Examples of China’s commitment to combating climate change

Click to enlargeReuters/Jason Lee

❝ Two years after President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that their countries would work together to combat climate change, Republicans and conservatives in the U.S. continue to cite China’s rising carbon emissions as a reason not to bother cutting our own.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump’s economic advisor Stephen Moore claimed that limiting our carbon pollution is pointless because of China’s supposedly growing coal dependency. “Every time we shut down a coal plant in the U.S., China builds 10,” Moore told E&E News. “So how does that reduce global warming?”

❝ Not only is Moore’s statement simply untrue, but the broader conservative theory behind it is badly outdated. China’s coal use and carbon emissions have dropped for the last two years. In 2015, China cut its coal use 3.7 percent and its emissions declined an estimated 1–2 percent, following similar decreases in 2014.

If China continues to cut its emissions, or even just keeps them at current levels, the country will be way ahead of its goal of peaking emissions by around 2030, which it laid out in 2014 and recommitted to during the Paris climate talks last December.

❝ In part, China’s emissions are dropping because the country is undergoing a dramatic shift in the nature of its economy. For years, China had been rapidly industrializing and growing at a breakneck pace. Growth often causes emissions to rise, all the more so when a country has an expanding manufacturing sector and is building out its basic infrastructure such as highways and rail lines. Heavy industrial activity — especially making cement and steel, which are needed for things like buildings, roads, and rail tracks — can be extremely energy intensive and have a massive carbon footprint…Now, as China is becoming more fully industrialized, its growth is slower and driven more by service industries, like technology, that are much less carbon intensive.

RTFA for several indicators. The author missed one of the most important because it’s still mostly under the radar of those who don’t read deeply into political economy.

Like the UK and many industrial Europeans nations – before the 1960s – China has relied on home coal fires for heating and cooking. China now is on the way to making the same change the West did. Switching to gas. Major pipeline conduits are under construction to bring natgas from Siberia, other regions outside of China. Different pipelines will link into LNG landing facilities at major harbors. As the last-mile, last city block hookups fall into place, the change will be rapid. And welcome.

China wants to deal with their immediate air pollution as much as the ongoing effect on climate. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

2 thoughts on “Examples of China’s commitment to combating climate change

  1. bù zhī dīng dǒng says:

    China’s $450 billion plan to improve the country’s farms over the next four years.could determine our fate http://grist.org/food/chinas-450-billion-farm-plan-could-determine-our-fate/ If China were to follow the same path as the United States and Europe, by using inefficient fossil fuels to lift its 1.3 billion people to a comfortable standard of living, it could be pumping 30 gigatons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by 2030 — that’s three times as much as the whole world emits now. As the country feeding the largest population in the world, China’s policies on fertilizer use, genetically modified seed research, and agricultural regulations will matter to us all.

  2. 实事求是 says:

    “Voicing a rare opinion on a foreign election, on Tuesday the Chinese government criticized U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to back out of a global climate change pact.
    Trump has said he will ignore the Paris Agreement, a global deal between almost 200 governments to fight climate change, which goes into effect this Friday.
    China’s main climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, told reporters Tuesday morning that intelligent leaders make policy decisions that reflect global trends, and that as a whole, the world is striking a balance between environmental protection and economic growth, according to Reuters.
    “If they resist this trend, I don’t think they’ll win the support of their people, and their country’s economic and social progress will also be affected,” Zhenhua, China’s representative at the United Nations Climate Change Conference and former vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said. “I believe a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends.” http://all-that-is-interesting.com/china-donald-trump

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