The news maybe was present in many media like NYT, and celebrated in the climate blogs like climateprogress or carbonbrief. Last year was the first one in the recent history with reduction in CO2 emissions without a great war or economic disaster. The wind power was important in this achievement increasing 51477 MW of installed capacity. By countries China started to change its emissions trend with less coal and more wind and sun, UK also fell 9%, on the other hand the USA stopped the emission reductions from last years, increasing a 0.7% due to coal use.
Is this the beginning of a successful story? Of a peak in the global emissions? and a path to a control of climate change in the next decades? I hope so, but it is too early to claim any success as this level of emissions is very far from the one we need is approximately 400% higher. But this is the first step we needed to start the emission reduction pathway and to get the felling that some effective actions are being taken. I dare to say that this step was at the same time the easiest one (technically) and the most difficult one (psicological and socially). We will see if we remember it in the future as a good start of many other steps.
China and World emission paths. The magnitude of the emissions if different but the scales are the same
Now that we are close to the new year eve in China it is a good time to write something about them. The figure in the beginning of the post displays how influential is China in the current emission path of the world. 25% of the emissions come from there, if the rest of the world would suddenly stop every emission China’s CO2 would be enough to be over the 20% maximum that is considered a reasonable equilibrium. Even more important than the share (lower than the population share) is the trend, whereas most developed countries are not increasing their emissions significantly lasts years Chinese CO2 is growing very fast. It is not the only one but it is the greatest and I think that the leader of the developing-developed countries group. In a previous posts I mentioned USA and China as keys. They are, all of us are to some extent. However, I think that China will fix the trend that many others will follow, because they can reverse the upwards emission path and fix the peak, after that the perspective will be different.
And how is it doing in China? I am not an expert and see news of both sides. In one part, they are burning half of the coal of the world, if they do not stop we will get quite hot.In the other hand there are signs for hope as most Chinese are convinced of the importance of climate change, they want to be more active in renewables and form part of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and even if their 6 ton per capita emissions per year are not far from many European countries (but far from the USA), they burn them in part to produce goods that export. Transport emissions are low for example.
Apart from those news there are three great reasons I believe should make us hopeful :
- Chinese are quite vulnerable to extreme weather, so for climate change. It is they fight as it is everybody
- They have the opportunity to lead the development of many renewable energy technologies.
- They have the opportunity to build many things in their society in a low-carbon way and this is much easier than transforming high carbon structures.
Xi Jinping leader, Source: Wikipedia
Maybe it’s to late to talk about Obama’s victory, but I don’t intend to be up to the fast pace of the news. Of course I got quite satisfied with USA elections results, due to the strong “drill baby drill” speech coming from Romey and more after the acceptance speech:
“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet,”
This important election was extensively covered by many climate blogs as Climate Progress, or Quark Soup. Even Pieckle Sr, usually a blog without political content, mentioned USA elections comparing them to Chinese process. And there is where I wanted to arrive, if USA elections were very important for the climate change politics due to many factors,Chinese leadership is not less and has not been covered at the same extent.
Both states are the biggest CO2 sources in the world, more than 40% of the emissions between them. And ,although far from the USA in per capita emissions China’s development has made them the leaders in this classification and it is still growing fast. It will not be possible to do something meaningful in climate change without the implication of China, so Xi Jinping¡s ideas about climate change are even more important than Obama¡s and I do not know them. Maybe, next days in COP18 we will start to see. At least I hope so.