Paris Climate Accord Is A Dead Deal Walking As $100 Billion Climate Fund Disappears
By Paul Homewood
From The American Interest:
Shocking news—the magic $100 billion climate fund appears not to be taking shape! Even optimistic estimates say the fund is $40 billion short, and developing countries say that understates the problem. The Financial Times:
Climate ministers from Europe, India, Brazil and South Africa have gone to Beijing in recent weeks, hoping to sustain momentum from the Paris talks despite the Trump administration’s dismantling of US regulations meant to limit American emissions.
But discussions have quickly run up against the issue of financing. “Developed countries have not met their commitments. In their reports a lot of their commitment is in the form of development aid. That doesn’t meet the commitment to contribute to new funds,” China’s top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, told a briefing on Tuesday. “A lot of countries don’t want to chip in. I said to the European minister: that’s your problem as developed countries. It’s your responsibility to work together and sort it out.”
First world donors have been busily relabeling other foreign aid as contributions to the climate kitty. For developing countries, this is a cheat—they expect $100 billion in new money.
Or, to put it more accurately, they are not nearly stupid and naive enough to believe the lies Western diplomats tell when trying to bamboozle naive green voters at home that they are “Doing Something” about climate change. So they don’t really expect all that money, but hope to use these commitments to pry something out of the West. Also, since the West will certainly default on these bogus commitments, developing countries have all the justification they need to blow off their own commitments when the time comes.
This, one notes, is the house of cards that the last Administration claimed was a big piece of its legacy.
In any case, China, who the clueless Western press has tried to spin as the new hero and leader of the climate movement, is craftily working to widen the north south rift, piously calling on the selfish northern countries to make good on the $100 billion in new money. This failure will, of course, provide China with justification to walk away from any targets it wishes. After all, the West welshed first.
Climate diplomacy has become the leading forum in our time for hypocritical posturing and the politics of pretense. Until the green movement wises up, develops a serious and pragmatic agenda, and pursues a strategically sound political approach, this sorry state of affairs is likely to continue.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that China is busy converting some of their vast coal reserves into oil and gas:
An existing coal conversion plant in Ningdong © Getty
Water-guzzling coal-conversion projects are springing to life in arid western China, setting the stage for the large-scale deployment of what was previously a niche industry.
A three-year downturn in coal prices has revived projects that convert coal to motor fuel, petrochemical feedstock or gas, after many were shelved in 2008 because of concerns about water supply and pollution.
Successful development in China opens the door to the export of coal-intensive technologies, undercutting international efforts to limit emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases.
Coal conversion is not only highly polluting, it also consumes large amounts of water. “It’s certainly something China is focusing on,” said Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the World Coal Association. “As the energy mix diversifies, coal producers are coming under pressure and they are looking at other ways to use coal.”
Chinese coal-conversion projects have been stop-start for years. They are plagued by technical difficulties, billions of dollars in losses and bureaucratic reversals. New coal conversion targets were set in January after Chinese president Xi Jinping endorsed a mammoth coal-to-oil plant in Ningxia, a desert region with some of the world’s richest coal reserves. […]
China’s coal giants want to promote coal conversion overseas, especially as part of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. “We are pushing overseas projects where there are low-cost coal resources,” Mr Zhang said.
Projects that work in China’s state-dominated economy may not be practical elsewhere. Coal conversion has become profitable in China because of an unusual combination of low coal prices relative to state-set gas or petrol prices.
Coal-to-liquids projects normally make economic sense only when oil prices are high or supply is limited. The technology was first developed in Nazi Germany, and commercialised in apartheid-era South Africa.
Natural gas prices are set relatively high in China to justify pipelines running thousands of miles from central Asia to population centres in the east. That gives an opening to gas derived from coal, which is projected to supply 12 per cent of China’s gas consumption by 2020. The switch to gas forms part of Beijing’s Paris agreement pledge for emissions to peak around 2030.