China To Cut CO2 Emissions? Don’t Hold Your Breath.
By Paul Homewood
Xie Zhenhua, China’s chief negotiator to the UN climate change talks, has told us not to expect cutbacks or even a freeze in China’s fossil fuel emissions any time soon.
According to state newswire Xinhua,
Xie explained that a country’s emissions will increase in tandem with economic growth, but when emissions peak, the level will remain stable for a time and then begin to drop, like an inverted "U."
China’s emissions are at the climbing stage, said Xie.
It’s unfair and unreasonable to hold China to absolute cuts in emissions at the present stage, when its per capita GDP stands at just $5,000 , Xie said.
Xie expects emissions to continue to rise until GDP reaches $20000 to $25000 per head. Experts predict that emissions will continue to rise until at least 2030.
None of this, of course, comes as any surprise at all. The New York Times reported, a couple of weeks ago, Li Junfeng, long time director general of the National Development and Reform Commission of China,as saying that burning coal still costs about one-third as much as using renewable energy like wind or solar.
They add that :-
Global demand for coal is expected to grow to 8.9 billion tons by 2016 from 7.9 billion tons this year, with the bulk of new demand — about 700 million tons — coming from China, according to a Peabody Energy study. China is expected to add 240 gigawatts, the equivalent of adding about 160 new coal-fired plants to the 620 operating now, within four years. During that period, India will add an additional 70 gigawatts through more than 46 plants.
And it’s not just for electricity. The report continues:-
Use of metallurgical coal or coking coal, used in blast furnaces, is also expected to more than double in China, to about 1.7 billion metric tons by 2016, as the country’s steel mills churn out more steel for automobiles, skyscrapers and export goods, the Peabody study says.
Coking coal will be increasingly in demand in other steel centers like Brazil and India, pushing coal companies to scrounge for new reserves in places like Botswana, Mongolia and Mozambique.
In all, coal use is expected to increase 50% by 2035, said Milton Catelin, chief executive of the World Coal Association in London.
Perhaps Weepy Bill McKibben should take his banners and go and protest in Tiananmen Square. (Hopefully he might even take the slow boat!)