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China ratifies Paris climate agreement

September 3, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


ScreenHunter_4457 Sep. 03 10.44


From the BBC:


China’s top legislature has ratified the Paris global climate agreement, state news agency Xinhua reports.

The country is the world’s largest emitter of harmful CO2 emissions, which cause climate change.

China and the US are expected to jointly announce ratification at a bilateral summit later on Saturday.

In a landmark deal struck in December, countries agreed to cut emissions enough to keep the global average rise in temperatures below 2C.

Members of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee adopted "the proposal to review and ratify the Paris Agreement" on Saturday morning at the end of a week-long session.

The Paris deal is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement. It will only come into force legally after it is ratified by at least 55 countries, which between them produce 55% of global carbon emissions.


But what exactly has been ratified?



1) For a start, the BBC clearly don’t understand the Paris Agreement when they say:

In a landmark deal struck in December, countries agreed to cut emissions enough to keep the global average rise in temperatures below 2C.

Whilst the Agreement aims to keep the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, no agreement was made to cut emissions to achieve this.

Indeed, quite the opposite, as Paragraph 17 makes clear:




The figure of 55 Gt is an increase of 12% on 2010’s level of 49 Gt.



2) As for China themselves, their INDC only promises to peak emissions by 2030, and reduce CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60% to 65% of 2005 levels.

Because their economy has expanded so much since 2005, and is planned to grow much more up to 2030, their promise is likely to see emissions increase by at least 50% from current levels, (dependent of course on exactly how much economic growth there is).

For full analysis, see here.


3) Furthermore, because it is still, inexplicably, classified as a developing country, Paris imposes no obligation, whether legal or moral, on China to reduce its GHG emissions.

Barrister, Robin Guenier discussed this topic at length here.

As he points out, Paragraph 4.4 of the Paris Agreement merely encourages them “to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances”.


4) Even for developed countries, there is nothing legally binding in the Agreement to enforce emission reductions. The relevant section is Article 4.4, which states:




The key word is “should”, which means that it is not legally binding. The original draft read “shall”, which is binding. The USA delegation insisted that “shall” was replaced by “should”, as otherwise it would have been a legally binding treaty requiring ratification by Congress.


Effectively, the only parts of the Paris Agreement which are binding concern the requirement to submit new nationally determined contribution every five years, provision of “support” (unquantified) to developing countries, and stocktaking of GHGs every five years.


In short, nothing agreed at Paris, whether binding or not, will do anything to reduce global emissions prior to 2030. All it has succeeded in doing is kicking the can down the road for the next 15 years.




Thanks to Manicbeancounter for pointing me to this graph, which was published by the UNFCCC on 2nd May 2016.

It shows the increasing trajectory of GHG emissions, even under the INDC pledges, which are barely below Business as Usual. The supposed trajectory to achieve the 1.5C scenario demands massive reductions.



  1. dangeroosdave permalink
    September 3, 2016 11:48 am

    The United States shall hand out large amounts of free money, and shall continue studying the earth deeply.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      September 3, 2016 12:26 pm

      Can I have some free money, please.

  2. September 3, 2016 12:09 pm

    The keyword is “intended”

  3. September 3, 2016 12:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    More Climate Change symbollocks.

    “2) As for China themselves, their INDC only promises to peak emissions by 2030…”

    Gives them plenty of time (15 years) to keep adding one coal plant per week for its growth goals, which includes the mass manufacture of windmills and solar panels to feed the gullible Wests penchant for feel-good unreliables.

    Win, win China!

  4. manicbeancounter permalink
    September 3, 2016 12:53 pm

    Well said. It is very clear to anyone who reads and understands the communiques and agreements that there is no set of even the vaguest proposals that in sum will reduce global greenhouse emissions, still less any legally binding commitments to achieve this. Yet the targets are to get drastic reductions in global emissions.
    The UNFCCC produced a graph to show the disparity discussed in Paragraph 17 above.

    I explain here, with an earlier version of the graphic.

