CO2 emissions – China is the big hockey stick in the room

China’s CO2 emission in millions of metric tons from 1980 to 2009:

Source, EIA: http://www.eia.gov/countries/img/charts_png/CH_co2con_img.png

From Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: Atmospheric scientists release first “bottom-up” estimates of China’s CO2 emissions

Estimates capitalize on instrumental measurements of CO2 in smokestacks and pollutants in the air by satellites and surface stations

Cambridge, Mass. – July 6, 2012 – Atmospheric scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Nanjing University have produced the first “bottom-up” estimates of China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, for 2005 to 2009, and the first statistically rigorous estimates of the uncertainties surrounding China’s CO2 emissions.

The independent estimates, rooted in part in measurements of pollutants both at the sources and in the air, may be the most accurate totals to date. The resulting figures offer an unbiased basis on which China might measure its progress toward its well-publicized CO2 control goals.

The findings were published July 4 in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

“China’s emissions of CO2 are of central concern in efforts to combat global climate change,” says lead author Yu Zhao, a former postdoctoral researcher at Harvard SEAS who is now a professor at the Nanjing University School of Environment in China. “But despite all of the attention to China’s CO2 emissions, they’re less well quantified than most people realize.”

Existing estimates for these emissions are calculated “top-down,” based on annual energy statistics that are released by the Chinese government. The nation has only once officially estimated its CO2 emissions, based on national energy statistics from 1994, although it is now constructing a data system to produce periodic national greenhouse gas inventories. Non-Chinese organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the Netherlands Environment Agency, produce widely cited CO2 estimates for China (among other countries), but these are also based on the national energy data.

A study published last month by a China–U.K.–U.S. team in Nature Climate Change spotlighted a large disparity in estimates of Chinese CO2 emissions when the numbers were based on national energy statistics versus summed provincial data. To illustrate the contrast, those researchers had applied a standardized U.N. protocol for estimating the emissions of any developing country by sector.

The new Harvard–Nanjing study goes deeper, however, constructing a “bottom-up” emission inventory that is specific to China’s energy and technology mix. It combines the results of Chinese field studies of CO2 emissions from diverse combustion processes with a plant-by-plant data set for power generation, independent research on transportation and rural biomass use, and provincial-level energy statistics for the remaining sectors.

The Harvard-Nanjing team believes provincial energy data to be more accurate than national statistics because the provincial data have been empirically tested in peer-reviewed atmospheric studies that compare the expected emissions of conventional air pollutants to actual instrumental observations by satellites and ground stations. Provincial statistics also take into account the large quantities of coal produced by small, illegal mines.

“There are several different ways to estimate emissions of greenhouse gases or air pollutants, from those designed to support policy processes to those made by scientists researching atmospheric transport and chemistry,” explains co-author Chris Nielsen, Executive Director of the Harvard China Project, which is based at SEAS.

The former methods suit the needs of policy, attributing emissions to identifiable sources for actionable controls, but the latter are often more environmentally accurate, according to Nielsen.

“The methods used by atmospheric scientists can be more complete, incorporating new research on dispersed sources that are poorly represented in official statistics or weakly targeted by policy—such as the burning of crop wastes in fields or biofuels in poor, rural homes,” Nielsen explains. “The data are also more detailed in spatial terms. This allows a comparison of emission estimates to the pollution levels measured at the surface, or from space, testing the underlying energy data in the process.”

The new study capitalizes on prior tests and a bottom-up data framework that has been demonstrated for conventional air pollutants to produce a more thorough estimate of China’s CO2 emissions.

The new study also quantifies the uncertainty of the emission totals, applying formal statistical methods. For instance, the team found that the 95% confidence interval for the 2005 CO2 estimate lies between −9% and +11% of the central value. This relatively wide range means that measuring China’s achievement of its national CO2 control targets may be more difficult—and potentially more contentious—than generally recognized by Chinese and international policy actors.

“The levels of uncertainty indicate that Chinese domestic frameworks to set control targets for CO2 emissions at scales larger than individual factories, such as provinces or sectors, may reflect unwarranted confidence in the measurability and verifiability of the impacts of policy interventions,” says senior author Michael B. McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at SEAS.

“Such levels of uncertainty aren’t unique to China among developing and emerging economies,” Zhao cautions. “All have less-developed data systems than those that have been built up over decades to serve energy markets and environmental regulation in the United States and other industrialized countries. It’s critical that international agreements to limit CO2 emissions recognize these differences in national data conditions.”

Beyond the policy implications, the availability of accurate estimates of China’s CO2 emissions (and the related uncertainties in the data) can improve scientists’ understanding of the global carbon cycle and the physical processes driving global climate change.

