United Nations

China and America Climate Change Blame Game

Discord on who's responsible for fixing the weather at U.N. climate confab.


Obama Climate UN

On Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon convened a Climate Summit in New York, where more than 100 presidents, premiers, and other assorted potentates duly issued their 10-minute statements about the need to do something to avert a climate catastrophe. The international community is supposed to complete a global climate agreement at a U.N. conference in Paris next year, and this summit was intended to move the world closer to that commitment to cut greenhouse gases and provide tens of billions in aid.

The statements at the summit made it clear that there is still a wide gulf between the developed countries and the poorer nations when it comes to who bears responsibility to act and who should pay for that action. For example, when U.S. President Barack Obama noted that America is on track to reduce the country's greenhouse emissions by 17 percent below their 2005 levels by 2020, he added: "We can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation—developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass." He further observed that emerging economies—China, India, Brazil—are both growing rapidly and emitting ever higher levels of greenhouse gases.

In fact, a report earlier this month by the Global Carbon Project found that the United States, China, the European Union, and India accounted for 58 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2013. In total, humanity emitted about 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Roughly speaking China emitted 10 billion tons; the U.S. emitted 5 billion tons; the E.U. emitted 3.6 billion tons; and India emitted 2.5 billion tons. China now emits more carbon dioxide per capita (7.2 tons) than does the European Union (6.8 tons). The U.S. emits 16.4 tons per capita; for India, the figure is just 1.9 tons per capita.

Adding that we "have to set aside the old divides," Obama noted that he had just spoken with Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, to whom he reiterated his "belief that as the two largest economies and emitters in the world, we have a special responsibility to lead. That's what big nations have to do." In its statement at the Summit, the European Union more or less backed President Obama's view, arguing that the pending global agreement to be reached in Paris "must involve all Parties in a comprehensive framework to reduce emissions—reflecting science but also today's political and economic realities." Among those realities is that back in 1992, when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) set out everyone's obligations with respect to cutting carbon dioxide, China accounted for only 3 percent of the world's emissions.

China Zhang

In his statement, the Chinese vice-premier swiftly made it clear that his country has no intention of setting aside the old divides—specifically, the divide in the UNFCCC that requires developed countries like the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, and the members of the European Union to cut their emissions while imposing no such obligations on the developing world. Zhang insisted, "We need to stick to the UNFCCC framework and follow its principles." Translation: China's minimal obligations must be maintained. Zhang added, "Developed countries need to intensify emission reduction and fulfill their commitment of annual financial support of 100 billion U.S. dollars and technology transfer to developing countries by 2020." Translation: Don't like the weather? Don't blame us; extort guilty Western countries.

In a March 2014 submission to the United Nations, the Chinese government strongly expressed its view that developed countries should commit to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below their levels in 1990 by 2020. Such a cut would lower U.S. emissions by about 2 billion tons. Developing countries, meanwhile, can aim for other targets such as increasing their carbon intensity. Carbon intensity is basically the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per dollar of GDP produced. Zhang reiterated China's pledge to cut its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from its 2005 level, noting that it had already achieved a 28 percent reduction.

Assuming that China's economy grows at 7 percent per year, futurist Brian Wang over at the Next Big Future calculates that meeting that carbon intensity goal would actually allow China's carbon dioxide emissions to increase from about 10 billion tons today to as much as 14.7 billion tons by 2020. China's emissions increases would nearly equal current U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and they would be almost two and a half times greater than the two billion tons it argues that the U.S. is obligated to cut between now and 2020.

So the world's two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases plainly don't agree on who should cut, how much they should cut, when they should cut, and who should pay for the cuts. In his summary remarks on the Summit, General-Secretary Moon claimed that the leaders who met there "committed to finalize a meaningful, universal new agreement" next year. As it stands now, that amounts to little more than a pious hope.

NEXT: Drone-Flown Package Deliveries Arrive! …in Germany. C'mon, America!

