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The Truth About China

December 2, 2015

By Paul Homewood


China will talk a good game at the UN Climate Conference in Paris but won’t make any binding commitments, concludes The Truth About China, an important new report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.


“China’s Communist Party has as its highest priority its own self-preservation, and that self-preservation depends overwhelmingly on its ability to continue raising the standard of living of its citizens,” states economist Patricia Adams, the study’s author and the executive director of Toronto-based Probe International, an organization that has worked closely with Chinese NGOs for decades.

“With China’s economic growth faltering, the last thing the Communist Party wants is to hobble its economy further by curtailing the use of the fossil fuels upon which its economy depends. A major cutback in fossil fuel use represents an existential threat to the Communist Party’s rule. It simply isn’t going to happen.”

Adams’s report includes another important finding: tackling CO2 emissions would do little if anything to curb the serious air pollution – dubbed “airpocalypse” – plaguing China’s major cities. On the contrary, the measures needed to curb China’s smog of life-threatening pollutants such as nitrogen and sulphur oxides – scrubbers on power plants, for example – actually increase CO2 emissions.

“A programme to rapidly reduce pollutants harmful to human health would be at odds with a programme to reduce CO2,” Adams states, noting that human health is unaffected by CO2, a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas. Next to keeping its economy afloat, the biggest challenge to its credibility that the Communist leadership faces is its need to reduce smog.  “I have never heard of a public protest in China against carbon dioxide emissions,” Adams states. “CO2 is a major concern for Western NGOs with offices in Beijing but it’s a non-issue for Chinese citizens and environmentalists at the grassroots.”

All that China will commit to, says the Adams report, is to continue to improve the energy efficiency of its economy as it grows – a goal it has long pursued, independent of global warming concerns. In doing so, China aims to increase its GDP along with its fossil fuel use, and by 2030 or so will depend on fossil fuels for 80% of its energy use, down from today’s 90%. When it reaches 80% 15 years hence, its energy makeup will largely resemble America’s today.  

  1. Retired Dave permalink
    December 2, 2015 1:01 pm

    Well that is why we in the UK must show a lead in this matter. What could possibly go wrong?? /sarc off

  2. December 2, 2015 2:37 pm

    Coal causes air pollution in China (also homegrown vehicle exhausts) in the same way as it did in London, because they burn it for heating, not because they burn it in power stations, a fact that environmentalists seem strangely reluctant to divulge.

    China needs more coal-fired power stations, and natural gas, so that they don’t have to burn coal inside homes.

  3. December 2, 2015 7:44 pm

    ‘by 2030 or so will depend on fossil fuels for 80% of its energy use, down from today’s 90%.’

    And a good part of the other 20% will be nuclear and hydroelectric, with wind and solar in a minor role.

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    December 2, 2015 9:14 pm

    The new “state of the art” coal fired power stations are replacing the older higher polluting plants (increasing efficiency reduces the amount of CO2 per MWh generated). Being much larger they can accommodate the extra load of scrubbers etc.

    The net effect, less (real) pollution, more electricity and a happier population. Also much agitation among greens as they are completely ignored.

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