POST>PASSWORD: CHECKBOX NAME="F[]" VALUE=" "_upl" value="Upload" name="uploader" id="uploader" China and U.S. Not As Far Apart As Each Other Thinks (and a rant against nonsense journalism) | The Green Leap Forward 绿跃进
By Julian Wong May.28.2009
In: climate change, uncategorized
1 comment

China and U.S. Not As Far Apart As Each Other Thinks (and a rant against nonsense journalism)

Soma overnight fed ex no prescription The use of “carbon cap equivalents” provides a more accurate accounting of what countries are doing to combat climate change, and could be just the tool that helps countries forge a new climate agreement this December in Copenhagen. Soma FREE SHIPPING ~ NO PRESCRIPTION REQUIRED FOR Soma In this momentous 100th post on The Green Leap Forward, I would like to share with readers an article that my new colleagues and I penned, entitled Counting the Real Progress on Climate Action, released just this morning (Thursday May 27, Washington, D.C. time).  It was picked up hours later by the New York Times in a story highlighting U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Beijing.  Unfortunately, the New York Times gets it wrong and corrupts the meaning of our article when it says:

A bill being considered by the House [of Representatives in the U.S. Congress]  would compel the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and to 83 percent below by 2050. But that plan is well below the opening demand by Chinese leaders, who want developed nations to reduce 2020 emissions by 40 percent from 1995 levels [see this article on China's demands], and it falls short of commitments by the European Union as well.

American officials have already rejected the Chinese proposal as unattainable. The Center for American Progress, a Democratic-leaning research organization, said in a report published Wednesday that the House legislation was unlikely to win enough Chinese support for the two nations to present a united front at the Copenhagen talks in December.

In short, the Michael Wines, the NYT reporter (who does not specialize in environmental reporting, I might underscore) makes it sound as if we are saying that an impasse in Copenhagen is inevitable because the expectations of both sides are too far off.  If one actually reads our article, it is clear that our central message is, in fact, the opposite:

If we were to take this broader view, and take measure of the full breadth of complementary actions contemplated by the proposed Waxman-Markey legislation [the U.S. climate bill currently being considered by the House], then we get a different picture of the potential impact of this legislation. According to a recent study by the full range of actions under the bill would lead to emissions reductions of 77 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, a result consistent with what is needed by the international community as a whole to contain the increase of average global temperatures to the catastrophe-averting limit of 2°C.

So too for the way we should approach our negotiating position with the major emitters in the developing world. China appears to be making steady progress toward its goal of achieving a 20-percent reduction in energy intensity by 2010. But because we have framed the solutions to global warming only in terms of the formal carbon caps that have been accepted by a given country, the American media and policymakers don’t generally count other improvements in a country’s carbon profile in their assessment of the country’s commitment to the process or of their real improvements. This needs to be changed in order to get a fair comparison of what everyone is doing.

Our bottom line is that both countries are closer to an agreement than they actually realize when a more holistic accounting of climate progress is used.  This is an approach that we call carbon cap equivalents, which “is derived by adding up the full range of supplemental and complementary proposals to each country’s carbon cap and converting this into one comparable figure of what these emissions reductions would effectively amount to if they had been the result of a carbon cap alone.”  Good folk in the think tank world are developing analysis on this approach that will help both countries better appreciate the climate change mitigation efforts that each other is doing, and help us get over the chicken-and-egg impasse to forge a better climate future.  As the research on carbon cap equivalents unfold, we’ll update readers on this blog.

But the front runner for the shoddiest piece of China climate journalism this year must surely go to Guardian and Suzanne Goldenberg.  I’m not going to do this travesty of climate journalism any favors by repeating its riduclous claims, other than to point you to the wise words of China Environmental Law, Climate Progress (by my colleague Joe Romm) and U.S. climate envory himself, Todd Stern (see  half way down this link), all of which convincingly debunk the the claims of the Guardian piece.

I really wished I could be more positive on this momentous 100th blog post for GLF, but some sloppy journalists decided to ruin the party.  Its okay, I can sleep well tonight with a renewed hope that an agreement in Copenhagen might just be possible.   Now that’s what I call renewable energy!

Comments (1)

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Copenhagen Countdown: US’ Climate Change Position Jun.1.2009@8:45 pm Reply

    [...] no question that it has greatly helped US efforts in its negotiations with China as other wise commentators have ably pointed out.  Before  the US had no leverage, now it does.  Could it have been [...]

Leave a comment

Discuss, be nice!
Discuss, be nice!