:

"It should be noted that such calculations of cost-effectiveness do not take into account the economic benefits of avoiding climate change impacts, nor co-benefits, such as reduced air pollution from fossil fuels."

I think it's half-good, because reduced air pollution has to be a good thing, which I heartily endorse. But this is difficult to quantify in financial terms. It's half-bad, because as Darwall points out in his piece, the UK's going it alone means that any emissions savings we make will be wiped out many times over by increased emissions elsewhere, and also such limited benefits as accrue will accrue all around the world - so we are paying for everyone to benefit, and this does not in any way provide the UK with an identifiable financial or competitive advantage following on from our sacrifice, nor does it offer us a competitive advantage against our competitors.

Next we are told:

"Encouragingly, framework legislation like the Climate Change Act is becoming an increasingly common aspect of climate policy worldwide. Framework legislation is defined in the 2015 Global Climate Legislation Study as a ‘law, or regulation with equivalent status, that serves as a comprehensive, unifying basis for climate change policy and addresses multiple aspects or areas of climate change mitigation or adaptation (or both) in a holistic, overarching manner’. Research has shown that that framework legislation is a key driver of national climate change policy (Fankhauser et al., 2014). Of the 99 countries covered in the 2015 Global Climate Legislation Study, 58, including many of the UKs trade competitors, have framework legislation (see Table 2)."

No attempt is made to identify (at all - never mind in detail) the nature of the legislation referred to, nor its effectiveness or binding (or not) nature. We are then presented with a selective table of 15 jurisdictions, most of which are shown to be Initiatives or Policies or Agendas rather than Laws or Acts. We are not told whether any of them embed binding reduction targets.

It's not their fault that the report is two years old, but given recent scare stories about the new right-wing Government in Brazil (or far-right, if it's being reported by the BBC) it's more than a little ironic to see their list of countries with departments or agencies to address climate change begin with this: "Brazil has an Inter-Ministerial Commission on Climate Change, composed of nine ministries...".

This statement I believe to be highly questionable, if not downright inaccurate:

"Many competitor countries have equivalent provisions suited to their institutional contexts, so while the UK’s arrangements can be described as robust and inspiring, they are not unique."

Well, I'm sorry, but they haven't provided a single example of another country with a statute as powerful and binding as the UK's CCA, nor any evidence of anywhere else with a green-stuffed committee like our CCC whose reports any other Government is legally obliged to take into account.

The next section is: "How UK carbon prices compare with its competitors". I think the key finding here is this very honest one:

"Because domestic policies are typically heterogeneous and can overlap, it is not always easy to compare the effective carbon prices in place across the world. A few studies have attempted such a comparison, with differing results due to differences in methodology. For example, methods may differ in relation to which policies they take into account and how prices are averaged across fuels (like electricity, gas, coal) and energy uses (residential, industrial, or sector-specific)."

It is difficult to see how that statement of uncertainty can be followed up with this:

"Despite the variations between estimates in the various studies, two robust conclusions can be made." Variations and uncertainty exist certainly, but apparently not enough to prevent robust conclusions being drawn. I would like to see a long and detailed section explaining why such confidence is justified, but it is not forthcoming. But even then the conclusions are phrased in such a way as to suggest that the UK is not being disadvantaged, yet patently that is not true:

"First, most of the UK’s competitor countries impose carbon prices on businesses and households. Second, UK carbon prices, at £48 to £59/tCO2 , are in the middle to upper range compared with prices in competitor countries. Some countries have lower carbon prices than the UK, but several countries have carbon prices that are at a similar level, or higher than, those in the UK."

Weasel words, it seems to me. So what if "several" countries have carbon prices at a similar level to or higher than ours? So what if most of our competitor countries impose carbon prices on business and households? This is the key (if unsubstantiated) finding: "UK carbon prices, at £48 to £59/tCO2 , are in the middle to upper range compared with prices in competitor countries." In other words, we ARE at a competitive disadvantage to our competitors. The other key finding is one that isn't even discussed. Carbon prices are important because of the costs they add to business and households, but in terms of competitiveness, we need to know the ABSOLUTE price of energy in different countries. If we already bear higher costs (pre carbon weighting) than our competitors, then we would be mad to add further to those costs. I don't know whether or not we do, but I would expect a serious study to explore this question.

In fairness, I am pleased to see this small section in the report, since it is VERY important:

"3.1 Theoretical impact of climate change policies on competitiveness
Economic theory generally suggests that if domestic climate change policies are introduced unilaterally they can increase production costs and prompt the relocation of emissions-intensive activities – and the emissions they cause – abroad. This is described as ‘carbon leakage’, and means that no benefit is created through avoided impacts of climate change. Carbon leakage can occur in sectors that are trade-exposed and either highly-polluting (e.g. steel), electricity-intensive (e.g. aluminum), or both. In the UK, analysis by the Committee on Climate Change (2013) suggests that iron and steel, refined petroleum products, aluminium, other inorganic chemicals, pulp and paper and rubber tyres are all vulnerable sectors. A few other sectors are also considered to be significantly exposed, although they play a smaller role
in the UK economy, including, malt, coke oven product, non-wovens, other textile weaving, copper, and silk and filament yarn. Taken together, these sectors represent a small (2 per cent of GDP (CCC, 2013)), but not insignificant, part of the UK economy".

However, I think even this acknowledgement is used to down-play the problem. What the authors here seem to be talking about is "carbon leakage" and loss of production (and therefore) jobs overseas. That is clearly very important, but what is also very important is the damage to competitiveness of other parts of the economy, even if businesses are not thereby closed and lost overseas - they may still be less profitable than they otherwise might be, they might be able to export less than otherwise would be the case, because they can't compete on price.

The next section purports to say that there is no problem here. But it's all couched in less than certain terms, and I'm far from confident that this conclusion is justified:

"Although theoretical studies suggest that carbon pricing can create significant costs for some sectors, UK climate policies appear to have had no detectable impact on competitiveness to date". Bassi et al 2013 is quoted as evidence.
I know I should look it up and read it, but I'm always nervous when an author cites themselves as evidence that their argument is correct. Anyway, the point being made here is is clearly the nub of the issue. Consider then the language in which it is couched:

"The impact of policy on UK businesses to date may be small" - that's a "may" not "is". "However, evidence from the OECD shows that countries can have a relatively high carbon price (compared to the UK) and remain competitive." Maybe, but given the plethora of issues that play into competitiveness, it isn't right simply to extrapolate from the experience of a small number of countries and assume that the same holds good in the UK.