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  1. … and a good thing too, as it appears increasingly that CO2 is a minor driver of the Earth’s climate.

    It appears based on various observations of the climate’s actual behavior that once all the feedbacks work their magic, the doubling of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will result in a average temperature increase of between 1.5 and 2 degrees worldwide.

    The models predicting doom and gloom assume a sensitivity much larger than that.

    So to get temperatures up from what they are now to about 4 degrees F warmer, the world would have to double atmospheric CO2 from 400 ppm now to 800ppm.

    The world fails to warm catastrophically, totalitarians and rent seekers harmed most.

    1. Meanwhile, they get first class travel, luxury hotels, excellent food and wine, celebrity hookers, etc. while they spout clich?s and issue meaningless proclamations.

    2. I’m not so sure anyone will draw the same conclusions you do from the Curry paper…well, maybe WUWT.

      In the first place, let me quote Curry:

      “Is this paper the last word on climate sensitivity estimates? No. The uncertainty analysis in the Lewis and Curry paper relates only to the uncertainty in external forcing, surface temperature and ocean heat uptake. There remains considerable meta uncertainty in the determination of climate sensitivity, including how the problem is even framed.”

      In other words, all the uncertainty about models you rail against from the IPCC exist here as well.

      Secondly, in terms of Transient Climate Response (TCR), Curry and Lewis estimate the number to be 1.05 to 1.8 degrees, with a midpoint of 1.33 DC. The IPCC gave the same midpoint value at 1.8 DC. It really was not an earth shattering difference.

      It doesn’t mean the warming stops, it might only mean that compared to IPCC estimates, there would be a 10 or 20 year difference in temperature rise. For those who think CO2 is not a factor, or the earth is not warming, this is not the paper that supports you.

      1. Jackass. You have it all wrong. The earth will be plunged into a new ice age by the year 2000.

      2. There remains considerable meta uncertainty in the determination of climate sensitivity, including how the problem is even framed

        …But by all means, let’s not let that uncertainty stop us from using climate change as an excuse to extort billions of dollars from “developed nations” while simultaneously imposing economically crippling carbon reduction targets on them, while giving the largest emitters of the “developing nations” a free pass.

        My problem with the climate change crowd isn’t so much whether or not they’re right. There’s enough uncertainty at this point that I’m willing to concede they might be (or they might be dead wrong). It’s that all of their so called “solutions” seem to involve what I described above. Furthermore, if the doomsayers do turn out to be right, I think we’d all be better off using those resources to adapt to a warmer climate instead of paying off an international extortion racket.

      3. “Secondly, in terms of Transient Climate Response (TCR), Curry and Lewis estimate the number to be 1.05 to 1.8 degrees, with a midpoint of 1.33 DC. The IPCC gave the same midpoint value at 1.8 DC. It really was not an earth shattering difference.”

        No, 1.33 is lower than 1.8. Numbers are hard, aren’t they?

        “It doesn’t mean the warming stops, it might only mean that compared to IPCC estimates, there would be a 10 or 20 year difference in temperature rise. For those who think CO2 is not a factor, or the earth is not warming, this is not the paper that supports you.”

        No, it doesn’t mean a 10-20 year difference. If the sensitivity is 1.5C/doubling instead of the 2.5C/doubling IPCC would have you believe, then we have to more than double to hit the supposedly catastrophic 2C limit. We’re at 400ppm now. In fact, for 1.5C we would have to triple CO2 concentrations and for 2.5C we would have to increase by 74%, or 840ppm vs. 487ppm. Even if I give you later century CO2 emissions of 6ppm/yr right now, that’s the difference of 73 vs. 14 years.

        For those who think this isn’t a huge problem for their climatastrophe, this is not the paper that supports you.

        1. Your reading comprehension skills…or lack of…continue to astound, skippy. After all, I did say hardly an earth shattering difference, which I guess you don’t understand means there is a difference. Just not that great. Sorry I had to spell it out for you, but that’s how you roll.

