June 5 News: China Noncommittal On Carbon Cap

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"June 5 News: China Noncommittal On Carbon Cap"

China, contrary to previous reports, will not announce a plan to adopt an absolute cap on carbon emissions at the UN talks in Germany. [Bloomberg]

China’s Chief Climate Negotiator Su Wei reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to lower emissions relative to economic output while dismissing reports that it will adopt an absolute cap on greenhouse gases.

The Financial Times and Independent newspapers both said last month that China is looking to introduce a cap in 2016. The Independent cited a proposal by the National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning agency where Su works. The FT cited Jiang Kejun, an NDRC carbon-policy researcher.

“The paper quoted an expert,” Su said today in an interview in Bonn, where two weeks of climate talks began yesterday. “It’s not necessarily presenting the view of the government or the NDRC. The NDRC would reaffirm that we have committed to a carbon-intensity target by 2020.”

Su’s comments are the first by a senior Chinese negotiator since the reports were published. While not an outright denial, they suggest China isn’t ready to announce a cap at the United Nations talks in Germany, where such a move may have spurred other nations to step up measures against global warming. …

China’s current goal is to reduce emissions per dollar of economic output by 40 percent to 45 percent in 2020, from 2005 levels. With a growing economy, that may still allow emissions to rise, whereas an absolute cap would set a carbon ceiling.

According to the American Petroleum Institute (!), the State Department is considering one final public hearing on the Keystone pipeline this summer. [The Hill]

Top scientists told the State Department that the draft environmental impact statement on the Keystone pipeline is “without merit in many critical areas.” [InsideClimate News]

A House bill would almost entirely cut EPA out of regulating coal ash. [The Hill]

The world’s largest coal company is looking to install solar panels to reduce its energy costs. [Renew Economy]

The Koch brothers are behind recent efforts to weaken Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. [Bangor Daily News]

Google is touting its support for a 2012 legislative effort by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to strip the EPA of its ability to regulate mercury and other toxic emissions. [DeSmogBlog]

Methane leaks from natural gas drilling must be one percent or lower for the fuel’s climate benefits to hold, but leaks could be as high as 7.9 percent. [WAToday]

40 national governments and 20 sub-national ones have implemented or are planning to implement a price on carbon, something the U.S. Congress has not seen fit to do. [Washington Post]

The Interior Department approved two major solar projects and one serious geothermal installation on public lands. [Sustainable Business]

A battery made of water, zinc, and air sets its sights on commercialization and being cheap enough to compete with natural gas for baseload electric power. [MIT Technology Review]

Bold Nebraska, Sierra Club and Nebraska Farmers Union are raising money to build solar and wind projects in the way of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. [Sustainable Business]

The head of the Forest Service told Congress that climate change has made the wildfire season two months longer than normal, while burning up twice as much land as normal. [Guardian]

Commensurate with a previous report by House Democrats, the Forest Service said it would have to hire 500 fewer firefighters this year because of the sequester. [Washington Post]

New research suggests that because the U.S. is the biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, it should have responsibility for the largest amount of reductions that are needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change — almost three times that of China, the current emissions leader. [Bloomberg]

The opposition in Australia led by Tony Abbott has a plan to replace the carbon pricing mechanism with planting a lot of trees. Climate scientists point out that emissions will not drop enough with this plan — Australia needs to cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially. [Guardian]

Another look at the experimental Walgreens in Evanston, Illinois being constructed with “800 solar panels on the roof, two 35-foot wind turbines and a geothermal energy system.” [New York Times]

Solar energy use in Arizona is getting a hearing — literally. A judge began hearings that will ultimately determine how power companies comply with renewable energy benchmarks. [USA Today (video)]

An op-ed by three Representatives reviews the cost of extreme weather events, and asks, “Do we tackle the climate change problem now or continue to ignore the inevitable?” [The Hill]

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54 Responses to June 5 News: China Noncommittal On Carbon Cap

  1. Tami Kennedy says:

    So much for China talking the good fight. Ought to put them closer to U.S. and Canada toothless positions in 2015.