The work was funded by the National Science Foundation.

==============================================================

I look forward to Bill McKibben and James Hansen going to China to protest in the streets.

[UPDATE] I trust that Anthony won’t mind if I add a comment here.

I’d seen this before, and thought “What’s the big deal”? It didn’t seem much different from what I’d read about before.

So I’ve graphed up the old data from the CDIAC, and compared it to the New! Improved! graph at the top of the page … here’s the result:

I gotta say, the Harvard guys are making a mountain out of a molehill. To read their puff piece, they’ve made huge strides in measuring Chinese emissions, but in fact the old method gives just about the same answer … which is that the Chinese are crushing the competition in the CO2 sweepstakes.

I’ve included the US emissions, because they show a very important point. If we were able somehow magically to reduce our emissions to their 1980 levels, that reduction would be offset by the Chinese gains in one single year. In other words, what the US does is meaningless in global terms.

w.

55 thoughts on “CO2 emissions – China is the big hockey stick in the room

  1. I remember that a few years ago the EU was all worried about that and told China and India to not produce so much CO2. Both basically told the EU to get lost.

    Personally, I think this is all politically motivated. Even the hint of a pan-Asian economic zone frightens the hell out of the EU. That is such a huge market, the EU could never compete. So the best way to prevent such a giant is to make sure those countries remain undeveloped. China and India may produce a lot of CO2 now, but they develop, and the higher they develop the better the tech becomes and this is exactly what certain people don’t want. Goes hand in hand, of course, with the current trend of demonizing electricity and modern technology and inventing the “sustainability” fairy tale.

    The zone will come anyway. South Korea and Japan are getting closer. Japan has been snuggling up to China as well and has been working on India too. It will happen, it’s pretty much inevitable and no “omg! CO2!” screaming will prevent it.

  2. At least one country is releasing more plant food into the air. Plants in drought and under heat stress need more CO2 to survive. There would appear to be no downside to release of CO2 as its atmospheric concentration has continued to rise while the ‘global heat content’ would appear to be static if not falling for the last 15 years.

  3. “I look forward to Bill McKibben and James Hansen going to China to protest in the streets.”

    Oh Please, Oh Please! can we start a fund to buy them one way tickets to their personal “Land of Eden” where Totalitarian Marxism hold sway?

    Security forces opened fire on Tibetan protesters in western China on Monday, wounding at least 32 people and killing at least one of them in the largest violent confrontation in ethnic Tibetan areas of China since 2008… link

    It would be interesting to hear what Hansen says about why he is NOT over there protesting…..

  4. I look forward to Bill McKibben and James Hansen going to China to protest in the streets.
    ===========
    Chinese CO2 production shows the amount of industry (and jobs and wealth) that have moved from the developed world to China. It also shows that regulation has not reduced CO2 production, it has simply moved the source, and created economic hardship for displaced workers.

    Consider for example what is happening in Australia. They have introduced a tax on CO2, which will reduce coal use in Australia. This will reduce the price of coal in Australia. China will benefit greatly from this, as it will make Australian coal exports to China that much cheaper. The coal the Australians are not using will then be available for the Chinese at a lower price.

    The net effect? The Australians will be paying a tax that will make everything made in Australia more expensive and therefore less competitive, which will result in job losses in Australia. While at the same time driving down the price of energy in China, making Chinese exports to Australia that much more competitive, further increasing job losses in Australia.

    And the CO2 reduction in Australia? This will be mirrored by a CO2 increases in China, which may exceed the CO2 reduction, depending on the relative efficiency of Australian versus Chinese coal plants. The net result, less jobs in Australia with no overall change in CO2 worldwide.

    It almost makes one wonder if the Australian government is being paid by the Chinese to enact these policies. They certainly appear to benefit China at the expense of Australia. All paid for by the Australian taxpayers.

  5. No worries, folks – the carbon tax the Aussies have imposed on themselves, and none too late I might add, will right this and the globe will be down to levels of CO2 not seen in 200 years before you know it.

  6. What are they trying to do……………..feed the world by feeding the worlds plants????
    sarc/off

    Co2 is irrelevant but if you believed the AGW theory, and nobody does lets face it, this would be the seed for war. would it not?? It’s not a seed for war because the theory of AGW is laughable and only, it turns out, to be a schaudenfraud scheme (‘scuse my German!).

  7. “CO2 emissions – China is the big hockey stick in the room”

    No China is the big elephant in the room. Bill McKibben knows that China will not reduce its emissions in the forthcoming decades. They will only go up and expected to peak somewhere in the 2030s or so.