          And now you venture into math. Big mistake. Any modeling of using 1.5 or 2.5 would tell you that. I’ll let Scientific American explain it to you, skippy.


          “…that for an ECS of three degrees C, our planet would cross the dangerous warming threshold of two degrees C in 2036, only 22 years from now. When I considered the lower ECS value of 2.5 degrees C, the world would cross the threshold in 2046, just 10 years later [see graph on pages 78 and 79].

          “So even if we accept a lower ECS value, it hardly signals the end of global warming or even a pause. Instead it simply buys us a little bit of time?potentially valuable time?to prevent our planet from crossing the threshold.”

          Take your 1.5, which is hardly an accepted number in the scientific community, and you will get maybe 10 more years.

          N’est pas?

      4. It doesn’t mean the warming stops,

        Typical: you ignore the data, put up a straw man, and then label everybody who disagrees with your political agenda a denier.

        So, to be clear again: AGW is happening, but to a lesser degree than the IPCC says; the IPCC models are wrong, and their estimates are high; and since even under IPCC predictions there was little need to act, there is even less need to act now. It’s, you know, science.

        1. You’re wrong. But its typical as to how deniers read into what the IPCC actually said and what they think it said.

          In fact, what Curry found was at the low range of what the IPCC said could happen. They ranged it…they never said the more catastrophic result is assured.

          So here is what you are left with…you all are supporting a study that basically confirms what the IPCC said. CO2 is increasing, it effects temperature, and we are headed to a problem. The Curry study only says it will happen later than what the worst case scenario from the IPCC said.

          So congrats for getting on board with reality.

  2. The United States, China, the European Union, and India accounted for 58 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2013

    I’m actually surprised it isn’t higher.


    Just in case.

  4. Over on the UK libertarian blog Bishop Hill Montford has published a very poignant essay by fellow going by the handle Katabasis about the failure fo scientists to stand up to the fearmongering cultists who wrap themselves in the mantle of science:

    In short, there seems to be no stomach amongst the ‘mainstream’ climate establishment to do anything very much to counter the incredibly pernicious effect of our Cooks, Manns, Lewandowskys and Hansens. You don’t seem to realise that the public already lumps all of you together and some of us who know better are at the end of their tether in trying to maintain that distinction. The effort is a law of diminishing returns ? why should we attempt to lift you out of a hole you continue to keep digging deeper? History won’t care what your inscrutable paywalled article actually said. Neither will the general public. They’ll care that you didn’t speak out when you should have. That you allowed everyone who raised objections be painted as part of some shady conspiracy funded by billions in filthy lucre. That you allowed their children to be terrified by a vision of monstrous and hopeless futures. The anger is going to continue to grow until a significant portion of the climate mainstream steps up to the plate, and would be well advised to do so before the leash well and truly snaps.

      1. How could someone write that entire thing and not mention Mark Steyn? The reason that the scientific community doesn’t stand up to the likes of Mann is because of the threats and intimidation. Someone is bankrolling these frauds. The suit against Steyn is over two years old.

        The leash will truly snap and it will be a result of Mark Steyn being unwilling to bow. Like with the Canadian Human Rights commissions, going up against Steyn doesn’t usually end well.

        It is a shame the lack of support that he has received from “Free minds and Markets”. I do believe that the Reason Foundation may have filed an amicus brief against Mann but they certainly haven’t spilled any ink (or electrons) in support of Steyn. You would think that perhaps Shikha would write about how we need immigrants to defend our natural rights when lazy Americans won’t.

    1. about the failure fo scientists to stand up to the fearmongering cultists who wrap themselves in the mantle of science

      IDK, it’s a backhanded compliment at best. It still implies the grotesque assumptions that the models are right, vast swaths of people are unenlightened heathens, and rights or ethics don’t matter.

