Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
California has updated its GHG emissions data for year 2017 showing a decrease of about 5 million metric tons of GHG emissions since 2016.
The results of the states latest emissions assessment exposes significant problems regarding the state’s future and unrealistic emissions reduction goals as well as further establishing the overwhelming irrelevance of the state’s inane “fighting climate change” political propaganda dishonesty.
An L. A. Times article touted the tiny emissions reduction and hinted at future larger problems that lay ahead that are addressed in detail later in this essay.
More significantly based upon year 2017 global energy consumption and emissions data the Democratic Party driven CO2 emissions reduction mandates in California were completely annihilated by huge increased energy use and emissions growth by the world’s developing nations clearly demonstrating these nations sweeping dominance of global energy use and emissions outcomes.
This extraordinary disappointment for California’s climate crusade has occurred despite tens of billions of dollars being filched from the state’s residents through California government politically driven carbon taxes, higher electricity rates and subsidies for renewable energy mandates.
Based upon EIA data California’s energy consumption has declined by about 5.2% since the state started its emissions reduction schemes in 2006 with energy data results through year 2017.
The U.S. and EU have both seen reduced energy consumption during this same period amounting to 2.6% lower energy use in the U.S. and 9.35% lower energy use by the EU between 2006 and 2017.
In sharp contrast to the reduced energy use by the developed nations during this period the world’s developing nations have seen huge increased energy use growth during this period amounting to a whopping 42% increase in consumption.
The EIA graph from their IEO 2017 report clearly illustrates the complete dominance of global energy consumption by the world’s developing nations. The great majority of this energy increase is supplied by fossil fuel energy growth – predominately coal fuel.
China’s energy use increased by a staggering 58% during this period also supplied by increased fossil fuel – primarily coal. The overwhelming use of coal fuel by the developing nations is clearly reflected in the graph below which demonstrates the continued reliance by China and other developing nations on coal fuel both now and in the future.
The developing nations energy consumption in 2017 dominated all global energy consumption and exceeded that of the developed nations by over 41%.
Increased energy use growth by the developing nations is forecast by EIA (use the link under the Publications and Tables window to get to the EIA IEO 2017 report detailed data) to further climb through at least year 2050 with the developing nations energy consumption exceeding that of the developed nations by nearly a factor of two by year 2050.
These huge increased growths in energy consumption have driven resulting CO2 emissions by the world’s developing nations to levels that overwhelming dominating all global CO2 emissions.
California claims that it reduced 2017 GHG emissions by 5 million metric tons from 2016 levels with virtually all of that reduction achieved in the electricity sector.
This amounts to about a 1.2% reduction from its 2016 total GHG emission levels with that reduction on a global scale being an incredibly insignificant and meaningless reduction.
For clarification purposes CO2 represents about 83% of the states GHG total emissions.
This reduction brings California’s total CO2 emissions to 351 million metric tons versus the rapidly growing world’s developing nations 2017 CO2 emissions that totals 20,889 million metric tons with that level of emissions bing 68% higher than all CO2 emissions from the developed nations.
The developing nations CO2 emissions are forecast by EIA to climb through 2050 (use the link under the Publications and Tables window to get to the EIA IEO 2017 detailed data) by an additional 8,770 million metric tons to a total of 29,660 million metric tons with that emissions level being 2.26 times greater than all CO2 emissions from the developed nations forecast in 2050.
The EIA graph of global CO2 emissions from their 2017 IEO report illustrates the overwhelming dominance of the world’s developing nations in controlling global emissions.
California’s CO2 emissions are claimed to have declined by 68.7 million metric since the state’s emissions reduction program began in 2006 through 2017.
However, the world’s developing nations increased their CO2 emissions by an enormous 5,377 million metric tons during this period with this increase clearly demonstrating the astounding insignificance and irrelevance of California’s “fighting climate change” propaganda campaign.
The world’s developed nations have decreased CO2 emissions by 1,153 million metric tons during the period 2006 through 2017 with those reductions overwhelmed by the increased CO2 emissions from the developing nations by some 4,224 million metric tons.
The U.S. CO2 reductions during the 2006 through 2017 period were 757 million metric tons with most of that achieved through increased use of low cost, higher efficiency and reliable natural gas that replaced coal fuel.
China, which California politicians bizarrely characterized as being the state’s partner in “fighting climate change”, increased CO2 emissions during the same time period by over 2,552 million metric tons driven by huge increases in coal fuel use.
In summary global energy and emissions year 2017 data establishes that the world’s developing nations dominant all global energy consumption and emissions present levels with the developed nations having reached relative stability in energy growth.
Additionally future global energy consumption and emissions growth through 2050 will continue to climb ever higher with the developing nations becoming even more dominant in controlling future global energy and emissions outcomes.
The world’s developing nations control present and future global CO2 emissions and completely obliterate emissions reductions from the developed nations.
Furthermore the complete absence of any commitments toward emissions reductions by the developing nations in the inept Paris Agreement establishes that future global emissions will climb significantly upward in concert with growing energy use. The Paris Agreement is simply globally irrelevant.
The UN climate alarmist government propaganda driven campaign to control global energy and emissions future outcomes has failed with this failed reality concealed from the public by alarmist media.
Notwithstanding the complete irrelevance of California’s climate campaign the state’s energy use and emission results through year 2017 driven by its climate alarmist 2006 AB 32 law demonstrate that the state is struggling with trying to achieve emissions reductions across all of its economic sectors.