  5. September 3, 2016 12:53 pm

    “In my hand I have a piece of paper” says Lord Haw Hawrabbin imitating Clement Atlee

    ..cos in the past people have always stuck to international Global Warming agreemnets NOT

    The habitual charter breaker was on the 1pm news saying that the agreemnet has a strong negative side ..”That the limits by BEST ESTIMATE will mean temperatures 3C higher” (by 2100) if in the real world there is a direct linear relationship between atmospheric CO2 and today’s temperature.

    I can’t believe the BBC managers that fail to govern him expect to collect full pension. They are breaking the law, which has serious consequences for the policies under which UK people live, so they need to be held to account !

    • September 3, 2016 1:46 pm

      Actually he said something like ‘The Paris Target was 1.5C, but this agreemenst will only achieve something double that according to best estimate it will be 3C rise’

    • September 3, 2016 2:00 pm

      Harrabin no longer bothers to hide his (and therefore the BBC’s) activist credentials, no doubt he is responsible for BBC news reports calling China and USA the “biggest polluters”, and comes out with things like “WE never expected to see this …” and “climate scientists wanted this”.

      If a “climate scientist” wants something to happen then he/she is a political activist, and therefore unable to do a proper job as a scientist.

      • dennisambler permalink
        September 4, 2016 8:25 am

        Theory is constantly reported as fact:

        “The country is the world’s largest emitter of harmful CO2 emissions, which cause climate change.”

    • Not that Bob permalink
      September 4, 2016 8:25 am

      Neville Chamberlain, rather than Clem?

  6. September 3, 2016 1:08 pm

    Don’t lose sight of the interesting bait and switch. Since Cancun, IPCC is asserting that global warming is capped at 2C by keeping CO2 concentration below 450 ppm. From Summary for Policymakers (SPM) AR5

    Emissions scenarios leading to CO2-equivalent concentrations in 2100 of about 450 ppm or lower are likely to maintain warming below 2°C over the 21st century relative to pre-industrial levels. These scenarios are characterized by 40 to 70% global anthropogenic GHG emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2010, and emissions levels near zero or below in 2100.

    Thus is born the “450 Scenario” by which governments can be focused upon reducing emissions without any reference to temperature measurements, which are troublesome and inconvenient. Policy makers have settled the science quietly without declaring it to be so, thereby avoiding any debate.

    • September 3, 2016 2:20 pm

      Mauna Loa CO2 data shows no sign of knowing anything about windmills, if the linear trend continues 450 ppm will be crossed in several decades, Paris, if agreements upheld, may delay that crossing time by a few years … so what?

      • September 3, 2016 2:26 pm

        Yes, they only use 450 ppm as an excuse to set CO2 emission reduction targets. Then the whole bureaucracy attends only to the targets, and is free to ignore both measures of CO2 concentrations and also temperatures (which can unhelpfully go down as well as up).

      • CheshireRed permalink
        September 3, 2016 6:03 pm

        Are my eyes deceiving me or is there little-to-zero correlation between that pretty-much linear global CO2 line and the sharp uptick of solely human-emitted CO2? A casual observer may consider the human component is lost in the noise of natural variation and therefore has no noticeable impact whatsoever, either on total atmospheric CO2 or by extension, any ‘CO2-caused’ increase in global temperatures. Wouldn’t that be a thing, eh?

  7. CheshireRed permalink
    September 3, 2016 1:31 pm

    Classic climate change industry smoke and mirrors. All about the perceived message rather than what’s actually achieved. Pointless.

  8. Robin Guenier permalink
    September 3, 2016 1:38 pm

    It’s interesting that it seems it was China – in the final stages of negotiation – that rescued the US by ensuring that “should” replaced “shall” in Article 4.4 of the Paris text:

    But why, I wonder, would China be so keen to help the US? I believe the answer should be obvious – although it’s widely overlooked. Had “shall” remained, the Agreement would have fallen foul of Congress, making US ratification impossible and the Agreement a failure. But a valid Agreement is greatly to China’s advantage: it imposes no obligation, moral or legal, on China to reduce its emissions, whereas the US is subjected to a clear moral obligation to do so – something with which it is already complying, incurring substantial expense and potential economic damage. When journalists/environmentalists write breathlessly of Chinese/US co-operation (see the BBC, Guardian, Independent etc. today), perhaps they should recall the old limerick:

    There was a young lady of Niger
    Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
    They returned from the ride
    With the lady inside,
    And the smile on the face of the tiger.