      Just less so than absolutely nutjob leaders.

      1. My bad for skimming it. He doesn’t imply the models are correct, he says he’s a skeptic.

        The post was conflictingly confusing; Invoking MLK to describe the cohorts of climate zealots draws, IMO, inapt parallels between climate progressivism and race/civil progressivism.

        I get that he was using the literal interpretation of the words, but there have to be a dozen variations of ‘First they came… triumph of evil, that good men do nothing…’ speech that don’t carry the connotation of painting the leader of the movement you’re skeptical of as an assassinated martyr.

    2. Why would they bother standing up? Most of them are likely friendly towards big government, so even if they recognize how over the top many of the claims are, they still don’t mind the policies climate change activists want: more regulation, more control over corporation. On the other hand, if they stick out their necks too much and contradict politicians who ultimately are the source of their funding, there are big downsides.

  5. Everything bad that’s ever happened in all of human history, even stuff before 1776 is America’s fault. Everyone knows that.

    1. Well, yeah. That’s because of liberty. Liberty is bad.

      American was founded on the principle that as long as you’re not infringing on the rights of others, you need not ask permission or take orders. And that’s bad.

      That’s why America needs to be transformed from a nation that values liberty to a nation that values asking permission and obeying orders. And we’re almost there.

    2. Studying up for that AP History exam, huh?

    3. Well, we *did* extend the duration of WWI a bit.

      1. And in the process, lay the groundwork for Hitler’s rise to power.

  6. Prof. Richard Muller’s presentation on what the UNFCCC, as it stands, wants to do to control anthropogenic GHG emissions.

    Muller is an honest academic (professor, Dept. of Physics, UC Berkeley, founder and director of the Berkeley Earth) who believes in AGW. He is not a denier.

    Start at 6:00 and lasts about three minutes. Prof Muller explains this issue very well in this segment of the presentation.

    The whole presentation is an excellent overview by a AGW believer. Particularly good is the review of ClimateGate starting at 30:00.

  7. Despite all the recent economic gains China is still a developing country, it has millions still living in poverty. To ask countries like China, as well as others like India to permanently cripple themselves to make Western liberals happy is ludicrous.

    1. And what’s making things even worse in places like China is these capitalists are coming in there and giving those people jobs! Can you imagine? These people are choosing to work for capitalists rather than live on communal farms? We need more communal farms and less capitalism!

      1. Even worse, the capitalists are creating wealth in China, and improving living standards, which increases their emission of CO2.

        China did not pollute the atmosphere with CO2 back during the good old days of the Great Leap Forward.

      2. It’s almost like those dirty peasants want a better life for themselves and their chidren instead of sacrificing themselves for the greater good or something! Comrade Mao is turning over in his grave!

    2. China and India together have more than 1/4 of the world’s population. Even if the US and Europe quit burning stuff altogether (which will never happen), I’m sure Indian and China and others will gladly pick up the slack on fossil fuel use.

      This is why my main argument against the “OMG we have to do something” crowd is that even if they were based on sound science and reasonable predictions, all proposed solutions based on limiting use of fossil fuels are certain to fail to do any good while fucking up economies and making lots of people poorer.

      1. How long until someone demands a military solution? You know, like air strikes against coal fired power plants and oil fields in countries that refuse to comply with the demands of the planet savers? I mean, if we don’t do something then we’re all going to die!

        1. I’m sure someone will demand it soon if they haven’t already.

          Fortunately, solar powered bomber technology is still in its infancy.

          1. Just as those who enforce the law get to ignore it, those who enforce the climate religion won’t actually follow the teachings.

        2. We are already going to die Sarcasmic. Haven’t you heard? The antarctic ice sheet is already collapsing. There is no stopping it. It is too late to do anything about it.

          Doom is upon us.

        3. I know some are already pushing for “cimate deniers” to be locked up, so it’s only a matter of time.

      2. all proposed solutions based on limiting use of fossil fuels are certain to fail to do any good while fucking up economies and making lots of people poorer.