  8. Remember when you were a little kid and mom said “Clean your plate, sweetheart. There are kids starving in China.”

    … Now, it’s “Don’t make all that CO2, sweetheart, there’s kids in China that need to burn through their carbon credits that you’ve subsidized.”

  9. Should “China’s CO2 emission per millions …” be “China’s CO2 emission: millions …”

    It will be interesting when (if) USA falles into second place on CO2 per capita emissions.

  10. “China’s CO2 emission per millions of metric tons from 1980 to 2009…”
    ======================================================
    Apparently the Chinese government is less stupid than the ones of the western countries.

  11. I look forward to Bill McKibben and James Hansen going to China to protest in the streets.
    =============================================================
    A few years in a Chinese prison would do good those guys.

    I suggest other climate “scientist” join them.

  12. Is it me or did China manage to hit exactly 1ppm (= 7,76 gigatons CO2) in 2009.
    Should we shout “BINGO” or something !

  13. I look forward to Bill McKibben and James Hansen going to China to protest in the streets.

    Give it a few days — somebody’s gonna claim that’s a death threat…

  14. Anthony – first quarter 2012 CO2 emissions reported by the EIA shows the USA at 1990 emissions levels and on track to end 2012 to be 14% below 2006 emissions. Recall that Waxman-Markey 2020 target for cap and trade reduction was 17% which may be reached by the USA at the end of 2013 without cap and trade or a carbon tax. Does anyone see McKibben saying anything good about the USA success at lowering CO2 levels? Of course not because he is a transnational progressive that will never be happy with USA emissions reductions unless it involves the USA ceding sovereignty to the UN or to the NGOs that fund and/or support him. McKibben is an anti-industrial Luddite that wants everyone to go back to basket weaving and live in a tent like him. It seems to me that his missing the 1960s cultural revolution left him wanting to be politically and socially relevant and he suffers from a desire to relive the past in hopes of becoming relevant in this modern world. He will sit on his hands as China continues its growth of CO2 emissions to 20 Gt/year and only spend time condemning the people of the USA. He is no a climate hawk but a climate chicken-little hawk that doesn’t like the USA.

  15. “China is the big hockey stick in the room”

    Looks more like a boomerang to me! :)

  16. If you are concerned about China’s co2 emissions you will be happy to learn that China is developing LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactor) technology with the help of the DOE. LFTR has been previously reported and discussed on WUWT .

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=lftr

    “The U.S. Department of Energy is quietly collaborating with China on an alternative nuclear power design known as a molten salt reactor that could run on thorium fuel rather than on more hazardous uranium, SmartPlanet understands.”

    “Proponents of thorium MSRs, also known as liquid thorium reactors or sometimes as liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs), say the devices beat conventional solid fuel uranium reactors in all aspects including safety, efficiency, waste and peaceful implications.”

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/us-partners-with-china-on-new-nuclear/17037

    “China has officially announced it will launch a program to develop a thorium-fueled molten-salt nuclear reactor, taking a crucial step towards shifting to nuclear power as a primary energy source.

    The project was unveiled at the annual Chinese Academy of Sciences conference in Shanghai last week, and reported in the Wen Hui Bao newspaper (Google English translation here).

    If the reactor works as planned, China may fulfill a long-delayed dream of clean nuclear energy. The United States could conceivably become dependent on China for next-generation nuclear technology. At the least, the United States could fall dramatically behind in developing green energy.”

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/china-thorium-power/

  17. It seems like the goal of keeping the increase in CO2 levels down isn’t working all that well from a global perspective. So if the theory is correct about global warming we (as in the USofA, CA, me) had best look into the resources mix for adaption vs. mitigation.

    That is, I need to focus more of my resources on adaption. It is unlikely that my state- CA- is willing to rebalance their investment mix.

  18. “Carbon dioxide emissions by consumption”

    Wow, can you imagine what this graph would look like if people in Africa or even North Korea would get electricity, street light, clean water and transportation. We would see a freakin’ Carpenter’s Square…

  19. The whole idea proposed by the UN — that the West owes some kind of historical “climate debt” because our economies developed earlier is completely destroyed by this graph. For example, those of us in Canada need to realize that over the next 10 years, China will emit more CO2 than Canada has over the course of its entire history. Yet, we are seen as climate sinners who must pay “climate indulgences” to China to remove the stain of our guilt.

    Ri-ight.

  20. McKibben wrote a report from China for National Geographic a few months ago. He tried to make the best of it, but he acknowledged it was pretty bad. Lots of nasty photos.

  21. I’d love to see a part 2 of this article. In part 2, compare the increase of China’s emissions with that of the cuts in emissions from other countries. The graph would have 2 lines, total emissions with cuts and total emissions without cuts. I’m willing to bet that the difference is something of a joke.