Then there's this:

"In addition, other recent evidence published by the OECD (2016) shows that countries that
implement stringent environmental policies do not lose export competitiveness when compared
with countries with weaker regulations."

"In addition, other recent evidence published by the OECD (2016) shows that countries that implement stringent environmental policies do not lose export competitiveness when compared with countries with weaker regulations."

Very possibly true, but that's not the point in issue. The authors then seek to argue that because energy costs represent a small proportion of many business' costs, and because it is " energy wholesale prices and network costs that constitute the largest component of energy bills" then the "modest" extra costs imposed by climate change policies can pretty much be disregarded. I found the next point in support of that view to be particularly contentious:

"Some commentators, for example Dominic Lawson (2016), have suggested that UK climate policies were primarily responsible for the financial difficulties of the UK steel industry. Such claims do not stand up to scrutiny. Stuart Wilkie, Director of Tata Steel’s operation in South Wales, told the House of Commons Select Committee on Welsh Affairs in February 2016 that he expected to spend £100 million on energy in 2016, compared with an annual turnover of £1 billion (House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, 2016). Most of these energy costs are accounted for by the wholesale
price, transmission and distribution. Calculations by the Committee on Climate Change reveal that perhaps two per cent of the costs of the loss-making steel plant production at Port Talbot were due to climate policies (Stern and Gummer, 2016)."

I know I should look up Stern & Gummer 2016 and critique it separately, but where do you stop? I also know that I shouldn't be sceptical of their findings because they are members of the CCC, but I am (sorry, Phil, I can't help it). I also know that the Guardian reported rather differently at the time, and it isn't renowned for being opposed to climate change policies:

"Tata blames cheap imports of Chinese steel, high energy costs and weak demand for threatening the future of its UK steelmaking."

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/29/tata-set-to-announce-sale-of-uk-steel-business-port-talbot

I also know a director of a steel company who assures me that one of the greatest threats to his business is the cost of energy here in the UK. I have discussed it at length with him. There is no sign that Bassi & Duffy bothered to interview any captains of industry to obtain first-hand evidence, instead preferring to rely on other people's reports for their findings.

Having worked in commerce & industry myself for many years, I also know that just because a cost might be marginal in a particular context, it doesn't mean that it isn't hugely significant, especially if you're working to very tight margins. A modest increase in a modest cost can be the difference between profit and loss when margins are tight. That's something else that Bassi & Duffy haven't considered.

Instead they simply brusg problems under the carpet with this:

"It is likely that more action will be needed over the next decade to actively manage the structural changes associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy. Consideration should be given to a ‘trade adjustment’ policy for carbon pricing, similar to the trade adjustment policy that the US and other countries use to facilitate labour market adjustments". Personally I think that's a cop-out - "yes, OK, there are problems, but we can deal with those: more subsidies and the like can deal with that, in other words." Wouldn't it be better to avoid the problem in the first place?

"Evidence shows climate change policies induce innovation in low-carbon technologies and that low-carbon innovation can help to support economic growth. While the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) has had no measurable negative impact on business competitiveness (see section 3.2), it has increased innovation activity (based on the
number of patents filed) in low-carbon technologies among regulated firms. Figure 3 shows that this effect was most marked in 2007-2008 when the market price of emissions permits in the EU ETS was around €30 per tonne".

"Can" rather than "does", note. Would you like to provide detailed evidence of the value to the economy and the jobs thereby created? No? I wonder why not, given that it's surely an important plank of the argument?

And finally:

"It should be recognised that climate change policies can increase the competitiveness of the UK in the long term by encouraging greater innovation and efficiency. Well-designed climate change policies could offer business opportunities in fast-growing global markets, as countries, such as the US, China and the Member States of the EU, implement ever more stringent carbon reduction and energy efficiency policies. The UK is well-positioned to benefit from a global
transition to a more resource-efficient and renewable low-carbon economy, provided flexible structural policies allow it to utilise its comparative advantages."

Apart from the fact that there's that word "can" again (and a "could" for good measure), where's the hard evidence of where this has happened, please? It's such an important part of the argument that if this has actually happened to date, I would expect the authors to fall over themselves to provide examples. But they don't. Not one.

Sorry, Phil. From where I'm standing this is a propaganda piece, and you'll have to try harder.

Nov 25, 2018 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

well said Mark.

Nov 26, 2018 at 9:21 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Firstly, I made other points than those in the paper: briefly, that the impact of 'green' taxes on energy costs are trivial compared to the fluctuations in wholesale fossil fuel prices, and the CCA does not seem to have hampered our recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, which was comparable to other nations. You've ignored these.

There are some errors of fact in this rebuttal.

A serious study citing Germany's goals would, IMO, allude to the difficulties they have already experienced, their INCREASING GHG emissions

Nope

Germany has reduced emissions by 27.3% (1990-2016) compared to an EU average of 22% . They are unlikely to meet their target of a 40% drop by 2020, but … good effort!

We all know that China is continuing significantly to increase its emissions

Have you told these guys?

If one analyses the INDCs of the countries signed up to Paris, one readily sees that those responsible for most emissions have set themselves meaningless targets, and that world-wide emissions are increasing, and are bound to increase, as populations continue to increase dramatically and as developing countries continue, very understandably, to seek higher standards of living for their populations.

Something of a straw man. You yourself point out that the paper 'broadly claims that UK energy policy isn't significantly increasing costs or damaging industrial competitiveness'. You are seeking to move the goalposts. Sceptics' often observe that the UK contribution to global emissions is a small percentage, so expecting our legislation to singlehandedly reverse a global trend is somewhat absurd. The section of the paper examines the influence of the CCA on other nations, what would have happened in the absence of the Act in unknowable, but given that one of the aims is to establish leadership, examining other nations' similar legislation seems justifiable. To quote

Overall, the UK’s strong institutional framework, which supports its climate action, is regarded as a leading model. The Danish Climate Council, for example, was modelled on the UK Committee on Climate Change. Many competitor countries have equivalent provisions suited to their institutional contexts, so while the UK’s arrangements can be described as robust and inspiring, they are not unique

No attempt is made to identify (at all - never mind in detail) the nature of the legislation referred to, nor its effectiveness or binding (or not) nature. We are then presented with a selective table of 15 jurisdictions, most of which are shown to be Initiatives or Policies or Agendas rather than Laws or Acts. We are not told whether any of them embed binding reduction targets. […] Well, I'm sorry, but they haven't provided a single example of another country with a statute as powerful and binding as the UK's CCA, nor any evidence of anywhere else with a green-stuffed committee like our CCC whose reports any other Government is legally obliged to take into account.

