As new summer temperature records are being set and drought and forest fires plague the western states, see here and here, climate alarmists are making lots of noise, see here and here. I have recently argued that both the deniers and alarmists are wrong.
It has recently been reported that the European Union and China are planning sweeping limits on emissions. The EU plan is to increase renewable sources in Europe’s energy mix to 40% in 2030 from 20% today.
China’s plans, however, are designed only to help it attain its previously announced goal (in the 2015 Paris accords) of reaching peak emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2060. The problem is that:
- Worldwide carbon emissions are still growing even though they are shrinking in both the U.S. and Europe (see charts).
- China is still increasing its coal use each year more than the rest of the world combined (see chart).
- Given that the developing world intends to massively increase the use of energy to raise its living standards, it will be virtually impossible to de-fossilize the world economy. Much more feasible it is to de-carbonize by emphasizing carbon capture and storage technology as well as more nuclear energy.
Conclusion. The U.S. can and should provide both technical and moral leadership in reducing global carbon emissions. But we have to be practical about it. It is essential to bring the developing world along with us, especially China, as we continue to reduce our own carbon emissions. This is the only way to actually reduce carbon emissions worldwide and therefore make real progress on this serious problem.
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