    • Superman1 says:

      The electorate in any of these countries, independent of political system, has zero interest in making the harsh sacrifices REQUIRED to avoid the climate cliff. If we have not already committed to going over the cliff by what we have put in the biosphere, we are not far from that point given our monolithic trends.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        You may assert ‘little’ interest amongst the public, which I doubt is true, but certainly not ‘zero’ interest as that is manifestly false.

        • Superman1 says:

          If you want to quibble over ‘miniscule’ vs ‘zero’, go right ahead, but I think even you get my point. And, if what we require to avoid the climate cliff are emissions reductions of tens of percent a year (Anderson’s results with overly optimistic assumptions removed), then one or two percent would be zero, as far as I am concerned. Since we’re not reducing emissions, but rather increasing them, zero is it!

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            Where you go wrong, in my opinion, is in asserting zero or ‘minuscule’ support amongst the populace, when opinion polls tells us another story. And that support for action is held down by uniform MSM denialism or ‘false equivalence’ between science and rationality and maniacal Rightwing ideology, and no political leadership whatsoever. You imply a complete freedom of action for individuals reminiscent of libertarian fantasies, where everyone could do more, but are holding back out of greedy indifference, everyone, of course, being motivated solely by greedy self-interest. In fact many people simply cannot afford the cost of solar, of insulation, of more energy efficient appliances and vehicles etc because inequality is so great in the crumbling capitalist states courtesy of insatiable elite greed. You prefer not to blame the elite, although they, through their money power, control politics and the MSM and, hence, society. You prefer to blame the basically disempowered and disenfranchised masses instead. That, I believe, is where you go totally astray. The rest is noise, white noise.

        • Superman1 says:

          Mulga, I have noticed an accelerating trend in the comments sections over the past few weeks towards the recognition that significant emissions reductions are required in the front-end of any supply conversion process. It may be the first positive trend I have seen in the last year here. While the articles here by and large avoid the concept of sacrifice, it can be a strong motivator, as any Marine recruiter can tell you.

  2. Raul M. says:

    God helps those who help themselves. Meanwhile, the methane plumes last year in Alaska point to the prospect of using the methane for fuel. No fracking required.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    E&E reporter Lisa Friedman called Rice’s climate change record “thin,” noting that it has not been a prominent element of Rice’s work. Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Frank Loy argued to the news organization that although climate topics “haven’t been really the issues she felt were her job to promote … she understands the issue.”

    But Rice has been vocal in the past on climate change. In 2011, Rice told the U.N. Security Council that its inability to tackle climate change was “pathetic.” Acknowledging the threat posed to global security, Rice explained, “In many regions, climate change is already reducing the availability of food and water, threatening biodiversity, and disrupting sea levels and weather patterns. As more powerful and frequent storms and floods lash coastlines and uproot populations, climatic changes can put even more pressure on scarce resources and expose vulnerable communities to greater instability.”

    Scientists warn that some storms will become more frequent and intense as the climate continues to change.

    “We need to be much better prepared to tackle one of the central threats of our age,” Rice concluded at the time.

    According to ThinkProgress, “While there are still questions about how the State Department will approach climate after Secretary Clinton leaves, many are surely breathing a sigh of relief that the leading candidate for the position sees climate action as a ‘responsibility.’”

    Despite Rice’s acknowledgement of climate change’s threats, however, she came under scrutiny last week after the Natural Resources Defense Council’s OnEarth publication reported that Rice had heavy investments in multiple oil companies, including TransCanada. The company’s Keystone XL pipeline proposal is currently under review at the State Department, and Rice would oversee the project if confirmed as secretary of state. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/susan-rice-environment-climate-change_n_2238140.html

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      With Rice’s record she will use climate change only as a cudgel to attack enemies of the glorious West, and to justify intervention in countries targeted for ‘regime change’.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Rice also came under fire from the environmentalist left last year after it was revealed that she is invested in TransCanada, the Canadian oil company that is looking to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which environmentalists despise.

    “A third of Rice’s personal net worth is tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries north of the 49th parallel — including companies with poor environmental and safety records on both U.S. and Canadian soil,” OnEarth, a blog published by the Natural Resource Defense Council, reported in December.

