Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Marlowe Hood, governments including China are preparing to buy their way out of trouble by pushing money into high carbon industries, without any consideration for the climate impacts.
Climate crisis on back-burner as pandemic threat looms
Marlowe HOOD,AFP•March 8, 2020
Paris (AFP) – Economic shock waves from the coronavirus outbreak have curbed carbon pollution from China and beyond, but hopes for climate benefits from the slowdown are likely to be dashed quickly, experts say.
As governments prepare to spend their way out of the crisis, including with large infrastructure projects, global warming concerns will be little more than an afterthought, dwarfed by a drive to prop up a stuttering world economy, they say.
Preparations for a make-or-break climate summit in November are already off track, with host Britain focused on its Brexit transition, and the challenge to its health system of the gathering epidemic.
Like an unintended lab experiment, the global health emergency demonstrates the cause-and-effect relationship that drives global warming.
In the four weeks up to March 1, China’s discharge of CO2 fell 200 million tonnes, or 25 percent, compared to the same period last year, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) — equivalent to annual CO2 emissions from Argentina, Egypt or Vietnam.
But any climate silver lining will be short-lived, experts warn.
“The emissions reductions we see now because of the epidemic are temporary, not structural,” said Imperial College London’s Joeri Rogelj, a lead scientist on the UN’s climate science advisory panel, the IPCC.
There are already signs that Beijing — impatient to reboot China’s economy — will rain down cash on carbon-intensive infrastructure projects, as happened after the global recession in 2008, and again in 2015.
“Initial announcements of stimulus have had no environmental emphasis whatsoever,” noted Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at CREA.
Proposals to further loosen controls on new coal power plants show that concerns about debt and emissions are being brushed aside, he told AFP.
“A round of cheap credits and a blind eye to inefficient polluting industries will lead to ‘retaliatory emissions’, setting China back on the goal of enhancing its climate targets,” said Li Shuo, a climate policy analyst with Greenpeace East Asia.Read more: https://news.yahoo.com/climate-crisis-back-burner-pandemic-threat-looms-092249218.html
What a shocker. Instead of China setting a good climate example by taking the opportunity to reject industrialisation and going back to being dirt poor agrarians, they’re pulling out all the stops to undo the damage Coronavirus has done to their economy, even if that means a surge in CO2 emissions.
How dare they ignore the advice of Greenpeace.