Um, the second row in the table refers to the EU 2030 climate & energy framework. To refresh your memory the EU is a bloc of countries on our doorstep, responsible for a shade under 10% of global emissions and the 2030 framework contains binding emissions targets. Why omit to mention that? Seems relevant.

I know I should look up Stern & Gummer 2016 and critique it separately, but where do you stop?

It's just a newspaper article, it references an estimate that electricity made up 6% of the costs of making steel at Port Talbot, falling to 2% once various government compensations and exceptions are included. Tata's woes were overwhelming a consequence of a 60% drop in the price of their product.


"In addition, other recent evidence published by the OECD (2016) shows that countries that implement stringent environmental policies do not lose export competitiveness when compared with countries with weaker regulations."
Very possibly true, but that's not the point in issue"

It is exactly the point at issue!. It is exactly the point I was making. You would be more credible if you didn't seek constantly to move the goalposts. From the press release for that research:

“Environmental policies are simply not the major driver of international trade patterns,” said OECD Chief Economist Catherine L. Mann, presenting the study at the London School of Economics. “We find no evidence that a large gap between the environmental policies of two given countries significantly affects their overall trade in manufactured goods. Governments should stop working on the assumption that tighter regulations will hurt their export share and focus on the edge they can get from innovation.”

Which, leaving the goalposts in place, are (some of) the points I was making, and you concede the main point is 'quite possibly true'. Perhaps you could critique the OECD evidence, this time without the omissions, straw men and factual errors?

Nov 26, 2018 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

With half the authors of that <these guys> paper actually in China and the increasingly authoritarian diktats and actions emanating from CPC and the 2013 ascension of Xi Jinping it is possible that policy might have changed but the drizzle of "do as we say - not as we do" disclosures from an increasingly insular and repressively governed China makes that claim of emissions reductions look like tractor production stats produced with the threat of the social credit system hanging over them.

Perhaps if the Chinese government told us what they'd done with the head of Interpol I might be minded to take their word on emissions - but as it stands - not really....

Today it rather looks like if the UK didn't have some coal power still functional that there's likely be an electricity crisis.

Nov 26, 2018 at 11:42 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Tomo - With half the authors of that <these guys> paper actually in China …

I'd be interested in how you came to that conclusion. Three of the ten authors list affiliations to Chinese universities, only one exclusively so. Other affiliations listed are the UEA, UCL, Cambridge and the University of California. It seems to be an international team with two lead authors, Dabo Guan (Tsinghua and UEA) and Jing Meng (UEA and Cambridge).

So you believe the Chinese part of the group pulled the wool over the eyes of the rest of the team, including a Professor of climate change economics and the resulting study passed peer review at one of the most distinguished journals in the world?

If you are prepared to indulge in that level of conspiracy theorising, well you can justify just about any position - we already know you're happy to post a falsehood if it matches your prejudices.

In fact official Chinese figures overstated emissions for several years. See Lui et al for details and a discussion of the actual uncertainties in the estimates.

Nov 26, 2018 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

"Firstly, I made other points than those in the paper: briefly, that the impact of 'green' taxes on energy costs are trivial compared to the fluctuations in wholesale fossil fuel prices, and the CCA does not seem to have hampered our recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, which was comparable to other nations."
Nov 26, 2018 at 10:43 AM | Phil Clarke

You start with a paragraph that has no basis in fact or evidence, to justify the Climate Change Act that has helped destroy UK Manufacturing.

The same goods are being manufactured, but in China, burning more coal, and providing a workforce with rights, entitlements, legal protection and health and safety far inferior to anything within most of the EU.

The worst effects have been felt in the traditional mining and manufacturing areas of the UK, in other words, Labour heartlands.

The Climate Change Act was used as a model for EU Legislation, causing similar resentments in other EU Countries including France and Germany.

The US Green Blob were so impressed, they caused Rust Belt Unemployment, and a fall in the Democrat turn out for Clinton.

The Climate Change Act has been a disaster, leading to Trump, BREXIT, and further EU schisms. It only seems fair that Climate Science should now lose its funding. The Chinese have made billions of fortune cookies, out of the proceeds of the Climate Change Act, burn as much coal as they can, and the Climate still hasn't changed.

Nov 26, 2018 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

That paper is 3 years old and relies on even older data - a lot has changed in the intervening time. A recent satellite assessment of Chinese energy facilities under construction was if I understand correctly - at odds with official claims. Other, newer assets for estimating Chinese CO2 emissions are being allowed to wither on the vine. The paper was produced at a moment in time - one that has passed. Cheap abundant energy to continue the ramp up in manufacturing capacity is the pervasive driver of CPC policy.

As you well know peer review is these days too time consuming and has been reduced to mostly simple window dressing assisted by some like minded chums and not a rigorous appraisal of the data, methods and logic of any analysis. Actual considered, detail reviews and challenges to work seem subjectively to come later.....

Even freedoms that I enjoyed a couple of years ago in China are gone according to my sources - the place is locked down and getting worse - have you ever been to a country where government informants are everywhere and the consequences of voicing dissent however trivial are deeply uncomfortable? - I'd bet you haven't.

Shenzen is notable/commendable for the relative absence of the atmospheric fug of nearby Hong Kong (wind in helpful direction) - but the level of construction and transport intensity there means that pollution must simply have been shifted elsewhere.

Have you ever been to China outside of a package tour?

The Chinese government couldn't be accused of overstating its involvement in the abduction of Meng Hongwei.

Nov 26, 2018 at 3:05 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Phil, you really do need to update your links. Try something more accurate and up-to-date:

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/05/30/china-co2-carbon-climate-emissions-rise-in-2018/

"Dramatic surge in China carbon emissions signals climate danger"

With China’s CO2 pollution on the rise, is it time to panic?