    “It’s really amazing that they’re considering someone for Secretary of State who has millions invested in these companies,” radical environmentalist Bill McKibben said at the time. http://freebeacon.com/susan-rice-to-replace-outgoing-national-security-adviser/

    • prokaryotes says:

      US national security advisor says climate change is threat, calls for Emissions Reductions http://climatestate.com/2013/05/31/calls-for-emissions-reductions/

    • Sasparilla says:

      I’m sick of our elected politicians having large investments in these firms (I remember Kerry did as well) and its not like they’ve been these stellar investments that everybody had to have, why do these folks have them – absolutely corrupt.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Rice is picture perfect for the Obama regime. We get bipartisan policy, indistinguishable from Reptilican, but with a cunning PR veneer. In fact, Rice can be even more extreme that the likes of John Bolton, and the ‘progressives’ never utter a squeak.

  5. Colorado Bob says:

    Roman Seawater Concrete Holds the Secret to Cutting Carbon Emissions

    Analysis of samples provided by team member Marie Jackson pinpointed why the best Roman concrete was superior to most modern concrete in durability, why its manufacture was less environmentally damaging — and how these improvements could be adopted in the modern world.

    “It’s not that modern concrete isn’t good — it’s so good we use 19 billion tons of it a year,” says Monteiro. “The problem is that manufacturing Portland cement accounts for seven percent of the carbon dioxide that industry puts into the air.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604135409.htm

  6. Paul Magnus says:

    why do we get response like this. “While it is premature to pin the heavy rainfall on climate change, it could be partly to blame, says Stéphane Isoard of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark. But he says bad land management is just as important. “We build over the land and there is urban sprawl, so there is less opportunity for water to infiltrate the soil.” With more floods inevitable because of the wetter weather predicted by climate change, Isoard says Europe needs to adapt to a new world of frequent inundation.”

    Much better to say something along the lines of what he thinks probably caused the flooding ie climate change and then segway into how we mitigate against it with urban design. Scientist need to home in on the core message to communicate to the public. ie connect the dots….

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23647-central-europe-floods-portend-a-wet-future.html

    • Colorado Bob says:

      Over the last 15 years, the Czech Republic has experienced more floods than in the whole of the 20th century. In 1997, flooding devastated parts of Moravia; five years later, the west of the country, including the capital Prague, were inundated. The country has also experienced a series of local flash floods which caused serious damage. Leading Czech climatologist Radim Tolasz says Czechs should brace themselves for more floods to come in what he calls central Europe’s wet period.

      http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/climatologist-czechs-can-expect-more-frequent-flooding-in-future

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Interesting, but he makes no mention of ending anthropogenic greenhouse emissions. Hardly surprising in the Czech Republic that enthusiastically embraced hard Right ideology after 1989, and where an absolutely infamous denialist fanatic, Vaclav Klaus, is a former Prime Minister and President (now finding hospitable moral terrain at the Cato Institute). For this creature, climate destabilisation is a pure conspiracy of anti-capitalists, intent on stealing his ‘freedom’ and destroying the Holy Market.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Yes, it’s plainly a career-protecting cop-out (the ‘something rotten’ in Denmark, its lead role in the denialist enterprise, probably affecting him)but the observations regarding land use are true, too. Climate and weather disasters will be exacerbated by other ecological disasters, and vice versa.

  7. prokaryotes says:

    The Courage to Fight Climate Change

    The annual Ridenhour Prizes, which memorialize the spirit of whistleblower and investigative journalist Ron Ridenhour, recognize acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice or illuminate a more just vision of society.

    http://climatestate.com/2013/06/05/the-courage-to-fight-climate-change/

  8. prokaryotes says:

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma medical examiner’s office says the death toll from Friday’s tornadoes and subsequent flooding has increased to 20.

    The agency didn’t name the additional victim on Wednesday, but says the victim was a girl who died in Oklahoma City.