    • September 3, 2016 1:45 pm

      Robin, absolutely true. China agrees to business as usual until 2030, while US and other Western nations agree to gut their economies while transferring wealth to developing nations who are “threatened” by global warming.

    • September 3, 2016 2:50 pm

      About sums it up. The Paris climate agreement is a stick with which to beat the old industrial economies of the West and a carrot for the developing economies of China, India, etc. No country is legally obliged to cut emissions, but the moral obligation on the US, UK, Europe etc. is clear, and is drummed into the populace daily by activists in Western nations. Our virtue-signalling governments like to endorse that obligation by setting voluntary emissions targets which reduce our competitiveness with respect to the growing economies in the East. Unilaterally imposed economic suicide via global warming pact.

      • Karen Walker permalink
        September 3, 2016 3:49 pm

        Well, said, should be a bumper sticker in Canada – Economic Suicide via Global Warming Pact.

      • dennisambler permalink
        September 4, 2016 8:31 am

        It certainly isn’t anything to do with climate. I love the hubris in statements that governments intend to keep increases in the temperature of the planet below 2 deg C, and now 1.5 deg C.

        First define global temperature:

    • catweazle666 permalink
      September 4, 2016 1:19 am

      Obama hasn’t the authority to sign any such agreement, the Senate will chuck it straight out. No less an “authority” than James Hansen saw through the scam straight away.

      James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks ‘a fraud’

      Of course, if Donald Trump wins the Presidential election – which becomes more likely with every passing day, there will be a considerable change to America’s climate legislation.

      • dennisambler permalink
        September 4, 2016 8:33 am

        “which becomes more likely with every passing day”

        I suspect only if Hillary falls, and she has been well protected to date.

        However, I do hope you are right, as we know opinion polls can be so wrong!

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        September 4, 2016 9:06 am

        catweazle666: US law is rather more complex than that. I’m no expert but, as i understand it, it’s a treaty that requires 2/3 Senate approval. As the key word “shall” (a legal obligation) was changed to “should” (a moral obligation) the Paris Agreement is not a treaty (under US law). Nor, for the same reason, is it a Pact (a binding agreement with opt-outs) requiring Congressional approval. However the US Constitution recognises that the President can act on a personal basis “pursuant to faithfully upholding federal law”. Obama claims he is following this – upholding the US Clean Air Act. He may be right.

  9. September 3, 2016 1:43 pm

    There is no Green Bias on the BBC
    There is no Green Bias on the BBC
    There is no Green Bias on the BBC

    6:07am Open Country : Hoylake: Green Belt and (golf) Greens*
    6:30am Farming Today : : Green Belt Debate *
    7.50am Thought For The Day : Unchallenged lionising of Green Religion

    12:30pm George Monbiot one of 3 panellists on a comedy prog
    1pm News : Harrabin misleading in a number of ways
    1:10pm Any Questions : with the Green Party’s health spokesman Larry Sanders
    (north American voice, lot of foreigners in the Greens leadership)
    + Delingpole + Mouthy D Abbott

    * (some progs did include an opposing voice)

    • September 3, 2016 2:14 pm

      BBC 5 Live had Caroline Lucas on today, nothing wrong with that, but the presenter addressed her as Caroline, no way they would do that with any other party leader.

  10. Gamecock permalink
    September 3, 2016 1:50 pm

    ‘The country is the world’s largest emitter of harmful CO2 emissions, which cause climate change.’

    “Climate change” here is a reification fallacy. It is not concrete; it’s not even defined.

