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Obama P*wned

November 13, 2014

By Paul Homewood





Amidst all the fine words and good intentions just what has been agreed in this week’s US – China Joint Announcement on Climate Change.

It all really boils down to Clause 3.


Today, the Presidents of the United States and China announced their respective post-2020 actions on climate change, recognizing that these actions are part of the longer range effort to transition to low-carbon economies, mindful of the global temperature goal of 2℃. The United States intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%. China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030. Both sides intend to continue to work to increase ambition over time.



The US has already reduced CO2 emissions by 10% since 2005, leaving another cut of 20% in the next 11 years from 2013 levels, according to CDIAC.

In return, China intends to peak emissions by 2030, but does not say at what level, nor commit to any specific reduction thereafter.

The US Energy Information Administration, or EIA, are pretty clear on just where China is heading in the short term. Remember that most of their plans have already been set in motion. The EIA published their latest annual analysis in February this year, saying:


China has quickly risen to the top ranks in global energy demand over the past few years. China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer behind the United States and became the largest global energy consumer in 2010. The country was a net oil exporter until the early 1990s and became the world’s second-largest net importer of crude oil and petroleum products in 2009. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that China will surpass the United States as the largest net oil importer by 2014, in part due to China’s rising oil consumption. China’s oil consumption growth accounted for one-third of the world’s oil consumption growth in 2013, and EIA projects the same share in 2014.

Natural gas use in China has also increased rapidly in recent years, and China has sought to raise natural gas imports via pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG). China is the world’s top coal producer, consumer, and importer and accounted for about half of global coal consumption, an important factor in world energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. China’s rising coal production is the key driver behind the country becoming the world’s largest energy producer in 2007. In line with its sizeable industrialization and swiftly modernizing economy, China also became the world’s largest power generator in 2011.


Coal supplied the vast majority (69%) of China’s total energy consumption in 2011. Oil was the second-largest source, accounting for 18% of the country’s total energy consumption. While China has made an effort to diversify its energy supplies, hydroelectric sources (6%), natural gas (4%), nuclear power (nearly 1%), and other renewables (1%) accounted for relatively small shares of China’s energy consumption. The Chinese government plans to cap coal use to below 65% of total primary energy consumption by 2017 in an effort to reduce heavy air pollution that has afflicted certain areas of the country in recent years. The Chinese government set a target in its 12th Five-Year Plan to raise non-fossil fuel energy consumption to 15% of the energy mix by 2020 in efforts to ease the country’s dependence on coal. EIA projects coal’s share of the total energy mix to fall to 63% by 2020 and 55% by 2040 as a result of projected higher energy efficiencies and China’s goal to increase its environmental sustainability. However, absolute coal consumption is expected to increase by over 50% during this forecast period, reflecting the large growth in total energy consumption.



In other words, China’s CO2 emissions will continue to inexorably rise till at least 2030. To put these figures into context, we can compare the US with China.


  US China
2013 Consumption of Coal – Mt 797 3888
2040 Projection ? 5832


So, the projected increase for China is more than double the whole of US consumption. It does not take a genius to work out what will happen to China’s emissions.



And, of course, it’s not just coal. Demand for oil has been rising rapidly in recent years, and is forecast to continue to do so.




According to the EIA:


In 2013, China produced an estimated 4.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of total oil liquids, of which 93% was crude oil. EIA forecasts China’s oil production to rise to about 4.6 million bbl/d by the end of 2014. Over the longer term, EIA projects a steady growth for China’s oil and liquids production, reaching 4.6 million bbl/d in 2020 and 5.6 million bbl/d by 2040….


EIA expects China to import over 66% of its total oil by 2020 and 72% by 2040 as demand is expected to grow faster than domestic crude supply.


These numbers imply an increase in consumption from 10.1 million bbl/d last year, to 20.0 million bbl/d in 2040.


Then there is natural gas, about which the EIA comment:


Although natural gas production and use is rapidly increasing in China, the fuel comprised only 4% of the country’s total primary energy consumption in 2011. Heavy investments in upstream development and greater import opportunities are likely to underpin significant growth in China’s natural gas sector.





According to OGJ, China held 155 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves as of January 2014, 14 Tcf higher than reserves estimated in 2013 and the largest in the Asia-Pacific region. China’s natural gas production and demand have risen substantially in the past decade. China more than tripled natural gas production to 3.8 Tcf between 2002 and 2012. The government is planning to produce about 5.5 Tcf of natural gas by the end of 2015 in line with its desire to use more natural gas to replace other hydrocarbons in the country’s energy portfolio. EIA projects long-term natural gas production to climb to 4.2 Tcf by 2020 and more than double from current levels to reach 10.1 Tcf by 2040.


China has also been investing heavily in pipelines and import terminals to further increase capacity for imports, which have risen dramatically since 2006.