  22. So how do Warmists deal with this disturbing information? Two ways. The first by the authors themselves:

    “The authors suggest part of the problem is provincial politicians boosting their GDP numbers, and so their emissions too, in order to win promotions in a system where economic growth is the main criterion of success.”

    http://www.economist.com/node/21557366

    Sound a little weak? In the same study that quotes a national Chinese official as saying that while the national government can get a handle on the volume of large and medium firm emissions, it is simply impossible for it to get figures on the millions of small enterprises?
    I say it is far more likely that ALL the emissions are understated as the official hints.

    And then there is the cause and solution approach.

    “Is the West responsible for China’s CO2 emissions?”
    “So enough with the China bashing. Let’s think about who really is to blame.

    As importers and consumers, if we demand certain product standards, shouldn’t we pay the extra costs incurred to meet those standards? Shouldn’t international attempts to curb emissions focus more on where goods are consumed, rather than where they are produced? Dieter Helm has suggested that measures such as a border tax on carbon transfer could be used to ensure that net importers are offered incentives to cut emissions from products manufactured overseas.”

    http://inspiredeconomist.com/2009/03/26/is-the-west-responsible-for-chinas-co2-emissions/

    I want to know when they started giving out doctorates in stupidity.

  23. “I look forward to Bill McKibben and James Hansen going to China to protest in the streets.”

    China would just go tell them to pound sand. They know it isn’t profitable to tell China reduce their pollution nor will they get special favors from the government. The day the team can get money or power from the Chinese people or government is the day they will go to China and tell them to repent of their ways. It is no coincidence that the countries the team preach in is the same countries that treat them like gods and keep them living in luxury.

  24. Bob Diaz says: “I’d love to see a part 2 of this article. In part 2, compare the increase of China’s emissions with that of the cuts in emissions from other countries. The graph would have 2 lines, total emissions with cuts and total emissions without cuts. I’m willing to bet that the difference is something of a joke.”

    Here is some data- Kumar Venkat recently had an article/post about “When Emissions Are Outsourced” http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/03/20/when-emissions-are-outsourced/

    …………”When production is outsourced to developing countries, developed countries see relative stability in their territorial emissions, which are emissions produced within their geographical boundaries. But in reality, emissions are relocated to the developing world and outsourced along with the production. When finished products are delivered to consumers, those emissions are embodied in the products but are not attributed to those consuming the products. The reporting protocols today are designed for territorial emissions, so outsourced emissions remain entirely with countries that produce goods and services for export.
    This is similar to companies reporting only their scope 1 and 2 emissions and taking no responsibility for scope 3 emissions. At a minimum, developed countries see a highly skewed picture of their own emissions. While it may appear that their absolute emissions are stabilizing, consumption-based accounting shows that emissions have actually increased significantly and more than wiped out the reductions made under the Kyoto Protocol.

    The chart below (from Peters et al. in Nature Climate Change) captures the net effect of international trade and shows how consumption-based emissions have increased much more rapidly than the production-based territorial emissions for developed countries.”………………….

  25. I have noticed that CDIAC still have not updated their CO2 numbers. The latest figures are for 2008, which was the situation well over a year ago. They have guesstimates for 2009 and 2010, but again these have been on the system since last year.

    Have they lost interest or are the Chinese and co being uncooperative in providing data?

  26. It is the US that gift wrapped and delivered the manufacturing capability, intellectual property and market from the US to communist China and Democratic government of India. Obviously no one thought they would be more interested in profits than global warming. Go figure.

  27. China is having real economic growth. In recent times, U.S. economic growth unfortunately largely consists of inflating the money supply while in official figures underestimating inflation (contrast to what is seen in food prices, etc.) so as to have pseudo-growth in official “real GDP” as well as nominal GDP; by a more true metric like the actual ratio of the cost of living expenses (predominantly physical goods, from residences to food) to salaries, we’ve been treading water for a long time. More than most of our government, the Chinese tend to understand that increase in prosperity requires increase in physical output.

  28. pat says:
    July 6, 2012 at 10:01 am
    I want to know when they started giving out doctorates in stupidity.
    ===============================================
    Well, apparently long ago. There is an interesting story about the discovery of non-existing N-rays by a famous scientist. Note that more then 100 (!) scientific papers were published on the N-rays before the notion was debunked by the same American professor who later also debunked the AGW notion of warming by “trapped radiation” (1909!). Here is the story: http://www.scribd.com/doc/62514617/Fakebusters-II (page 14 of the document).

