Monday, August 17, 2009

China's emissions to peak in 2030! (?)

CGS woke up today to a Reuters report that some of China's leading climate experts urge the adoption of policies to make the county's carbon dioxide emissions growth to slow by 2020, and to peak by 2030. The suggestion, made in a report signed by many heavy-weight researchers and policy analysts, urges the government to consider a variety of policies, including a carbon tax and even a domestic cap and trade system, to effectively cap emissions by 2030. Perhaps most notably, the report stresses the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions within the next few decades in order to avoid catastrophic ecological damage.

The study's authors were careful to note that their analysis is merely a recommendation, and has not been endorsed by policymakers. Yet China's government has signaled in recent weeks that their hard-line position on climate may be softening (see Green Leap Forward). Even if the study really is just a "research exercise," as its authors claim, it's one that marks a sea change in public thinking among the country's elite. Moreover, it's promising that the report stresses the ecological imperatives behind climate change- and the threat to China's development objectives- rather than the tired rhetoric of who's to blame for global aggregate emissions.

But what might it mean in practice? Even if China were to come out with a commitment to peak emissions by 2030, it doesn't mean we're out of the climate woods yet. China's much-touted energy efficiency targets and renewable energy scale-ups have been characterized by statistical fudging and fuzzy math (see, once again, Green Leap Forward). The country desperately needs a robust system for measuring and verifying emissions reductions. In particular, China lacks experience with regulatory frameworks for emissions reduction, as well as both the software and know-how to model emissions reductions- both clear imperatives for international cooperation.

And, of course, the study could simply be a trial balloon that gets shot down by China's higher-ups. But when you're dealing with things as foreboding as climate change, you've got to take comfort where you can, and China's "2050 China Energy and CO2 Emissions Report" at least represents an enlightened and sober view of what China must do to prevent catastrophic atmospheric disruption.

31 comments:

  1. 學問好比腸胃裡的食物,裝下多少並不重要,吸收多少才重要。......................................................

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  2. 馬丁路德:「即使知道明天世界即將毀滅,我仍願在今天種下一棵小樹。」............................................................

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  3. 人應該做自己認為對的事,而不是一味跟著群眾的建議走。..................................................

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