        Which will make it harder to adapt to a changing climate, leading to a lot of people needlessly dieing. But hey, it’s just people, amiright?

        1. This is assuming their preferred goal isn’t less people.

          I’m not convinced it isn’t.

    3. To ask countries like China, as well as others like India to permanently cripple themselves to make Western liberals happy is ludicrous evil.


    4. To ask countries like China, as well as others like India to permanently cripple themselves to make Western liberals happy is ludicrous.

      OTOH, asking western developed nations to cripple themselves while also paying bribes to the UN for their past sins is doubleplusgood. Because ZOMG EVUL KKKAPITALIZM!!!!11!111!!!!, or something.

    1. Huff was arrested July 2 by the Gainesville Police Department, suspected of having meth residue on a spoon, van Rossem said.

      “From what I understand, she was a passenger in a car and had a spoon on her, near her, and I guess the officer, for whatever reason, thought there was some residue,” he said.

      According to the Hall County Comprehensive Justice Information System, Huff had not been charged with any type of felony or drug-related offense prior to the incident.

      “She’s maintained all along that there’s no way in hell that’s any sort of drug residue or anything like that,” van Rossem said.

      Attempts to obtain the original arrest report from the Gainesville Police were unsuccessful, and van Rossem was unfamiliar with other details related to the arrest. Gainesville Police spokesman Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said the department would defer to the district attorney’s office.

      1. Genius, covering her meth residue with spaghetti sauce.

      2. WTF, cavalier?

        No one told me this was going to be a nut punch thread!!

          1. Even my new Kevlar reinforced cup probably couldn’t stand up to a shot like that, I think I will pass on that link.

  8. Need some help here.

    Reason has finally driven me to change browser – I am just freaking sick and tired of having to trun the sound off while browsing this site because of their new ads.

    Running Firefox – ain’t going to use Chrome – and No-Script.

    Need to know if there’s some way to keep the videos off while still allowing log-in and commenting.

    Am willing to use a different browser if that’s what’s needed but Chrome is out – I already use an Android Phone and Gmail and that’s as much Google as I’m willing to allow.

    1. I have adblocker installed for firefox.

      1. Thanks – that might have done it.

      2. That’s what I use.

    2. Have you considered Chrome? I run Chrome with Ad Block and see zero ads. Commenting and log-in work just fine. Maybe try Chrome.

      1. Next you’re going to point and screech, ala Donald Sutherland, aren’t you?

    3. Opera might be worth a try. Something different.

    4. Yeah, you have to ad block and FireFox.

      That’s the only thing that works.

      Those new ads suck.

      It increases load times dramatically, too, which is something I didn’t think I’d have to worry about again.

    5. No script works fine. You have to let through Reason.com (obviously) and ajax.googleapis.com.

    1. Although the rice may not be as nutritional…

      Protein concentrations in plant tissues are closely tied to plant nitrogen status. Changes in plant tissue nitrogen are therefore likely to have important effects on species at higher trophic levels. Performance is typically diminished for insect herbivores feeding on plants grown in elevated CO2 (Zvereva & Kozlov 2006). This can lead to increased consumption of plant tissues as herbivores compensate for decreased food quality (Stiling and Cornelissen 2007). Effects on human nutrition are likely as well. In FACE experiments, protein concentrations in grains of wheat, rice and barley, and in potato tubers, are decreased by 5?14% under elevated CO2 (Taub et al. 2008). Crop concentrations of nutritionally important minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus may also be decreased under elevated CO2 (Loladze 2002; Taub & Wang 2008).

      1. On the other hand, increased levels of C02 seem to counteract the negative effects of ground-level 03 (ozone)…(see above link)

        Elevated CO2 substantially decreases the negative effects of high ozone on photosynthesis, growth, and seed yield in both soybeans and rice (Feng et al. 2008; Morgan et al. 2003). Across experiments with all plant species, the enhancement of growth by elevated CO2 is much greater under conditions of ozone stress than otherwise (Poorter & Navas 2003).