  29. Who remembers the ‘china blip’?
    Among the graphs, some of these disappeared, one is in SCIENCE VOL 319 4 JANUARY 2008 37
    Who believes that in 5 years china’s GDP increased by +- 35% (1995 to 2000) while keeping their carbon emissions constant?

  30. You want to know why China has a big hockey stick? Here’s the answer.

    Take a look at the following link from the Federal Reserve, it shows the largest ever drop in manufacturing jobs which started near the end of 2000.

    What happened near the end of 2000? Clinton and the Republican congress gave China PNTR and the result has been millions of manufacturing jobs sent from the US to China (and other countries). Even Senator Joe Lieberman noticed this when he released a report on offshoring a few years later that said “since 2000, we have lost 2.7 million manufacturing jobs, of which over 500,000 were in high tech industries characterized by large R&D investment-to-sales ratios.”

    The offshoring was so damaging that only121,000 private sector jobs were created in the 00s.

    One study showed that when a GM Factory With 2,100 Workers Closed, 33,000 Other People Lost Their Jobs — Impacting 120,000

    Why didn’t more people spot this?
    Because it was hidden by the rising prices of real estate that resulted in many people using their house to buy things which spurred the economy.

    Interestingly, Clinton and the DNC took illegal contributions from the Communist Chinese government in the mid ’90’s. Naturally, Clinton has said that the illegal contributions did not influence foreign policy. — But that’s not how politics works in Washington D.C.

  31. I would like to see a graphical depiction of the estimated China emission total compared with the US emissions per the EIA. I hope this can be presented in WUWT.

  32. It is obvious that the warmists are barking up the wrong tree when they go after domestic coal when they should in fact go after Wal-Mart et al.

    Of course that would require a bigger pair of balls because consumers would tell them to suck their hand-woven hemp shirts and driftwood-carved toys.

  33. So let me get this straight. What I take away from recent WUWT posts is as follows: The world isn’t warming, but if it were, it’s a natural cycle anyway (or the sun, or – god help – us the planets), but if the warming were being caused by CO2, then it isn’t happening fast enough to be of any concern and/or it’s all happened before (and CO2 is plant food and warming is probably desirable), but if that weren’t true and there really was a problem, then it’s all China’s fault, not the USA’s, so there’s no point in anyone in the USA doing anything about it, because if they did, it would destroy the economy and standards of living would revert to the stone age.

    Is that about right?

    Sorry, I used to think there was some genuine scepticism at this site, but it’s recently all got really quite ridiculous, and the underlying political stance is increasingly clear. Whatever the science and the facts actually say, AGW can’t be true because we don’t want it to be true.

    I’m assuming that I have now forfeited my right to post here in the future, but it has to be said. This site is not at all what it was only 3 or 4 years ago.

  34. Nigel Harris says:
    July 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm
    So let me get this straight. What I take away from recent WUWT posts is as follows: The world isn’t warming, but if it were, it’s a natural cycle anyway (or the sun, or – god help – us the planets), but if the warming were being caused by CO2, then it isn’t happening fast enough to be of any concern and/or it’s all happened before (and CO2 is plant food and warming is probably desirable), but if that weren’t true and there really was a problem, then it’s all China’s fault, not the USA’s, so there’s no point in anyone in the USA doing anything about it, because if they did, it would destroy the economy and standards of living would revert to the stone age.
    ==============================================================
    This is not a contradiction, but merely a consequence of the fact, that the AGW concept has so many flaws.

    That is why people can argue that even if there was CO2 induced warming the adaptation would be better then mitigation. Unfortunately, they often forget to use conditional thus causing confusion among sceptics and joy among warmists. But it is still legitimate argumentation if conditional is used.

    Whether the world is warming or not should be considered unknown, because the data available is not sufficient to come to a scientifically proven conclusion. What the warmists do with the data is beyond science, unfortunately. Nevertheless, warming or cooling is possible because of the Sun.

    That CO2 could cause warming is a pure misconception, this idea has already been debunked in 1909. But even if it could it could be beneficial for us. The same goes for cooling, so it is possible to speculate in both directions. Unfortunately warmists like only one direction.

  35. Nigel Harris says:
    July 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    So let me get this straight. What I take away from recent WUWT posts is as follows: The world isn’t warming, …

    I haven’t seen anyone make this claim, so I’d say you are a long, long way from getting this straight.

    … but if it were, it’s a natural cycle anyway (or the sun, or – god help – us the planets), …

    I’d go for “Choice A”, a natural cycle, since it has been warming in fits and starts for about the last 300 years. What do you call a 300 year warming, Nigel? AGW?