  11. Karen Walker permalink
    September 3, 2016 2:31 pm

    The Chinese government simply announced that they agreed to “review” the “proposal” to ratify the Paris agreement. This means absolutely nothing and was just a crumb thrown to Obama to make him look good coming home from the summit. Stupid, stupid journalists just trying their best to spin a climate change story. And stupid, stupid people for actually thinking the Chinese would ever agree to, or act on, any “green” measures supposedly designed to control the worldwide weather. But the Chinese will gladly keep selling solar panels, wind mill components, etc… to the western governments. It would all be too funny except for the fact that it will eventually cause grievous financial harm to the taxpayers in developed nations.

    • September 3, 2016 3:27 pm

      The media all say “ratified” surely it’s not just reviewing the agreement ?
      verb :sign or give formal consent to (a treaty, contract, or agreement), making it officially valid.”

      @PaulH points out that there is no obligation other than
      >>to submit new nationally determined contribution every five years, provision of “support” (unquantified) to developing countries, and stocktaking of GHGs every five years.<<

      • September 3, 2016 4:44 pm

        They like to say ‘ratify’ to make it sound legal, but it’s NOT a treaty and has no legal force, as has been pointed out by a leading US Senator.

      • September 3, 2016 8:39 pm

        “has no legal force” not sure about that.
        Inhofe just points out it’s not a treaty just a President level “agreement” and that Obama can’t enforce it . That doesn’t mean he’s not in breach if he and successors fail to set Climate Targets. Don’t know if there’s a punishment tho.

  12. Edmonton Al permalink
    September 3, 2016 4:50 pm

    There is no proof that CO2 causes global warming.
    Try this:

  13. September 3, 2016 5:17 pm

    It will be very interesting to see if Ron Clutz is right and the focus is subtly changed to carbon dioxide targets or even softer carbon emissions. A nice escape from the lack of significant global warming above the slowly rising general background trend.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 3, 2016 5:53 pm

      Christina Figueres was entirely clear that the purpose of the IPCC is purely political and nothing to do with climate realities:

      This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.

  14. Broadlands permalink
    September 3, 2016 6:05 pm

    Do the world leaders really understand what it is they are urging, mandating? seven billion people to do?

    The CDIAC estimates ONE ppm at 2.13 X1015 grams, 2.23 PgC, = 2.13 BILLION metric tons.

    “Each ppmv represents 2.13 X1015 grams, or 2.13 petagrams of carbon (PgC) in the atmosphere. “

    This is an enormous amount of carbon. Starting tomorrow, Even if state-of-the-art carbon capture could store, globally, 100 million tons of CO2 every year, it would take over 20 years to accomplish removing one ppm. And to get back to a “safe” 350 ppm… remove 50 ppm. 1000 years.

    And that assumes no added emissions from a growing number of “carbon feet”…solar and wind feet?

    Someone please check the math and the conversions.

  15. Billy Liar permalink
    September 3, 2016 6:57 pm

    Apparently, ratification applies in contract law, international treaties and constitutions in federations.

    It would appear to be an incorrect term to apply to a non-binding agreement. Maybe this should be pointed out to the BBC and their execrable reporter.

    The whole business looks like showboating by Obama to make him feel he’s actually achieved something other than improving his handicap over the last 8 years.

    ‘moment we decided to save our planet’ – yeah, right.

    • September 3, 2016 8:05 pm

      More of a photo opportunity than anything else.

  16. September 4, 2016 12:02 pm

    The Galileo Movement 13 hrs ·
    “Today, Obama signed the Paris Climate Agreement even though the Republican controlled Congress will not give him the approval or budget to implement the agreement.
    Simultaneously, China who won’t stop their growth of CO2 emissions until 2035 and have plans for over 1000+ new coal power plants also signed the Paris Climate Agreement.
    Just sayin’ “

  17. yippiy permalink
    September 6, 2016 9:15 am

    The article states:- “The country (China) is the world’s largest emitter of harmful CO2 emissions, which cause climate change”

    Would somebody please tell me which country is the largest emitter of beneficial CO2 emissions?


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