The electricity sector accounts for less than 15% of California’s total CO2 emissions and yet has contributed more than 61% of California total CO2 emission reductions since 2006 when the state started its phony “fighting climate change” propaganda schemes.
Natural gas fuel provided the electrical energy at 35.6% of the state’s total electricity needs.
Wind and solar provided about 22.6% of the states total electricity.
The state touts that “zero emission” energy resources providing about 50% of California’s total year 2017 electricity but the majority of that energy is from large hydro and nuclear energy resources that the state’s environmentalist and anti-nuclear activists denigrate.
Furthermore large hydro and nuclear energy resources receive no support or backing from California legislature Democratic Party politicians regarding increasing these resources future contributions.
The year 2017 was a good large hydro year for the state but that changed in 2018 that has 30% less large hydro availability than 2017 making additional emissions reductions in 2018 more difficult.
California is still dependent on imported electricity and in 2017 the state imported about 28.4% of its total electricity.
The transportation sector dominated the state’s GHG emissions at just over 40% of total emissions with higher emissions in 2017. Over 90% of the transportation sectors GHG emissions are from passenger and truck vehicles.
For the climate activists that believe EVs represent some possible solution in reducing CO2 emissions in the transportation economic sector it should be noted that EVs are not zero emission vehicles.
California GHG emissions also climbed in 2017 in the residential sector with an off setting decrease in the agricultural sector.
The state’s GHG emissions in the transportation, industrial, commercial, residential and agricultural sectors represent about 80% of the state’s total emissions.
The graph below demonstrates the relative contribution to California GHG emissions reductions from the state’s various economic sectors.
The majority of the state’s GHG emission reductions are obviously provided by the electricity sector that dominates reductions to date with the lack of reduction contributions from all other sectors that represents over 80% of the state’s GHG total emission totals clearly displayed.
The extraordinary lack of progress during the last decade in making meaningful GHG emission reductions in the great majority of California economic sectors presents significant problems for the state regarding the ability to achieve ever lower emission outcomes required in 2030 by SB 32.
The state cannot achieve its SB 32 emissions requirement of total greenhouse gas emissions being 40% below1990 levels by 2030 without significant reductions from other than the electricity sector which thus far shows little likelihood of happening.
There are not nearly enough emissions remaining in the state’s electricity sector to achieve the SB 32 2030 emissions requirement.
The “zero emissions” electricity mandate in SB 100 cannot be achieved in the electricity sector because the use of costly and inherently unreliable renewables dictates that fossil fuel power plants must be operating to sustain electric system grid reliability.
The “zero emissions” mandate in SB 100 is technically and fatality flawed.
The state has no idea how it can achieve “zero emissions” as required by the Democrats SB 100 law that was rushed to passage by energy and emissions ignorant politicians who took no rational steps whatsoever to evaluate the provisions of this ludicrous bill.
As if these outlandish climate alarmist schemes aren’t bad enough the state’s incredible many decades long failure in managing forestlands as documented in detail by the state’s Legislative Analyst Office has led directly to increased wildfires that are increasing CO2 emissions that were originally assumed as being carbon neutral.
The state ignores these increased wildfire emissions that are estimated to be 36.7 million metric tons of CO2 in 2017 that would have resulted in increased year 2017 total emission levels.
Even if the estimated wildfire emissions are off by a factor of 3, which the state claims is the largest level of uncertainty in this assessment, this results in increased emissions of about 12.3 million metric tons of CO2. This would mean year 2017 emissions actually increased.
Year 2018 wildfire CO2 emissions are estimated to be even higher than 2017 as noted in the chart. Using the same factor of 3 estimate for the uncertainty value means that wildfire emission increases contributed 15.1 million metric tons of CO2 growth during year 2018.
Despite all the hype by California Democratic Party legislative dunderheads about “fighting climate change” EIA data shows the state relied upon fossil fuels for more than 80% of its year 2017 total energy use.
While California was continuing to inanely pursue and spending tens of billion of dollars on its politically hyped renewable energy and emissions “fighting climate change” shenanigans the rest of the world was sending a powerful and crystal clear signal saying “get lost.”
Global energy use climbed by 18.5% during the last decade with 98.5% of that growth occurring in the developing nations.
More than 70% of that growth was achieved through the increased use of fossil fuels – predominantly coal.
Since California commenced its climate change nonsense in 2006 the world’s developing nations have increased global CO2 emissions by about 5.4 billion metric tons driven by huge increases in fossil fuel use – primarily coal.
California cannot achieve its SB 100 year 2045 “zero emissions” electricity nonsense because of the inherent unreliability of renewables.
California’s decade long failure to achieve meaningful emissions reduction progress across all the state’s economic sectors demonstrates that future emission reduction goals provided by SB 32 are unrealistic as well as being unnecessary, costly and globally irrelevant.
The world’s developing nations have abandoned California and the world’s developed nations climate alarmism crusade with their unstoppable, totally dominant and growing use of all fossil fuels (with resulting emissions) that are allowing them to achieve their desired increased economic growth.
This definitive outcome establishes that the UN worldwide “climate wars” crusade has failed and become irrelevant and incapable of providing its politically contrived, hugely costly and unnecessary mandated outcomes.
Climate alarmist and media propagandist will continue to pursue the scientifically unsupported and purely politically driven “climate wars” crusade.
The world however will be controlled by the continued dominance of the developing nations use of fossil fuels to meet their growing economic needs that benefit their huge populations.
The politically driven “climate wars” crusade pushed by the arrogance and elitism of the developed nations alarmists has been lost.