    … but if the warming were being caused by CO2, then it isn’t happening fast enough to be of any concern and/or it’s all happened before (and CO2 is plant food and warming is probably desirable),

    At the moment, statistically the warming is indistinguishable from zero for the last 15 years. And in fact, it has happened before, the warming from say 1978-1998 is statistically indistinguishable from the warming 1920-1940 … which is very good evidence that it is not due to CO2.

    In addition, I suspect that even you would agree that CO2 is indeed plant food.

    Next, warming is likely to be of overall net benefit, as it has been in the past. You seem to be claiming that a couple of degrees of warming will be catastrophic, but we’ve warmed that much (according to the BEST data) in the last 200 years … perhaps you could point out the huge catastrophes resulting from that warming for us?

    … but if that weren’t true and there really was a problem, then it’s all China’s fault, not the USA’s,

    Whether there is or is not a problem, the reality is that the increase in China’s emissions of CO2 dwarf the increase of the US emissions. I commented on this above, but I didn’t say it was “China’s fault”, that’s your poor reading skills raising their head again.

    … so there’s no point in anyone in the USA doing anything about it,

    There’s no point in the US doing anything, either with or without China in the picture. For example, the recently imposed EPA regulations are estimated by the EPA themselves as follows:

    Based on the reanalysis the results for projected atmospheric CO2 concentrations are estimated to be reduced by an average of 2.9 ppm (previously 3.0 ppm), global mean temperature is estimated to be reduced by 0.006 to 0.0015 °C by 2100.

    SOURCE

    … if you know that and still think there’s some point in the US “doing anything about it”, you’ve lost the plot entirely.

    … because if they did, it would destroy the economy and standards of living would revert to the stone age.

    Again, I know of no one making that claim but you. It would certainly cost a huge pile of money, EPA estimates $78 BILLION PER YEAR for their regulations, but likely that would not “destroy the economy” (whatever that means) or make us revert to the stone age. YOU are the only one making those claims.

    Sorry, I used to think there was some genuine scepticism at this site, but it’s recently all got really quite ridiculous, and the underlying political stance is increasingly clear. Whatever the science and the facts actually say, AGW can’t be true because we don’t want it to be true.

    That’s your fantasy, Nigel, and I wish you the joy of it. In fact, there is no unified stance here, political or otherwise. Me, I doubt that AGW is true because there is precious little evidence to support it. But if the facts change, I’ll change my opinion.

    I’m assuming that I have now forfeited my right to post here in the future, but it has to be said. This site is not at all what it was only 3 or 4 years ago.

    No, you haven’t “forfeited [your] right to post here in the future”, you must be confusing us with RealClimate or Open Mind or one of those censorious sites.

    All you’ve done with your rant is shown that you have a large chip on your shoulder and a definite political stance that you think everyone should share. Oh, and your ridiculous and fatuous claims have likely convinced people that your opinion is worthless. So while you’re welcome to continue to post, don’t be surprised if people pay no attention to your smashingly profound insights.

    w.

  36. “I look forward to Bill McKibben and James Hansen going to China to protest in the streets.”
    ———
    How about Maurice Strong start that ball rolling. Isn’t he already hiding out over there?

  37. If you believe the utterances of one Mr J Hansen, China’s SO2 emissions are SAVING the world from global warming since 2000.

  38. ” … what the US does is meaningless in global terms.” Of course Australia’s new $23 per tonne carbon tax will make a world of difference … to Australian businesses.

  39. Hmmm, 10 trillion tonnes per real soon.

    There was a recent post on WUWT on record coal aerosol pollution in china. Visibility was down to 200 meters. I calculated the volume fraction of the aerosols from the figures given in the linked news paper article. Seems it was very similar to the volume fraction of CO2 in the global atmosphere.

    Explains why you can’t see the surface of western china from space. Also explains why you cant see the surface of the earth from space at thermal IR wavelengths.

    Have a good day.

  40. In the update, there’s a sentence which reads:

    So I’ve graphed up the old data from the CDIAC, and compared it to the New! Improved! graph at the top of the page … here’s the result:

    The link that is accessed by clicking on “CDIAC” goes to “404 Not Found”. The “Not Found” page says they are reorganizing their website and changing file extensions from “htm” to “html”. When I added a lower-case “L” to the end of the file extension, I reached a page titled “Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions”.

    So the link should be: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/meth_reg.html.

    [Thanks, fixed. -w.]

  41. Simple economic justice requires, at least from the graph, that the rapacious US has had at least 20 years of excessive CO2 than China; so China should be allowed such latitude. Too most of the emissions in China are for producing goods for the lazy Amerikans. /sarc

  42. Willis,

    Thanks for your reply to my “rant”. You claim my post demonstrates a definite political stance (and that I think everyone should share it). I think you’re mistaking me for someone more like yourself.