China’s carbon emissions growth has accelerated since the beginning of the year, leading to warnings that the country could be headed for its largest annual increase in climate pollution since 2011.

Led by increased demand for coal, oil and gas, China’s CO2 emissions for the first three months of 2018 were 4% higher than they were for the same period in 2017, according to an Unearthed analysis of new government figures.

Analysts have suggested the country’s carbon emissions could rise this year by 5% — the largest annual increase in seven years, back when the airpocalypse was at its peak.

This latest uptick in carbon emissions was unexpected. Many thought the government’s 2016 stimulus – which kicked off a construction surge fueled by coal-burning industries – was a temporary state of affairs, following years of falling coal use and carbon emissions.

But big spending on energy intensive industries persisted through 2017, meaning China has been backsliding on the climate progress it made earlier this decade and the rest of the world must redouble efforts simply to ensure global CO2 emissions don’t climb dramatically.

Nov 26, 2018 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Germany's stuttering economy might have something to do with it's recently improved performance regarding CO2 emissions, but even here the situation is far from unadulterated good news for the climaterati:

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-germany-emissions/

Germany, the nation that did more than any other to unleash the modern renewable-energy industry, is likely to fall short of its goals for reducing harmful carbon-dioxide emissions even after spending over 500 billion euros ($580 billion) by 2025 to overhaul its energy system.

Germany Set to Miss 2020 Climate Goals

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is grappling with the implications of failing to sufficiently raise the renewable share. Those may include extending the life of the most polluting fossil-fuel plants and scaling back future climate pledges under the landmark Paris Agreement, negotiated by more than 190 countries in 2015.

A shortfall in Germany is an ominous signal for other nations struggling to reach their own targets. Emboldened by its prowess in engineering and a consensus across all political parties in favoring green energy, Germany was the first major economy to make a big shift in its energy mix toward low-carbon sources.

Germany’s emissions miss should act as a “wake-up” call to all countries, said Gail Whiteman, professor of environment sustainability at the U.K.’s Lancaster University. “It does not necessarily mean that China or India or even the U.S.A. can’t cut their emissions. The key point is that we need a new kind of climate leadership, both at the nation-state level and across all other actors including companies and mayors.”

Nov 26, 2018 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

And since you mention Denmark:

"Average Danish household has fifth highest carbon footprint in Europe"

http://sciencenordic.com/average-danish-household-has-fifth-highest-carbon-footprint-europe

A study published earlier this year reveals the average carbon footprint for households in EU countries, and the news is not good for those of us in Denmark.

The study ranks the average Danish household as having the fifth highest footprint. Placing it behind Luxembourg, the UK, Ireland, and Finland, but ahead of Germany, Italy, and France.

“Denmark’s regions have relatively higher carbon footprints compared to the EU average, which is 11.5 tons CO2. The Danish average is 14.5 tons CO2 so it’s about 20 per cent higher,” says lead-author Diana Ivanova, from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim.

Denmark was recently ranked top among countries around the world best prepared to face the challenges of climate change. And the results may come as a surprise to many in the country who are proud of their reputation for biking and developments in renewable energy.

Nov 26, 2018 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Phil: "Firstly, I made other points than those in the paper: briefly, that the impact of 'green' taxes on energy costs are trivial compared to the fluctuations in wholesale fossil fuel prices, and the CCA does not seem to have hampered our recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, which was comparable to other nations. You've ignored these."

I didn't ignore them, since you (fairly) criticised me for an ad hominem attack on the authors of an article you linked to, rather than analysing the article itself. I acknowledged the fairness of your criticism and offered to critique said article, which I have done. I came to the party late on the Trump thread, and was only discussing the article you linked to and it was that (and only that) I said I would critique.

I have done what I said. It is you who is setting up a straw man.

Nov 26, 2018 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Phil:

"If one analyses the INDCs of the countries signed up to Paris, one readily sees that those responsible for most emissions have set themselves meaningless targets, and that world-wide emissions are increasing, and are bound to increase, as populations continue to increase dramatically and as developing countries continue, very understandably, to seek higher standards of living for their populations.

Something of a straw man. You yourself point out that the paper 'broadly claims that UK energy policy isn't significantly increasing costs or damaging industrial competitiveness'. You are seeking to move the goalposts. "

No, I was dealing with each of the points made by the paper, step by step (which I note you failed to do with my criticism, missing out the ones you presumably feel unable to rebut, and in some cases offering misleading links,e.g. with your out-of-date Chinese emissions claim). Where I felt the paper made a good point, I conceded it. It would be nice if you felt able to admit where I made good points!

The INDCs reference isn't moving the goalposts at all, since the paper seeks inter alia to justify the CCS as being an example to the world which the world is following. In pointing out that most of the world is running in the opposite direction (as evidenced by the contents of their INDCs), I am shooting at an empty goal, not moving the goalposts.

Nov 26, 2018 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

And since you mention the EU's "binding" target, can you confirm in what sense it is binding? If the targets are not met (as they almost certainly won't be) what will be the consequences? Who will face sanctions? Anybody? On what basis. Try this for size:

"European Renewables Are Up. So Are Carbon Emissions
A bumper year for renewable energy didn’t stop Europe from increasing its emissions.

JASON DEIGN MAY 14, 2018"

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/european-renewables-are-up-so-are-carbon-emissions#gs.AfmGbv8

"European Union carbon emissions grew 1.8 percent in 2017 despite a 25 percent increase in wind power and 6 percent growth in solar, figures show. The European statistics body Eurostat this month reported that carbon dioxide emissions rose last year in a majority of EU member states."

"Germany, which is by far Europe’s largest polluter, accounting for 23 percent of emissions, also managed to improve its performance, but just barely. Germany posted a 0.2 percent improvement on 2016 levels of carbon dioxide."

So much for Germany!

"The EU’s second-largest emitter, the U.K., managed to cut its carbon dioxide output, by a respectable 3.2 percent. But Italy and France both posted a 3.2 percent rise, increasing their share of emissions to 10.7 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

The highest increases were for Malta, which went up 12.8 percent, Estonia, with 11.3 percent, and Bulgaria, with 8.3 percent. Despite the rises, these three nations only accounted for just over 2 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in the EU in 2017.

