Global News: China Plans Regional Energy Caps to Curb GHG Emissions; Warming Could Exceed Safe Levels in Your Lifetime

Other big world climate stories: Japan seeks new CO2 cuts; Draft plan for Global Green Climate Fund handed to UN

Report: China to set regional energy caps

China’s efforts to curb its greenhouse gas emissions are poised to take another major step forward, according to reports from the state-backed Xinhua news agency detailing plans to set binding regional caps on energy consumption.

Quoting Jiang Bing, head of the planning department of the National Energy Administration, the news agency reported that the proposals for energy quotas would be released in the near future, although it added that the plans would need approval from China’s State Council.

Jiang also signalled that the quotas would only apply to energy derived from fossil fuels with hydro, wind and solar power exempted from the caps.


The Chinese government has previously said it will impose a cap on energy consumption as part of its latest five-year plan, which has set a series of targets designed to enhance energy efficiency and cut the carbon intensity of the country’s economy by 17 per cent by 2020. The plan is seen as essential to meeting China’s stated goal of cutting its carbon intensity by between 40 per cent and 45 per cent by 2020.

The proposed energy consumption quotas are the latest in a series of mooted green policy announcements from Beijing designed to curb emissions and accelerate investment in clean technologies.

Warming could exceed safe levels in this lifetime

Global temperature rise could exceed “safe” levels of two degrees Celsius in some parts of the world in many of our lifetimes if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, two research papers published in the journal Nature warned.

“Certain levels of climate change are very likely within the lifetimes of many people living now … unless emissions of greenhouse gases are substantially reduced in the coming decades,” said a study on Sunday by academics at the English universities of Reading and Oxford, the UK’s Met Office Hadley Center and the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Large parts of Eurasia, North Africa and Canada could potentially experience individual five-year average temperatures that exceed the 2 degree Celsius threshold by 2030 — a timescale that is not so distant,” the paper said.

Two years ago, industrialized nations set a 2 degree Celsius warming as the maximum limit to avoid dangerous climate changes including more floods, droughts and rising seas, while some experts said a 1.5 degree limit would be safer.

It is widely agreed among scientists that global pledges so far for curbing greenhouse gas emissions are not strong enough to prevent “dangerous” climate change.

Next month, nations will meet for the next U.N. climate summit in Durban, South Africa, where a binding pact to reduce emissions looks unlikely to be delivered.

Instead, a global deal might not emerge until 2014 or 2015.

The study found that most of the world’s land surface is very likely to experience five-year average temperatures that exceed 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2060.

Draft plan for global Green Climate Fund handed to UN

The group of politicians, diplomats and economists working on plans for a new Green Climate Fund capable of investing up to $100bn a year in climate-related projects by 2020 has completed its draft proposals, according to Reuters reports.

The news agency said that the draft document was finalised at a meeting of the UN-appointed committee in South Africa last week, paving the way for the plan to be presented at next month’s crucial climate

Christiana Figueres, head of the UN climate change secretariat, confirmed that the draft plan had been completed, telling Reuters via email that the group had put forward a draft proposal for how the Green Climate Fund would work, and recommendations on “transitional arrangements” that would allow it to be launched as early as 2013.

“The submissions … include a strong signal to engage the private sector and a solid basis to develop country-driven operations through direct access to funds,” she added.

The structure of the proposed fund is likely to prove one of the main points of contention at the Durban summit next month.

Countries agreed at last year’s summit in Cancun that up to $100bn a year should be provided to poorer nations from 2020 to help them cut emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Corporate leaders at UN-backed meeting urge reforms to reinvigorate economies

Corporate executives and prominent political figures today at a United Nations-backed meeting called for investment in emerging sectors that support sustainable development to reinvigorate the flagging global economy and address the deepening rift between rich and poor.

Amid growing protests over financial and economic uncertainty across the world, more than 500 leading executives met at the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative Global Roundtable (UNEP FI) summit in Washington to discuss possible solutions.

Among those calling for change include former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson, as well as decision-makers in the investment, banking and insurance sectors. The meeting also heard from the United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Recommendations included the implementation of policies that can mobilize investment by the banking and investment sectors into emerging industries associated with sustainability – including the clean energy sector, renewable energy, green buildings and retrofitting, clean vehicles and fuels.

EU Should Focus CO2 Incentive on Renewables, De Boer Says

The European Union should rethink its plan to restrict use of emission credits from the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas offsetting program, said a former United Nations’ chief climate official.

“The last thing we need at the moment is a sense that Europe is reneging on its commitment” to emissions trading, said Yvo de Boer, former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, who is now a climate change and sustainability adviser to KPMG LLP, the consulting company. The EU instead should allow use of credits from projects in emerging nations that provide renewable power to poor people with no current access to electricity.

De Boer was speaking in London after Clean Development Mechanism offsets dropped to a record 6.69 euros ($9.28) a metric ton on Oct. 20. A record number of emission-reduction projects are seeking registration by the end of next year, boosting supply because of a deadline imposed by the EU, whose factories and power stations are the main buyers of credits.

From 2013 the EU will accept only new offset projects based in least-developed countries. Additionally, the import of credits generated by reducing industrial gas hydrofluorocarbon-23 and of those tied to some nitrous-oxide projects will be banned as of May 2013.

Japan seeks CO2 cuts as talks on new plan continue

Japan plans to propose next month in South Africa that while negotiating an agreement on a future climate framework, all major polluters make emission cuts to meet their pledged goals, a foreign ministry official said on Friday.