    Storms that swept through the Oklahoma City area on Friday generated an EF5 tornado and violent flash floods. The tornado was the widest one ever recorded — 2.6 miles long. http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/06/05/okla-death-toll-rises-to-20-after-tornado-floods/2392725/

  9. prokaryotes says:

    Heat wave brings out mosquitoes, ticks

    “We are hearing that this is going to be a really dry summer,” he said. “West Nile virus is famous for happening in dry years because the water gets really stagnant in catch basins. When that happens, culex mosquito populations are really high, so it has us concerned.”

    http://www.eagletribune.com/latestnews/x953007122/Heat-wave-brings-out-mosquitoes-ticks

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Pakistan wilts under record heat wave
    More common as a result of climate change, scorching temperatures are affecting the lives of millions in the country.

    According to a meteorological department advisory, the heat wave is unlikely to loosen its grip until the beginning of the first monsoon rains, expected in the first week of July.

    Qamar-uz-Zaman, vice president for the Asia region at the World Meteorological Department, said extreme summer temperatures, which have become common during the last few years in Pakistan, can largely be attributed to climatic warming. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/06/201364131639211150.html

  11. prokaryotes says:

    Rivers recede in wake of Missouri levee breaches

    The flood waters stand in contrast to the near river drought a few months ago.
    The Mississippi had been running so low that the Corps feared it would have to close the waterway to barge traffic. In December, the Corps of Engineers had hundreds of tons of rock dug out of the river at Thebes, Illinois, about 125 miles downriver from St. Louis, to make sure barges could pass.
    But Monday, the Coast Guard shut down a section of the river at St. Louis — because the water was too high for safe navigation. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/04/us/missouri-levee-breach/index.html

  12. catman306 says:

    One Meteorologist’s Come-to-Jesus Moment on Climate Change

    (Stu)Ostro will speak at this Thursday’s Climate Desk Live on “The Alarming Science Behind Climate Change’s Increasingly Wild Weather” alongside Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis, whose work on how the warming of the Arctic is
    driving wacky weather complements his own theorizing. But Ostro didn’t always fit this billing, because he didn’t always buy into fears about global warming. As he puts it, he used to be a “vehement skeptic…not only about a human role in global warming, but also the idea that there was anything unusual about any weather we had been seeing.”
    (Every denier’s conversion is a reason for joyous thanks!)

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/06/one-meteorologistss-come-jesus-moment-climate-change

    • catman306 says:

      I meant skeptic, not denier.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Deniers are not ‘sceptics’. It’s all Rightwing ideology, and that requires, in most fields, the most perfect credulousness, lack of intellectual curiosity and ability to suspend disbelief imaginable.

  13. prokaryotes says:

    The Hurricane season is on! Florida under TS watch…

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2427

    There could be 6 major Hurricane’s this season, according to latest forecasts.

  14. BobbyL says:

    There have been reports circulating that China planned to have emissions peak by 2025 and apparently they are backing off. It is hard to believe that 2025 isn’t too late for emissions to peak in China anyway given that they are now by far the biggest emitter. There doesn’t seem to be any word about what India is planning. I would assume they will soon overtake the US as the number two polluter. Our fate in the West is now clearly in the hands of two very large countries that are pushing for continued rapid economic growth. Not very comforting. I don’t think anybody would have guessed this scenario 30 years ago.

    • Superman1 says:

      “Our fate in the West is now clearly in the hands of two very large countries that are pushing for continued rapid economic growth.” Our ‘fate in the West’ was sealed by our unrestrained consumption over the past five or more decades, and the resident atmospheric pollution that resulted. We continue to tighten the seal by continued unconstrained consumption, and our unwillingness to make the sacrifices REQUIRED to avoid the climate cliff.

    • prokaryotes says:

      By Giles Parkinson on 5 June 2013

      The world’s largest coal mining company – Coal India – is looking to innovative solution to reduce its own energy bills: it’s installing solar energy.

      The company, which is listed but government controlled, and which accounts for more than 80 per cent of coal production in India, is installing a 2MW plant at its Sampalbur coal plant in Odisha. It plans to install solar at its operations across the country, including at its mining research arm, the Central Mine Planning and Design Institut.

      Officials told local media DNA that the installation of solar PV at mines and staff housing areas is aimed at reducing Coal India’s own energy bills.

      But the most striking aspect of the decision is the company’s own recognition that fossil fuels are depleting, and that solar is approaching grid parity.