Arguably one of the biggest carbon culprits in 2017 was Spain, which saw emissions levels going up by 7.4 percent to take a 7.7 percent share of all the carbon dioxide in the EU. "

"In total, 20 EU member states saw emissions rise in 2017, while only seven managed to cut their carbon dioxide output. Eurostat said the Swedish data was still under revision, so it was not included.

The net rise in emissions, attributed to economic growth across much of the EU, illustrated how hard it will be for the bloc to achieve its target of cutting carbon to 40 percent below 1990 levels in 2030 and progressing to 60 percent by 2040. "

So much for the EU!

Nov 26, 2018 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

No, I was dealing with each of the points made by the paper, step by step (whic h Inote you failed to do with my criticism, missing out the ones you presumably feel unable to rebut, and in some cases offering misleading links,e.g. with your out-of-date Chinese emissions claim)

Try reading the paper, the structural changes described remain relevant over the long term.

First off, many industries have become more efficient with their energy use. Between 2013 and 2016, the efficiency of cement, brick, and glass production improved by 20 percent, for example. At the same time, China has rapidly shifted away from heavier industry and toward tech manufacturing and services. The result is that China’s economy is less reliant on fossil fuels—energy use per unit of GDP has gone down.

China has also closed many older, dirtier coal plants and cancelled plans for a number of new ones, shrinking coal’s contribution to the electric grid. Total energy use increased between 2013 and 2016, but added renewables and nuclear actually covered the growth.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/07/energy-shifts-could-mean-chinas-carbon-emissions-are-done-growing/

Any data on 2018 can only be provisional, and the increase in Chinese emissions last year came after three successive years in which emissions actually fell. Your rebuttal wrongly claimed German emissions were rising, it falsely claimed the report named no legislation containing legally binding targets, it falsely claimed the report did not identify the type of legislation described - it gave a specific definition. The main thesis of the report is the small effect of the CCA on competitiveness, yet when it mentions OECD evidence (studiously ignored btw) that environmental legislation does not impact competitiveness, the rebuttal dismisses this as 'Very possibly true, but that's not the point in issue'.

It's true, I did not address every point in the post (any more than you mine). To be frank after so many false claims I decided there were better uses of my time ....

Nov 26, 2018 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

So much for the EU!

I am not clear. Do you think the fact that the EU is missing its targets is a good thing or a bad thing? Do you agree that emissions need to come down, and if so, do you have a better idea of how to achieve it?

Nothing you have posted effectively rebuts the arguments in the report, to do that you would have to show that the CCA has damaged competitiveness, for which you've provided no evidence, just assertions. Instead you seem to derive some glee from the fact that where CCA-like targets have been set, it looks unlikely that they will be met.

Nov 26, 2018 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

and this obviously is in line with Phil's arguments and accounted for in the papers cited?

Nov 26, 2018 at 11:41 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Nov 26, 2018 at 11:41 PM | tomo

The name "Phil Clarke" is the same, but the writing style has switched to a completely different personality.

Nov 27, 2018 at 12:20 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

gc - Bob's been away for a few days

Nov 27, 2018 at 12:23 AM | Registered Commentertomo

and this obviously is in line with Phil's arguments and accounted for in the papers cited?

Nov 26, 2018 at 11:41 PM | tomo

Please do not confuse Phil Clarke's multiple personalities with evidence from The Guardian, that some of them may not be employed by.

Nov 27, 2018 at 12:31 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

FAO the Phil Clarke collective:

http://joannenova.com.au/2018/11/61683/

●Apparently the German audience was very interested to hear that Australia is making a contest of it with Germany, into who can plunge fastest and furthest into climate economic-suicide. There seems to be some notion that the Germans are doing it partly out of a sense of guilt from WWII, incredibly enough — surely it’s past time to dispel that sense? Also out of a sense of duty, they say. Our excuse? Just general virtue signaling and feeling wealthy on the part of our opinion-forming elites I suppose, coupled with a complete lack of due diligence.

She’s off to Norway for a talk today, then to London where she will be delivering a talk at GWPF entitled “How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Electricity Grid in Three Easy Steps”.●

Nov 27, 2018 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Tomo (Nov 26, 2018 at 3:05 PM):

… have you ever been to a country where government informants are everywhere and the consequences of voicing dissent however trivial are deeply uncomfortable? - I'd bet you haven't.
A scenario developing in this country, though – look at how 900 of the Met’s finest are dedicated to sniffing out hurtful comments on the internet, while London burns! The fear of being seen as “racist” has prevented the protection of too many innocents, already, and the new bête noir is to be called “islamophobic”, a neologism specifically created to silence any criticism. The next step, to criminalise criticism of migration, is already underway.

Nov 27, 2018 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR

it is developing but I've been in places where criticising the dear leader is a room emptier (OK a canteen in my direct experience) - in Singapore of all places - It was later explained to me that roughly 1 in 40 of the locals are paid to inform on their neighbours and co-workers - dissenters can be moved to distant parts of the island and have problems with their worker benefits (I think the Chinese Communists have borrowed the idea and extended it for their place) . One expat person of my acquaintance was hauled in by the secret police as a business associate had falsely informed on her to make trouble. Other places where somewhat more direct and violent state/religious suppression operate are quite common - as I say to my younger colleagues - pay attention - some don't and end up getting beaten up.

I've narrowly escaped a beating for smoking in the wrong place and not having any US dollars in my pocket.

It is a slippery slope.

Nov 27, 2018 at 2:05 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Phil

Taking your most recent response(s), I think your main points are summarised here:

"Any data on 2018 can only be provisional, and the increase in Chinese emissions last year came after three successive years in which emissions actually fell. Your rebuttal wrongly claimed German emissions were rising, it falsely claimed the report named no legislation containing legally binding targets, it falsely claimed the report did not identify the type of legislation described - it gave a specific definition. The main thesis of the report is the small effect of the CCA on competitiveness, yet when it mentions OECD evidence (studiously ignored btw) that environmental legislation does not impact competitiveness, the rebuttal dismisses this as 'Very possibly true, but that's not the point in issue'."

I'll split them up.

China - it entered the discussion because Bassi & Duffy make a number of claims for China:

That it "implements ever more stringent carbon reduction and energy efficiency policies in the wake of the Paris Agreement"; that its "goal for reducing the carbon intensity of its GDP by 2020" is more ambitious than UK climate policy; that its "National Plan for Tackling Climate Change 2014-2020 " is somehow on a par with the CCA; that "China strengthened its top-level planning on climate change, appointing the Premier as the leader of the National Leading Group for Addressing Climate Change, and placing provincial governors at the head of sub-national groups"; that China has a carbon pricing policy in place; and that China is " implement[ing] ever more stringent carbon reduction and energy efficiency policies".