    I am a former scientist, with a Ph.D in molecular genetics. What I care about is science and facts. And (despite some deplorable behaviour, unwarranted alarmism and outright crackpot views displayed by some “warmers”) it is a fact that CO2 is a GHG and that human activity is emitting enough of it to make a difference to the earth’s radiative energy balance and (despite all the efforts taken at WUWT to show how any individual weather event can’t be directly attributed to global warming) it is clear that this is already having undesirable consequences. How severe the eventual consequences might be is unclear (and highly deserving of further research), but it doesn’t look good.

    The other inconvenient truth (to borrow a very apt phrase) is that we only have one planet to live on, and unless we have fundamentally misunderstood the laws of physics there is no practical possibility of humanity establishing itself elsewhere within the next hundred thousand years or so.

    In the circumstances, the actions that might or might not be appropriate for individuals or governments to take is a hugely important issue and should be fully and extensively debated.

    But you can’t legitimately argue that because certain proposed actions that might be taken because of (or in the name of) AGW are economically or politically undesirable, the underlying facts and science of AGW must be wrong. And that is, I’m afraid, the argument I see being made loud and clear all the time on WUWT. Maybe I’m reading more of this in the comment threads than in the main posts, but it is very clearly present here. Such comments are almost never treated with the approach that genuine scientific scepticism would suggest.

    As for my political views, I believe that, if humanity is to survive, it must do so within the constraints of the finite system we inhabit. That, as far as I am concerned, is not a political belief, but merely a statement of fact. Politically, I’d say my beliefs are that (a) the continued existence of humanity is highly desirable, and (b) it would be unacceptable to kill off (say) 6 billion people in order to allow the remaining 1 billion to enjoy a way of life that involves using rather more than one seven-billionth of the sustainable level of resources per person.

  43. Nigel Harris says:
    July 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Willis,

    Thanks for your reply to my “rant”. You claim my post demonstrates a definite political stance (and that I think everyone should share it). I think you’re mistaking me for someone more like yourself.

    I’ll leave that without comment and let the readers decide.

    I am a former scientist, with a Ph.D in molecular genetics. What I care about is science and facts. And (despite some deplorable behaviour, unwarranted alarmism and outright crackpot views displayed by some “warmers”) it is a fact that CO2 is a GHG and that human activity is emitting enough of it to make a difference to the earth’s radiative energy balance and (despite all the efforts taken at WUWT to show how any individual weather event can’t be directly attributed to global warming) it is clear that this is already having undesirable consequences. How severe the eventual consequences might be is unclear (and highly deserving of further research), but it doesn’t look good.

    Nigel, thanks for your reply. You are a scientist and you say that what you care about are facts. So why are you bothering us with uncited, unsupported, unverified claims?

    For example, you say regarding CO2 that “it is clear that this is already having undesirable consequences.” Unfortunately, that is not clear at all, and is not even remotely supported by the evidence. While it might work elsewhere, if you wish to make such claims here, I fear you’ll have to provide more than your opinion. You’ll have to provide observational, factual evidence for your opinion. Not guesses. Not passionate statements. Not political opinions. Not computer model results. Evidence.

    The other inconvenient truth (to borrow a very apt phrase) is that we only have one planet to live on, and unless we have fundamentally misunderstood the laws of physics there is no practical possibility of humanity establishing itself elsewhere within the next hundred thousand years or so.

    Oh, please, now you can see a hundred thousand years into the future?

    We could assuredly terraform Mars in that time, or mine the asteroids and set up space colonies. I understand and agree with your underlying point, that at present we only have one planet to live on and we need to take care of it … but making a hundred thousand year forecast is about as far from science as a molecular geneticist might get. We have no clue what might be possible by then.

    In the circumstances, the actions that might or might not be appropriate for individuals or governments to take is a hugely important issue and should be fully and extensively debated.

    Agreed.

    But you can’t legitimately argue that because certain proposed actions that might be taken because of (or in the name of) AGW are economically or politically undesirable, the underlying facts and science of AGW must be wrong. And that is, I’m afraid, the argument I see being made loud and clear all the time on WUWT.

    I’d have to see a citation for someone here saying that. Seriously, I don’t see anyone making that claim, that because the economics of carbon mitigation suck so badly, the science must be wrong. Evidence, Nigel, evidence.

    Maybe I’m reading more of this in the comment threads than in the main posts, but it is very clearly present here. Such comments are almost never treated with the approach that genuine scientific scepticism would suggest.

    Perhaps there are some loonies making that claim in the comments, although I’ve not seen them. If there are such comments, I wouldn’t treat them “with the approach that genuine scientific scepticism would suggest”. I’d ignore them as beyond the event horizon of the black hole of stupidity, from which no one returns, and not worth wasting one second of my time on. If you want to fight them, be my guest …

    As for my political views, I believe that, if humanity is to survive, it must do so within the constraints of the finite system we inhabit. That, as far as I am concerned, is not a political belief, but merely a statement of fact. Politically, I’d say my beliefs are that (a) the continued existence of humanity is highly desirable, and (b) it would be unacceptable to kill off (say) 6 billion people in order to allow the remaining 1 billion to enjoy a way of life that involves using rather more than one seven-billionth of the sustainable level of resources per person.

    “Sustainable level of resources”? You’ll first have to define that term for me, because as far as I’m concerned, nothing is sustainable.

    Second, “kill off six billion people”? My friend, nobody but AGW supporters are proposing that we kill off six billion people, and not many of them are that far out on the edge. No one here, to my knowledge, has made that claim, so it’s totally unclear what you are referring to.

    Third, fundamentally development is not a matter of resources. It is a matter of energy. Take water as an example, it’s short in many regions, and you’d think that would be an absolute resource limit.

    But Israel gets about a quarter of its fresh water from the ocean, and when it finishes its new desalinization plants, it will be getting more than half of its water from the ocean. How? With energy. Without energy, they’d be dying of dehydration, but with energy, water is endlessly abundant for the Israelis.

    Here’s another example. In the 1930s there was a magnesium crisis, something similar to the “peak oil” nonsense. Everyone was claiming that we’d run out of magnesium very soon. Then some smart chemist invented a way to extract magnesium from sea water … oops, what was a scarce resource being used at what you would call an “unsustainable” level suddenly became overwhelmingly abundant.

    How can a scarce resource become abundant? Energy … without it the magnesium stays locked up in the ocean. With energy, nobody need run short of magnesium until the oceans run dry … you speak of a “sustainable level of resources” as though that were a fixed rate, when in fact how long our resources can sustain us is only limited by energy and human ingenuity.

    Look at natural gas for another example. It was in short supply not many years ago. Then some smart folks figured out how to drill horizontally 3,000 feet under the earth, and now there’s a surfeit of natural gas. Beyond that, there are methane clathrates on most of the continental shelves, an unimaginably huge supply of untapped energy.

    So given all that, what is the “sustainable level” of energy consumption, Nigel?

    The part that the “sustainable resource” folks miss is that in almost all cases, we don’t need the resource itself. We only need what the resource provides, and in almost all cases there are other ways to provide it.

    For example, some years ago I saw an estimate of the amount of copper that it was going to take to provide the world with telephones. It was a horrendously huge number, and the author of the piece was of your opinion, that it would never be possible for everyone on the planet to have the same level of phone service we had in the developed world, because we’d run out of copper long before that.

    Does this argument sound familiar to you? It should, because you made this identical argument above.

    Of course, it was nonsense. Today most of the world has cell phones that run wirelessly, and infinitely more information travels on the finest threads of glass or is moved by satellite than runs through copper … we don’t need the copper, Nigel, we only need the communication. And that is a fundamental error at the base of your needless concern about “sustainable resources”.

    My best to you,

    w.

  44. Nigel said:
    “emitting enough of it to make a difference to the earth’s radiative energy balance ”

    That’s anyother AGW canard, when in fact no such difference has been measured in the many decades of orbital IR observations.
    The CO2 line is no wider and no colder, and as a matter of fact it’s spatial and temporal fluctuations are as nearly as great as those of space-measured air temperature.
    Neither the radiation nor the temperature have been measured as undergoing any long-term global change.
    Evidence, Nigel, evidence, not repetitous factoids spun out of thin air.
    And while we’re at it, the poles are not dying and sea level is not accelerating.
    Is that skeptical enough for you?
    The only thing being denied these days is climate science’s obligation to disprove the null hypothesis of natural variation, which has yet to be done, hockey sticks notwithstanding.

  45. Well, if you close down industrial production in the West, it has to go somewhere. But it went to a nation that does not give a stuff about pollution controls, and so the net result of Green legislation in the West has been to INCREASE world CO2 emissions.

    Great strategy, by the Greens.

    .

  46. Ian W.;
    +2
    The more CO2, the better. The warmer (= warmer winters and high latitudes), the better. Even drastic warming would take ’00s or ‘000s of years to melt Greenland or Antarctica, by which time coping mechanisms will be inconceivably advanced over present day.

    Bring it on! Faster, please!

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