      2. Under elevated CO2 conditions, legumes may be able to shunt excess carbon to root nodules where it can serve as a carbon and energy source for the bacterial symbionts. In effect, legumes may be able to exchange the excess carbon for nitrogen and thereby maximize the benefits of elevated atmospheric CO2. Many studies in controlled environments have shown that, compared to other plant species, legumes show greater enhancement of photosynthesis and growth by elevated CO2 (Rogers et al. 2009). Decreases in tissue nitrogen concentrations under elevated CO2 are also smaller for legumes than for other C3 species (Cotrufo et al. 1988; Jablonski et al. 2002; Taub et al. 2008). In FACE experiments, soybeans (a legume) show a greater response to elevated CO2 than wheat and rice in photosynthesis and overall growth, although not in harvestable yield (Long et al. 2006).

        1. The results are more mixed than that.


          1. Thanks; I couldn’t find any other study dealing with the “plants are less nutritious” claim.

  9. It’s really interesting how important the support of the international community is to Barack Obama.

    I wish he cared as much about the support of the American people.

    They’re aiming for a climate agreement in Paris next year?

    We better hope the Republicans win control of the Senate.

    …or is this another one of his “agreements”, rather than a treaty, where no one from the Senate is invited?

    1. Leaders care about support from the people they lead. Rulers don’t give a shit.

      1. Exactly!

        It’s the same thing with the bombing in Syria.

        Obama’s going on about how the international community supports him, how the Arab leaders support him, he goes on about how Congress supports him so much that he doesn’t need their authorization, too…

        But Obama doesn’t give a shit whether the American people support him on his Syrian bombing campaign, and he doesn’t care if they support him on a climate change “agreement” either.

        For Obama, elections are so 2012! He doesn’t want the Republicans to get control of the Senate, but once that’s out of the way, his agenda has nothing to do with popular support.

        And it shows. He doesn’t give a shit about what the American people want. …in any of the important issues we’re facing. The American people, quite frankly, are kinda gettin’ in the way. We’re worse than a distraction.

        1. Obama has heard that leadership involves giving people what they *need*, not what they want.

          Unfortunately he thinks he knows best what those needs are and there’s both no reason to listen to the proles nor anything they can do to stop him anyway.

          Man’s got a *legacy* to attend to.

          1. Progressivism is all about using the coercive power of government to force people to make sacrifices for the common good.

            Democracy usually confines those sacrifices to the minority of the people, but having survived his last election, Obama just isn’t constrained by that anymore.

        2. We’re worse than a distraction.

          In some cases we’re an active impediment. The thing is, narcissitic tin-plated wannabe dictators really don’t like impediments to them getting their way, and it often times doesn’t turn out well for the impediments.

  10. commitment to cut greenhouse gases and provide tens of billions in aid

    Wait… wut? Let me guess, the part of Santa Claus is being played by Uncle Sam.

    1. Yes, and note that in every single official discussion about the climate sca……I mean global warming, it becomes a discussion about how much money we have to pay.

      If you live outside the U.S. and want to have an air conditioned house, a car, good medical care, a big screen TV, school for your kids etc. then start working your ass off like generations of Americans did. When your neighbors get resentful and try to take the fruits of your labor, shoot their asses.

  11. Can’t we all just plant a bunch of trees and be done with this already?

  12. I notice that in the next article (the Skenazy one), you can’t comment – it just gives a 404 error message.

    1. It’s working now.

    2. 3:00 SKWIRRELZ. Happens to me all the time.

  13. My favorite is the proposal by Mayor Bill de Blasio for NYC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by 80% by 2050.

    I always love those proposals politicians make that have an expiration date well past their own service expiration date.

    What a commitment!

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