I pointed out that "[i]f one analyses the INDCs of the countries signed up to Paris, one readily sees that those responsible for most emissions have set themselves meaningless targets, and that world-wide emissions are increasing, and are bound to increase, as populations continue to increase dramatically and as developing countries continue, very understandably, to seek higher standards of living for their populations." I had in mind China in particular (but far from exclusively) when I wrote that. I will post next my summary of China's INDC, to make the point that however hoodwinked some people might be by the PR of this totalitarian state, the reality is that they have no intention of reducing their CO2 emissions, nor indeed of assisting the rest of the world in reducing CO2 emissions.

Even China itself admits (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) that there is a problem, See here for instance:

"False emissions reporting undermines China's pollution fight"

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-power-emissions/false-emissions-reporting-undermines-chinas-pollution-fight-idUSKCN0UV0XS

And then there are recent stories like this:

"China-backed coal projects prompt climate change fears"

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46310807

"As levels of greenhouse gases reach a new record, concerns are growing about the role of China in global warming.

For years, the increase in the number of Chinese coal-fired power stations has been criticised.

Now environmental groups say China is also backing dozens of coal projects far beyond its borders."

And yet Bassi & Duffy see China as a leader among the pack of countries of which the UK is part with ambitious CO2 reduction plans; and yet you too can claim (implicitly) that China is on the right track and that recent rapid rises in its (reported) CO2 emissions and its behaviour around the world can be discounted because recent efficiency gains will soon restore the downward trajectory of their emissions. Well you and Bassi & Duffy can believe that if you want, but some of us live in the real world.

And by the way, according to this, your (implicit) claim (via the article you linked to, which claimed "China’s emissions peaked in 2013 at a level of 9.53 gigatons of CO2, and have declined in each year from 2014 to 2016.") that China reduced emissions for 3 years in a row is false:

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/05/30/china-co2-carbon-climate-emissions-rise-in-2018/

It shows a rise of 0.7& in 2014; a fall of 0.7% in 2015; a fall of 0.2% in 2016); a rise of 1.6% in 2017; and a projected rise of 4% in 2018. So, someone's statistics are wrong, and if nothing else it demonstrates the foolishness of relying on China's claims.

You say that my rebuttal wrongly claimed that German emissions were rising. Yes, you're right, and I was wrong. But as the other links I offered up pointed out (correctly, not falsely), Germany's position isn't one to be proud of. And until recently Germany's emissions were indeed rising (which is what I had remembered - like yo with your China link, I had not updated my knowledge.

"Germany announces carbon emission rise for second year in a row
Published on 24/01/2018"

http://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/01/24/germany-announces-carbon-emission-rise-second-year-row/

"Germany’s total emissions rose in 2016 for the second year in a row with the head of the environment agency calling for rapid reduction in coal power"

"Official figures for 2016 were released as chancellor Angela Merkel faces tough scrutiny of her climate credentials at home and abroad. While she tries to negotiate a coalition deal at home after a lukewarm election victory, the German leader has been criticised internationally for the country missing key climate targets.

At 909.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, emissions were 2.6m tonnes higher than 2015, the agency reported. Emissions from the transport sector amounted to 166.8m tonnes, higher than in the base year 1990, and mostly due to a higher share of road freight transport and rising registrations of private heavy vehicles."

So, I admit I was wrong regarding recent detail. Will you admit the same regarding your false statements about China?

You say I "falsely claimed the report named no legislation containing legally binding targets, it falsely claimed the report did not identify the type of legislation described - it gave a specific definition."

My claim (which is not as you misquoted it) is accurate, and your criticism of it is inaccurate. What I claimed was this:

"No attempt is made to identify (at all - never mind in detail) the nature of the legislation referred to, nor its effectiveness or binding (or not) nature. We are then presented with a selective table of 15 jurisdictions, most of which are shown to be Initiatives or Policies or Agendas rather than Laws or Acts. We are not told whether any of them embed binding reduction targets."

The paper provided a list of 15 countries with a "Flagship climate change law"and I pointed out correctly that even of those carefully selected 15 most are not in fact laws, but Agendas, plans, policies and white papers. The paper does not establish the nature of any binding commitments other than in the UK. The EU commitment to which you link (and which is referred to in the paper) describes itself as binding, but does not go on to explain how, or what the circumstances for failure would be. I have already asked you to tell me, but you have evaded the point.

I concluded my observations on that section with this:

"Well, I'm sorry, but they haven't provided a single example of another country with a statute as powerful and binding as the UK's CCA, nor any evidence of anywhere else with a green-stuffed committee like our CCC whose reports any other Government is legally obliged to take into account."

I stand by that comment. There is nothing in Bassi & Duffy nor in what you have written in response to demonstrate that my assertion is incorrect.

Your final point was "The main thesis of the report is the small effect of the CCA on competitiveness, yet when it mentions OECD evidence (studiously ignored btw) that environmental legislation does not impact competitiveness".

Well, OK, here goes. Neither Bassi & Duffy nor the OECD report which they quote and of which you approve show the slightest evidence that I have seen (please correct me if I am wrong - if I am wrong I will admit it) of having interviewed a single businessman. So how do they know, in their ivory towers, what they claim, if they haven't talked to people at the sharp end? Then there's this:

"High cost of energy: anti-competitive and could drive investment overseas say manufacturers"

https://www.eef.org.uk/about-eef/media-news-and-insights/media-releases/2014/oct/high-cost-of-energy

This is a report from The Manufacturers' Association, so presumably they do have a little more idea than academics of what they're talking about.