      “India has an abundance of sunshine and the trend of depletion of fossil fuels is compelling energy planners to examine the feasibility of using renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, and so on,” Coal India’s bid document said.

      Another state-owned coal company, Neyvili Corp, as well as Oil India, are also venturing into the solar market, Neyvili is building a 10MW solar PV plant with an option to upgrade to a 25MW facility.

      Across India, around 2.3GW of solar is expected to be installed by 2016, with more expected as distributed solar provides cheaper options that sourcing electricity from the grid. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/worlds-biggest-coal-company-turns-to-solar-to-save-energy-costs-31634

    • Lou Grinzo says:

      Forgive the unpleasant imagery, but I think it’s accurate…

      The West has loaded a gun and pointed it at humanity’s head, and China and India are helping the rest of the world pull the trigger.

      Arguing about who emitted what, when, in the past as a way of assigning blame for this mess we’re in is precarious and fruitless. Presumably one would not blame a country for emissions released before we knew the consequences. And one would assign blame for emissions made after we knew. So, to anyone who wants to assign blame, pick the date when you can reasonably say nations knew what was going on, and tell me how you deal with things like China and India building coal plants now at a horrific rate, China accounting for 46% of worldwide coal consumption, and US emissions before and after the magic date you select, etc.

      • Superman1 says:

        The reality of international negotiations is that the countries responsible for the large CO2 atmospheric concentrations will have to bear the lion’s share of remediation. If Anderson’s optimistic requirement of 10% annual global emissions reduction were agreed upon, then the USA might be subject to 20% (or more). Try selling that to Congress, or even the electorate!

      • BobbyL says:

        Of course historical emissions are always changing as time goes on as does per capita emissions. A key point is that per capita emissions in China are now about the same as the EU countries which I would assume will be taken into account in future negotiations as does the fact that the developed countries have a shrinking proportion of overall emissions as time goes on and probably now account for only about 40% of emissions.

        • Mark Belgium says:

          “In China, the world’s most populous country, average emissions of CO2 increased by 9% to 7.2 tonnes per capita, bringing China within the range of 6 to 19 tonnes per capita emissions of the major industrialized countries.
          In the European Union, CO2 emissions dropped by 3% to 7.5 tonnes per capita. The United States remain one of the largest emitters of CO2, with 17.3 tonnes per capita, despite a decline due to the recession in 2008-2009, high oil prices and an increased share of natural gas.”
          http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/index.cfm?id=1410&dt_code=NWS&obj_id=15150&ori=RSS

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          How do historical emissions change ‘..as time goes on’? Do you possess some sort of time machine that enables you to go back in time, and ‘change’ past history?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      ‘Apparently’. As all ‘reporting’ by the Western MSM is pure agit-prop, particularly concerning China, I’ll wait to see what really happens.

  15. prokaryotes says:

    Robert Kennedy Jr and a free market manifesto for clean tech
    For Robert F. Kennedy Jr giving fossil fuel firms freedom to pollute is a far greater distortion of market principles than any of the subsidies granted to clean energy

    “For mature industries like oil, which is poisoning people, which is getting spilled into the Gulf, which is forcing you into alliances with tyrannical countries, which is getting you into wars, which is, in fact, the most profitable industry in the history of mankind, it is kind of absurd to be subsidizing it,” he argues. “I don’t know of any economic model where it would not be absurd to subsidise that kind of industry. And yet they’re getting the biggest subsidies in history.” http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/feature/2271699/robert-kennedy-jr-and-a-free-market-manifesto-for-clean-tech

  16. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Reported yesterday (ABC radio & TV): 4m households in Oz are now powered by renewables, that’s roughly 45-50%. Sounds like action to me, ME

  17. Colorado Bob says:

    ME -
    Google images ……… ” Australian Draglines in water ”

    You folks are making progress.

  18. Superman1 says:

    Yeah, right. The small Oz population increases its fraction of renewables, while at the same time is the world’s largest exporter of coal and is poised to exploit its newly-found fossil resources to the max. Why don’t you balance these two against each other, and then draw a conclusion about Oz’s net contribution to the climate problem?

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Is that Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Country and Western style?

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The human beings are making progress. The klepto-plutocrats are still regressing.