Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Paris Accords on Climate

I never learn. Seriously, I never learn. I always assume that people actually understand what a thing is before deciding whether it's a good witch or a bad witch.

After going though a few comment sections on the Paris Accords it was obvious that no one, including Trump and his "advisers," had any idea what was in the agreement.

First, allow me to identify what is an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution or INDC. An INDC is the amount of emission reduction that a country VOLUNTARILY establishes as a target in order to meet the stated goals in the agreement of (1) staying below an average temperature gain of 2 degrees C or (2) staying below an average temperature gain of 1.5 degrees C.

Switzerland was the first country to submit an INDC calling for a reduction of 50% of emissions over the 2005 level by 2030.

India's INDC called for a 33%-35% reduction per unit of GDP by 2030 but warned it would need $2.5 trillion in financing to meet that goal.

China's INDC called for a 60%-65% reduction per unit of GDP by 2030.

The US INDC called for a 26%-28% reduction of green house gases over the 2005 levels by 2025.

However notice the slight problem here. Different INDCs are specifying targets in different ways.

Switzerland and the USA are specifying their targets in total reduction of green house gases (GHG). China and India are specifying their targets per unit of GDP which means their total emissions may actually increase.

Why the difference?

Because while Switzerland and the USA are "developed countries" by the United Nations definition, China and India are considered "developing countries" whose GDP per capita is still a fraction of the GDP per capita of developed countries,

So basically that's the problem that people express in different ways. I'm more than a little terrified that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt doesn't appear to have a clue as to not only the details of the Paris Accords but even as to who emits the most GHG.

Who emits the most you ask? It depends upon how you're measuring. You can measure either as total emissions or emissions per capita.

In total emissions China is first followed by the US then the European Union and then India, In terms of emissions per capita the US is larger than China and India combined but I think total emissions is the more important way to measure.

And China is a real problem. Its total emissions of 10 millions kilotons of CO2 is twice the US total of 5 million kilotons. Yet as a "developing country" China will do no more than stop the increase of CO2 per year by 2030.

The assumption is that developed countries have the technological base to do more in a shorter period of time. The Obama administration has made the right moves for the US to meet its INDC by 2025.

With Trump trying to resurrect the dead coal industry and allowing the initiatives of the Obama Administration to wither, there's not a snowball's chance in hell.

This may well turn out to be the stupidest decision ever made by a so-called President of the United States. Luckily states and cities in the US are moving forward and essentially saying fuck you Trump.

It's only a matter of time before a Trumpian pronouncement forces some of the states to refuse to implement or enforce what he's ordering. If Trump then tries to force the issue all hell will break loose.

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