"A projected 50% hike in electricity prices by 2020[1] would damage British manufacturing - hitting investment, margins and competitiveness says EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.
The stark warning follows new research showing that escalating energy costs would see a quarter of manufacturers (25%) considering investment in facilities outside the UK[2]:

73% of manufacturers say the projected rise in electricity costs would have a noticeable impact on profit margins – over half (53%) say it would hit their competitiveness[2]
Energy already accounts for 6% or more of turnover for 27% of firms[3] – affordability is a key concern for 83% of companies[4]
Balancing act: while a third (32%) say the UK’s lead in setting ambitious climate targets drives innovation, 41% say it risks undermining competitiveness[5]
EEF is calling on the next Government to ensure that energy policy supports ambitions for a better-balanced economy.
Britain’s ambitions for a better-balanced economy could be seriously undermined by escalating energy costs, warns a new report out today from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation. It projects a 50% hike in electricity costs by 2020[1] and says that this would hit investment, margins and competitiveness, potentially applying a brake to economic growth. In fact, such is the impact that just 4% of manufacturers would be left unscathed[2].

Almost three quarters of manufacturers (73%) say electricity hikes of this magnitude would have a noticeable impact on their profit margins, while over half (53%) say it would hit their competitiveness[2]. Over a third (34%) would be forced to cut spend in other areas of their business[2]. More worryingly, it could lead a quarter of manufacturers (25%) to consider investing in facilities overseas[2].

The findings suggest that the increases would be adding to the pressure that manufacturers are already under – over a quarter (27%) are already spending more than 6% of turnover on energy[3]. For 83% of companies affordability is already a key concern[4]. This rises to 87% amongst mid-sized firms.

There are also concerns over the adequacy of Government energy efficiency schemes – less than one in five firms (19%) say the key UK schemes provide the right incentive to improve energy efficiency[6]. Almost four in ten (38%) believe the schemes are overly complex[6].

As a result, businesses are split over the UK taking a leading role in developing ambitious climate targets. While a third (32%) say it drives innovation, 41% say it risks undermining competitiveness[5]. And, although almost a quarter (23%) say it creates new markets, this is out-weighed by the 46% who want to see the UK remain in line with global competitors[5]. This suggests that, going forward, a more balanced approach is required from policy makers.

Gareth Stace, Head of Climate & Environment Policy at EEF , says: “This is a wake-up call that the tension between the pursuit of low carbon policies and Britain’s ambitions for a better-balanced economy must be resolved. Failure to do so could hit investment, margins and competitiveness, putting the brakes on growth and leaving our economy stuck in the slow lane.

“It’s time for a fresh approach. Low carbon is rapidly becoming synonymous with anti-competitive, which is why we are urging all parties vying for government to commit to review and reform current policies and mechanisms. Above all, we are seeking a firm commitment to implement the Energy Intensive Industries package announced in the 2014 Budget as soon as possible. High energy costs are crippling for manufacturers of all sizes, but rapid implementation of this scheme would at least reduce the burden on those who are most exposed.”

As part of its Agenda for Government to 2020, EEF is calling for:

Commitment from all parties for the implementation of the Energy Intensive Industries (EII) compensation package as announced at the 2014 Budget. This should include introduction of the compensation for the costs of renewables as soon as possible and a long-term view of continued protection measures beyond 2019/20
A fresh approach to industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation. This must include; review and reform of the current mechanisms to ensure they are capable of delivering on-going improvements across the sectors they effect, a greater focus on low carbon innovation for the manufacturing sector (such as CCS) and the establishment of an EII decarbonisation strategy drawing on the 2050 low carbon roadmaps
Review and reform of the costs of decarbonising the power grid to energy consumers. The current hybrid approach of a carbon price and CfDs to fund low carbon electricity generation is needlessly expensive and inefficient; a first major step to resolution would be to scrap the carbon floor price as soon as fiscally possible. Longer-term thinking must focus on ensuring that emissions-related taxes and policies demonstrably and effectively deliver emissions reductions and are not aimed primarily at raising revenue."

And if you stop and think about it for more than a nanosecond, it should be obvious that adding significantly to the costs of business will render business less competitive. The Government's own impact assessment report for the CCA, to which you linked on the Trump thread, says that annual costs of the CCA (excluding one-off costs) were expected to be £14.7- £18.3Bn and they even added this caveat:

"Figures above do not include the full range of costs, in particular the short-term transition costs. Therefore, overall costs could be higher than those estimated by the long-term modelling. Overall the costs will depend on the specific policies put in place to implement the carbon budgets. Costs of non-CO2 GHG abatement are not included."

The (inevitably, since they have to try to justify the legislation) claimed "monetised benefits include avoided damages
from reduced GHG emissions (£404 to 964 billion) and improved air quality benefits (£32 billion)." None of which will (even if true) be felt as benefits by the businesses suffering the costs). Furthermore, "The precise costs will depend on: fossil fuel prices; the cost and availability of low-carbon technologies; degree of multi-lateral action; choice of policies; and, when abatement occurs. There are significant uncertainties over the avoided damage costs associated with reduced greenhouse gas emissions".

In other words they stuck a finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing, and came up with some numbers that they thought sounded impressive, but which might or might not be close to the truth.

Finally, hot off the BBC (as part of its daily pre-COP 24 ramping up of climate alarmism) there's this:

"Climate change: CO2 emissions rising for first time in four years"

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46347453

"Global efforts to tackle climate change are way off track says the UN, as it details the first rise in CO2 emissions in four years.

The emissions gap report says that economic growth is responsible for a rise in 2017 while national efforts to cut carbon have faltered.

To meet the goals of the Paris climate pact, the study says it's crucial that global emissions peak by 2020.

But the analysis says that this is now not likely even by 2030."

"The study says that countries including Argentina, Australia, Canada, the EU (including the UK), South Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the US, are falling short of achieving their nationally determined contributions for 2030."

Does that list of countries sound familiar? It should if you've read Bassi and Duffy. Among the pack of 15 countries supposedly introducing climate legislation were....Australia, the EU (including the UK, obviously), South Africa, South Korea, and the following EU member states, namely Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands and Italy.

Nov 27, 2018 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

For the sake of completeness, some thoughts on the INDC of that paragon of climate virtue, China (INDC submitted in 2015):

An early flavour of where they are coming from doesn't provide much confidence:

"As a developing country with a population of more than 1.3 billion, China is among those countries that are most severely affected by the adverse impacts of climate change. China is currently in the process of rapid industrialization and urbanization, confronting with multiple challenges including economic development, poverty eradication, improvement of living standards, environmental protection and combating climate change."