U.N.-led climate talks failed to meet a 2009 deadline to agree a new pact to start after the Kyoto Protocol’s first period ends in 2012. A major conference in Durban is under pressure to launch a process to negotiate a new treaty.

“In the Durban meeting, we’re calling for clarified steps to agree on a future climate framework,” said Takehiro Kano, director at the ministry’s climate change division.

Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest emitter, plans to propose that countries agree on guidelines to monitor and verify that they are doing what they have pledged to compile biennial reports, he added. Countries agreed to the reports at last year’s climate conference in Cancun, Mexico.

18 Responses to Global News: China Plans Regional Energy Caps to Curb GHG Emissions; Warming Could Exceed Safe Levels in Your Lifetime

  1. prokaryotes says:

    It’s the end of the world as we knew it.

  2. Paul Magnus says:

    Joe, how exactly did we all come to agree on 450ppm? Where was that decision first made? Just think that it would be an interesting thing investigate and highlight…..

  3. Merrelyn Emery says:

    The report from UNEP FI makes it clear that the OWS movement has been noted and is having an effect. Goodonya folks, ME

  4. David B. Benson says:

    Deja vu.

  5. harvey says:

    China is also agressively building nuclear power plants…

  6. Leif says:

    I was never asked, and if anything can be considered “commons,” I would think air would be high on the list. Good question Paul.

  7. PeterW says:

    In 2003, the late Robert Hunter, one of the founders of Greenpeace, wrote a book called “Thermageddon: Countdown to 2030”. As we get closer to that year, it seems more and more plausible.

  8. Paul Magnus says:

    The next nuclear accident will probably be in China.

  9. Colorado Bob says:

    Zimbabwe: Temperatures Soar As Hot Spell Continues
    A hot spell continued sweeping across the country yesterday with some places recording temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius, while people collapsed in some areas as they worked in fields and gardens.

    This confirms October this year as the hottest month since 1925. The high temperatures are expected to continue until Sunday.

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Obama administration approves BP’s plan to drill in the Gulf of Mexico

    Representatives for the Gulf Restoration Network say the decision is “problematic,” considering the fact that comprehensive safety legislation has yet to be passed through Congress.

    The approval by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) came despite the fact that BP is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and was recently cited by the Department of the Interior for numerous safety and environmental violations in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

    Some members of Congress, like Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., are critical of the administration’s decision to approve BP’s plan to drill up to four exploratory wells nearly 200 miles off the Louisiana coast. “Comprehensive safety legislation hasn’t passed Congress, and BP hasn’t paid the fines they owe for their spill, yet BP is being given back the keys to drill in the gulf,” Markey told Frontline.

    Though BP’s Macondo well was capped in September 2010 after spilling more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the gulf, the effects persist even today. Concerns over the safety of gulf seafood still abound, and recent sightings of a 10-mile oil slick in the area have led many to question just how capped BP’s well actually is. The Coast Guard has said that the oil is not from the Macondo well, but may be emanating from the company’s sunken Transocean rig.

  11. prokaryotes says:

    A Warzone in Oakland

    Occupy Oakland video: Riot police fire tear gas, flash bang grenades!

  12. Alteredstory says:

    I’ve long since given up on the hope that we’ll prevent more than two degrees warming.

    I honestly think that we’ll hit six by the end of the century, and 10-20 by the time the various feedback loops wind down (not counting water evaporation.

    At this point my goal is removing all human contribution to the problem, working on adaptation and survival, and working on REVERSING the problem, in an attempt to bring an early end to the warming, and to start a return to a better climate (for humans). Unfortunately, the ‘return to a better climate’ won’t be seen in my lifetime.

    ‘may you live in interesting times’

  13. prokaryotes says:

    Cheniere and BG ink $8 billion deal to export U.S. natural gas

    (Reuters) – Cheniere Energy has signed an $8 billion landmark deal with BG Group to ship U.S. natural gas across the globe, in the first export agreement of its kind from the lower 48 states, the company said Wednesday.

  14. Spike says:

    Unusual warmth in UK too. T-shirts at present rather than coats hats and scarves.

  15. Robert In New Orleans says:

    I don’t know if this could be done but would it be possible to make graph that you you could plug in the year of your birth and given an average life span what effects of climate change that you would expect to see in your lifetime?

  16. John McCormick says:

    Robert, who is “you”?

    Let us start with the nearly 4 billion impoverished among us.

    Are you interested in their fate?

    I can wager a goodly sum that none of us are. We don not see them. They are oblivious to us.

    Here is a capstone of your next 30 years (assuming you are less than 50 years):

    There is .5 degrees C temperature increase in the global warming pipeline that is slow to appear but will nonetheless. That brings
    global average temp up to 1.3 degrees C even if the world were to shut down the entire engine. That means 2.34 Degrees F above preindustrial. Are you comfortable with current global temp increase?

    Didn’t think so.

    Now imagine a world that is warmer than it has been is XXX years….assume the Xs are thousands of years.

    Children are are going to inherit that future. Maybe you and I will not.

  17. Gnobuddy says:

    @1: Prokaryotes says “It’s the end of the world as we knew it.”

    That’s a very much overused quotation, but sadly, I cannot argue with Prokaryotes use of it here. It’s a succinct and accurate summation of a hellishly bad situation.

    I wish there were a good reason to disagree, with him, but unfortunately there isn’t.

    Honestly, though, how many of us are surprised by this conclusion? Saddened, yes, but surprised? Probably not many. (“Us” being people who read this website and/or use other ways to stay current about climate change)

    If humankind had a tombstone, the inscription might read “Here lies Homo Sapiens Sapiens, who destroyed their only livable planet through sheer stupidity, driving them to an early extinction.”