As Reuters comment:

The 2030 target should be fairly easy to meet. By then, the most manufacturing-intensive phase of China’s development will be complete and hundreds of millions more people will have been lifted into the middle class. Emissions are likely to stabilise by that date even without the joint statement.

For China, climate action remains subordinate to the primary goals of economic development and political and social stability. The joint statement enshrines China’s right to tackle climate change in its own way and at its own pace.

  1. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 13, 2014 1:23 pm

    Do American Democrats have any idea of the contempt that O’Bama is held in by foreign leaders?

  2. November 13, 2014 3:45 pm

    “…..mindful of the global temperature goal of 2℃

    I sincerely hope for mankind’s sake, that that isn’t the objective.

    Does no one with a scientific bent compose or proof-read statements issued by the White House?

    I presume (actually I know) the goal is 2K, and that it refers to a temperature rise.

    • Cinaed Simson permalink
      November 16, 2014 2:59 am

      Definition: Kelvin = Centigrade + 273

      Therefore, the change in temperature in Kelvin = the change in temperature in Centigrade.

      That is,

      K_final – K_initial = C_final + 273 – (C_initial + 273) = C_final – C_initial = 2 K = 2 C

  3. John F. Hultquist permalink
    November 13, 2014 5:20 pm

    Consider India, also. Seems to be getting better at doing things while still growing in population. India’s population is expected to exceed China’s by 2050. India too insists its primary goals are “of economic development and political and social stability” – not stopping climate change.
    Until nuclear power becomes acceptable and widely adopted there will not be a global decrease in emissions.
    However: “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”

  4. guenier permalink
    November 13, 2014 6:14 pm

    It isn’t only clause 3: clause 2 is extraordinary. It refers to an ‘outcome with legal force under the Convention’ and confirms that the US and China are committed to an agreement reflecting ‘the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances’. By ‘the Convention’ it means the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and, by ‘differentiated responsibilities’ etc., it refers to Article 4.7 which, for developing countries (including China), means that increasing emissions in pursuit of economic growth has priority over emission reduction. The UNFCCC established a two-tier system whereby the developing world is exempt from cuts whereas the developed world is not – a differentiation that the West (not unreasonably) considers to be inappropriate in the modern world. The undeveloped world’s refusal to amend it was the main reason why Copenhagen and subsequent climate negotiations have failed. As recently as October 14 Todd Stern, the US senior climate negotiator, said ‘there was no justification for using fixed 1992 categories’ and that, if the developing world insists on the two-tier system, that will be a “deal-breaker” for the US.** Now Obama has reversed that.


  5. November 13, 2014 7:16 pm

    It does not matter. CO2 is not at all a factor in climate, at all. I checked, from various corners.
    The climate is forced by natural forces, i.e God.
    God bless you if you came to the same conclusions [fro

  6. Mick J permalink
    November 15, 2014 2:37 pm

    The paucity of the commitment by China is also made clear here by their Climate Change Negotiator.

    “China’s top climate change negotiator on Friday defended the vagueness of Beijing’s target to peak carbon emissions “around 2030”, suggesting developed nations may need to make more ambitious cuts.

    China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide which scientists say causes global warming, has resisted pledging to cut emissions but this week announced a rough date by which it aims to stop them rising.

    “The state of our economy in 2030 is still uncertain, so as a responsible country we also need to make responsible targets which we can be sure to meet,” Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters in Beijing.

    Xie added that the target, announced on Wednesday during a visit by US President Barack Obama, was not yet legally binding and would have to be approved at five year intervals by China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress.”

    I posted this at the Lean blog at the Telegraph which echoes somewhat the EIA report that you mention.
    This is how the current BP Annual report describes Chinese coal consumption till 2035. I don’t have a graph to hand but this is also aided by more Hydro, Nuclear, Gas and intermittents to their mix. In that time, coal usage is projected by BP to rise by a third or more of current consumption.

    China’s coal demand growth decelerates rapidly from 902 Mtoe (6.1%
    p.a.) in 2005-15 to just 13 Mtoe (0.1% p.a.) in 2025-35. After 2030, demand
    will likely decline (-0.1% p.a.), driven by the rebalancing of China’s
    economy toward services and domestic consumption, and supported by
    efficiency improvements and more stringent environmental policy.
    China’s profile explains the marked slowdown in global coal growth.

    From page 68 which also includes graphs of energy source projections.

    Click to access Energy_Outlook_2035_booklet.pdf

  7. November 15, 2014 5:50 pm

    With “leaders” like this, who needs enemies?

    • Dale Muncie permalink
      November 17, 2014 5:50 am

      Obama should be saying “We have met the enemy, and he is me.”

  8. Brian H permalink
    February 11, 2015 7:06 am

    The meta-joke is that carbon emissions make no difference, and may well be of positive value. Agonizing about who’s the “worst” emitter is worse than futile.

    We can only hope that by the time the 2030 “deadline” comes, all this nonsense will be exposed as such.

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