That's the background; then there are the fluffy words:

"To act on climate change in terms of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing climate resilience, is not only driven by China’s domestic needs for sustainable development in ensuring its economic security, energy security, ecological security, food security as well as the safety of people’s life and property and to achieve sustainable development, but also driven by its sense of responsibility to fully engage in global governance, to forge a community of shared destiny for humankind and to promote common development for all human beings."

Then they tell us what steps they have been taking to date:

"By 2014 the following has been achieved:
• Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP is 33.8% lower than the 2005 level;
• The share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption is 11.2%;
• The forested area and forest stock volume are increased respectively by 21.6 million hectares and 2.188 billion cubic meters compared to the 2005 levels;
• The installed capacity of hydro power is 300 gigawatts (2.57 times of that for 2005);
• The installed capacity of on-grid wind power is 95.81 gigawatts (90 times of that for 2005);
• The installed capacity of solar power is 28.05 gigawatts (400 times of that for 2005); and
• The installed capacity of nuclear power is 19.88 gigawatts (2.9 times of that for 2005)."

The wind and solar power figures sound impressive, but they don't tell us what a low base they started from in 2005, though we can work it out - wind power of around 1 gigawatt, and solar power a tiny fraction of that). They also don't tell us what their 2014 requirements for energy are or how much is provided by fossil fuels, or how much fossil fuel use increased between 2005 and 2014, so that we can put these 2014 figures into context.

It is against that background of partial information, that they tell us what their offer is:

"Based on its national circumstances, development stage, sustainable development strategy and international responsibility, China has nationally determined its actions by 2030 as follows:
• To achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and making best efforts to peak early;
• To lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60% to 65% from the 2005 level;
• To increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20%; and
• To increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters on the 2005 level.

In other words, and most crucially, the biggest GHG emitter on the planet (not that their INDC alludes to that fact) will continue increasing GHG emissions until 2030, by which date fossil fuels will still account for 80% of primary energy consumption (by the way, what is non-primary energy consumption, and is it fossil-fuel based?).

And if for one moment you were under the illusion that they intend to reduce use of fossil fuels, this section will disabuse you:

"Building Low-Carbon Energy System
• To control total coal consumption;
• To enhance the clean use of coal;
• To increase the share of concentrated and highly-efficient electricity generation from coal;
• To lower coal consumption of electricity generation of newly built coal-fired power plants to around 300 grams coal equivalent per kilowatt-hour;
• To expand the use of natural gas: by 2020, achieving more than 10% share of natural gas consumption in the primary energy consumption and making efforts to reach 30 billion cubic meters of coal-bed methane production;
• To proactively promote the development of hydro power, on the premise of ecological and environmental protection and inhabitant resettlement;
• To develop nuclear power in a safe and efficient manner;
• To scale up the development of wind power;
• To accelerate the development of solar power;
• To proactively develop geothermal energy, bio-energy and maritime energy;
• To achieve the installed capacity of wind power reaching 200 gigawatts, the installed capacity of solar power reaching around 100 gigawatts and the utilization of thermal energy reaching 50 million tons coal equivalent by 2020;
• To enhance the recovery and utilization of vent gas and oilfield-associated gas; and
• To scale up distributed energy and strengthen the construction of smart grid."

I think the key issues (apart from the open admission that GHG emissions will increase until 2030) are the lack of transparency regarding the scale of their emissions currently, the amount by which they will increase, and the amount of current energy generation from fossil fuels, combined with the amount (in real terms as a hard figure) by which they will increase by 2030 (even if the proportion of a greater amount of energy generated by fossil fuels might decrease slightly).

I'm struggling to find the 2017 figure, but the US EPA website says this:

"In 2014, the top carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters were China, the United States, the European Union, India, the Russian Federation, and Japan. These data include CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, as well as cement manufacturing and gas flaring. Together, these sources represent a large proportion of total global CO2 emissions" The proportions they offer are:
China - 30%
USA - 15%
EU - 9%
India - 7%
Russian Federation - 5%

Here we see the same for China (who disingenuously don't tell us by how much they will increase).

On a related subject, there is a strong argument that the developed world, while claiming to reduce its own GHG emissions, is simply outsourcing them to China. There is an interesting piece at the Carbon Brief website, which contains this:

"China is the world’s manufacturing hub. One reason for the increase in emissions is that China is making more and more of the stuff the rest of the world wants to buy.

Emissions in places like the EU are falling [not any more, they're not!] – partly because it is manufacturing less, and importing more. So who should be responsible for the emissions associated with an ipod made in China and used in the UK?

The simplest way of measuring a country’s emissions is to look at how much pollution is released within its borders, called territorial emissions.

It’s also possible to look at only the emissions associated with products that actually stay in China. These are termed consumption emissions, and this accounting lowers the country’s carbon footprint a bit.

China emitted about 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide making products it exported elsewhere in 2012, about 16 per cent of its total. Arguably, those might be emissions the rest of the world is responsible for."

https://www.carbonbrief.org/how-much-of-chinas-carbon-dioxide-emissions-is-the-rest-of-the-world-responsible-for

Food for thought - none of these issues are dealt with by the Paris Accords, of course.

Nov 27, 2018 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Nov 27, 2018 at 1:41 PM | Radical Rodent
Nov 27, 2018 at 2:05 PM | tomo

The Green Blob is a polymorph, or shapeshifter, that will attack anything that threatens it. The Climate Change Act is "British", but will forever remain as this Country's biggest peacetime disaster. That it has been used as a model for destroying lives elsewhere in Europe and other parts of the World, is embarrassing.

Trump has made his feelings clear about Climate Science, and Laws made as a consequence. May gave a good intention of her feelings by scrapping the DECC.

The EU is trying to make sure that the UK is still bound by the EU's more toxic Green Economic Suicide Pact, hence Phil Clarke sent for reinforcements following Mark Hodgson's creation of this thread.

The CCA remains REMAINERS biggest threat to post BREXIT Britain. All the CCA has achieved is to export energy demand to countries burning coal in increasing quantities.

Trump is correct to warn the UK.

France COULD see further demonstrations against Macron's version of CCA. Germany has already heaved over Merkel's. COP 24 Katowice is only 2 weeks away, in Poland. Poland is in a pincer movement, caught between using its own natural coal, German supply restrictions, and Russia's oversupply problem.

History keeps repeating itself. This is why the Green Blob are in panic mode, they still haven't found any science or economics to support Mann, Stern or the CCA.

Nov 27, 2018 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie