From the Manhattan Contrarian
As a basic starting point, I suggest that on any story of political importance in the New York Times, the truth is probably exactly the opposite of what they report. Consider that lead story on the front page of yesterday’s Sunday print edition: “World Leaders Move Forward on Climate Change, Without U.S.” Scary! The U.S. is getting completely isolated from the world community!
In a final communiqué at the conclusion of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, the nations took “note” of Mr. Trump’s decision to abandon the pact and “immediately cease” efforts to enact former President Barack Obama’s pledge of curbing greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. But the other 19 members of the group broke explicitly with Mr. Trump in their embrace of the international deal, signing off on a detailed policy blueprint outlining how their countries could meet their goals in the pact.
You can definitely count on Pravda not to look into what these other 19 countries have promised to do and let you know if there is any substance to it. So the hard work falls once again to the Manhattan Contrarian. If you just Google the letters “INDC” (“Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”) along with the name of a country, you can find out exactly what that country has promised to do as part of the Paris Agreement. So let’s take a look at what a few of the big countries are up to.
- China. We already know that answer from my post just last week. China, through its companies, is planning to build over the course of the next decade or so well more than double the number of coal power plants that the U.S. has today. Its INDC calls for its proceeding to increase carbon emissions as much as it wants through 2030, and only then (when everyone in China presumably has electricity and a couple of cars) to level things off. By that time its emissions will probably be at least triple those of the U.S.
- India. India’s INDC openly admits that it intends to increase its electricity supply by more than triple between now and 2030, with no commitment whatsoever as to how much of that will come from fossil fuels. Oh, they say that they plan to lower the “emissions intensity” of their energy generation, and greatly expand (useless) wind and solar capacity, as well as nuclear. Whoopee!
- Indonesia. These things get more comical the more of them you read. The first thing you learn in reading Indonesia’s INDC is that the large majority of its emissions come from burning down the rain forest (“most emissions (63%) are the result of land use change and peat and forest fires”) and very little from using fossil fuels for energy (“fossil fuels contribute[e] approximately 19% of total emissions”). So they’ll promise to burn down less of the rain forest, and nothing whatsoever as to reducing use of fossil fuels for energy. Their (completely illusory) “reduction target” of 29% by 2030 is not against a fixed amount of past usage (like the United States’ benchmark of 2005 emissions), but rather is against what they call a “business as usual” scenario of projected future emissions that are a multiple of today’s.
- Russia. What, you didn’t know that Russia was a member of the G20? What is the chance that Russia would make an honest promise about emissions reductions? Their INDC calls for reducing emissions by 25-30% below 1990 by 2030. Impressive! Wait a minute! The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Then they closed down all that inefficient Soviet industry. According to a graph at Climate Action Tracker here, by 2000 their emissions were down by almost 40% from the 1990 level, and they have only crept up a little from there since. In other words, Russia’s supposed “commitments” again represent increases from today’s level of emissions. Yet another total scam.
- Germany. Germany is part of the supposed EU commitment to reduce emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Oh, but now that Germany has gotten its electricity production from renewables up to about 30%, it seems that it has hit a wall, and its carbon emissions have actually gone up for both of the last two years (2015 and 2016), according to Clean Energy Wire. Exactly how do they plan to meet their goal? Excellent question.