The Truth About China: 2,500 New Coal Plants Will Thwart Any Paris Pledges

GWPF | 2 Dec 2015

China will talk a good game at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, but won’t make any binding commitments, concludes The Truth About China, an important new report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. “China’s Communist Party has as its highest priority its own self-preservation, and that self-preservation depends overwhelmingly on its ability to continue raising the standard of living of its citizens,” states economist Patricia Adams, the study’s author and the executive director of Toronto-based Probe International, an organization that has worked closely with Chinese NGOs for decades. —Global Warming Policy Foundation, 2 December 2015

More than 2,400 coal-fired power stations are under construction or being planned around the world, a study has revealed two weeks after Britain pledged to stop burning coal. The new plants will emit 6.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and undermine the efforts at the Paris climate conference to limit global warming to 2C. China is building 368 plants and planning a further 803, according to the study by four climate change research bodies, including Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. India is building 297 and planning 149. Rich countries are also planning new coal plants. The nuclear disaster at Fukushima has prompted Japan to turn back to coal, with 40 plants in the pipeline and five under construction. –Ben Webster, The Times, 2 December 2015

1) New GWPF Report: The Truth About China – Global Warming Policy Foundation, 2 December 2015

2) 2,500 New Coal Plants Will Thwart Any Paris Pledges – The Times, 2 December 2015

3) Why China Won’t Cut Back On CO2 – Breitbart London, 2 December 2015

4) Worldwide Conflicts Threaten To Overshadow Paris Climate Summit – The Daily Signal, 1 December 2015

5) Solar Bankruptcy: Abengoa Collapse Could Threaten Renewables Financing – Global Trade Review, 1 December 2015

Adams’s report is worth reading in full not just because of the fascinating light it casts on the Chinese, their economy, their corruption, their political mindset and the tensions between the populace and the Communist party but also because of the very basic fact it underlines about Paris – and about all future COP negotiations. Even if China believed in keeping to emission targets, which it doesn’t, its officials are so corrupt, uninterested and growth-driven they would never police them. So it will be stalemate. Any agreement reached in Paris will be meaningless and toothless. And thank goodness for that. Or rather, thank China. –James Delingpole, Breitbart London, 2 December 2015

Despite the dire warnings of some climate change scientists and activists concerning what is at stake at the conference, a long list of contemporary security concerns threatens to overshadow the two weeks of negotiations. At the top of the list are the symbiotic threats of Islamic terrorism and fighters returning from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. Apart from the terrorism threat, another behind-the-scenes diplomatic drama is playing out at the climate conference and it threatens to steal the spotlight—Russia’s involvement in the wars in Syria and Ukraine. –Nolan Peterson, The Daily Signal, 1 December 2015

As Spanish renewables giant Abengoa tries to renegotiate its debt with creditors, sources in the market warn that a bankruptcy could lead to a change of approach for banks financing renewables. Abengoa filed for administration last week after plans for a €350mn (US$374mn) capital injection being negotiated with Spanish investor Gonvarri fell through. Under Spanish law, the company has four months to renegotiate with creditors before potentially going into bankruptcy. –Melodie Michel, Global Trade Review, 1 December 2015

1) New GWPF Report: The Truth About China
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 2 December 2015

China will talk a good game at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, but won’t make any binding commitments, concludes The Truth About China, an important new report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

“China’s Communist Party has as its highest priority its own self-preservation, and that self-preservation depends overwhelmingly on its ability to continue raising the standard of living of its citizens,” states economist Patricia Adams, the study’s author and the executive director of Toronto-based Probe International, an organization that has worked closely with Chinese NGOs for decades.

“With China’s economic growth faltering, the last thing the Communist Party wants is to hobble its economy further by curtailing the use of the fossil fuels upon which its economy depends. A major cutback in fossil fuel use represents an existential threat to the Communist Party’s rule. It simply isn’t going to happen.”

Adams’s report includes another important finding: tackling CO2 emissions would do little if anything to curb the serious air pollution – dubbed “airpocalypse” – plaguing China’s major cities. On the contrary, the measures needed to curb China’s smog of life-threatening pollutants such as nitrogen and sulphur oxides – scrubbers on power plants, for example – actually increase CO2 emissions.

“A programme to rapidly reduce pollutants harmful to human health would be at odds with a programme to reduce CO2,” Adams states, noting that human health is unaffected by CO2, a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas. Next to keeping its economy afloat, the biggest challenge to its credibility that the Communist leadership faces is its need to reduce smog.  “I have never heard of a public protest in China against carbon dioxide emissions,” Adams states. “CO2 is a major concern for Western NGOs with offices in Beijing but it’s a non-issue for Chinese citizens and environmentalists at the grassroots.”

All that China will commit to, says the Adams report, is to continue to improve the energy efficiency of its economy as it grows – a goal it has long pursued, independent of global warming concerns. In doing so, China aims to increase its GDP along with its fossil fuel use, and by 2030 or so will depend on fossil fuels for 80% of its energy use, down from today’s 90%. When it reaches 80% 15 years hence, its energy makeup will largely resemble America’s today.

Full report (pdf)

2) 2,500 New Coal Plants Will Thwart Any Paris Pledges
The Times, 2 December 2015

Ben Webster

More than 2,400 coal-fired power stations are under construction or being planned around the world, a study has revealed two weeks after Britain pledged to stop burning coal.

The new plants will emit 6.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and undermine the efforts at the Paris climate conference to limit global warming to 2C. China is building 368 plants and planning a further 803, according to the study by four climate change research bodies, including Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. India is building 297 and planning 149.

Rich countries are also planning new coal plants. The nuclear disaster at Fukushima has prompted Japan to turn back to coal, with 40 plants in the pipeline and five under construction.

The study found that carbon dioxide from the 2,440 plants would raise emissions to five times the level consistent with keeping global warming below 2C.

Britain pledged before the Paris summit to close its 12 coal plants by 2025 and restrict their use from 2023. Some are being converted to burn American wood pellets.

Amber Rudd, the energy and climate change secretary, said: “It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon-intensive, 50-year-old coal-fired power stations.” Ms Rudd will arrive in Paris on Sunday for the crucial closing stages of the conference, which is seeking a global deal to cut emissions to safe levels.

Pieter van Breevoort, of Ecofys, said: “There is a solution to this issue of too many coal plants on the books: cancel them. Renewable energy and stricter pollution standards are making coal plants obsolete around the world, and the earlier a plant is taken out of the planning process the less it will cost.”

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, warned Britain and other western countries on Monday not to put pressure on his country to stop burning coal. “We still need conventional energy. We should make it clean, not impose an end to its use,” he said.

Full story

3) Why China Won’t Cut Back On CO2
Breitbart London, 2 December 2015

James Delingpole

 “The fact of the matter is that there’s a reason why you have the largest gathering of world leaders probably in world history here in Paris. Everyone else is taking climate change seriously.” Barack Obama.

Like a lot of the president’s statements on climate change this isn’t actually true. In fact there are lots and lots of people in the world who know it’s a hoax. And among them, unfortunately, happen to be the ruling elite of the most significant carbon emitting nation of them all: China.

We know this because of a devastating report, released today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, written by one of the West’s leading experts on the Chinese environmental economy, Patricia Adams.

Adams, an economist, executive director of Toronto-based Probe International, who has been working with the Chinese environmental movement since the mid-Eighties, is under absolutely no illusions about China’s real position on “climate change.”

China sees it as a brilliant opportunity to fleece the gullible gwailo for as much money as it can, to burnish its international image by making all the right green noises, and to blackmail the West into providing it with free technology.

But it has no intention whatsoever of sacrificing economic growth by reducing its carbon dioxide emissions.

China knows this. The West either knows this or strongly suspects this. So any agreement reached next week which pretends otherwise will either be a fudge, a lie, or an outright capitulation by Western negotiators – because China knows what it wants and it isn’t budging, no sirree.

Here’s how Adams puts it:

China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is under intense international pressure to reduce its use of fossil fuels. Although China’s leaders aim to reduce the country’s fossil-fuel consumption to 80% of its energy mix by 2030, they will not forsake national economic growth for the supposed global good. This is because China’s Communist Party knows that to stay in power – its highest priority – it must maintain the economic growth rates that have raised the incomes of much of its population and kept opposition at bay. China’s leaders know that GDP growth is tied to fossil- fuel use.

So far so disastrous for the COP21 negotiations. But worse is to come, far worse.

Obama and other Western leaders like to pretend that China’s appalling air pollution – the “airpocalypse” afflicting major cities which kills at least half a million a year – gives it a strong incentive to reduce its CO2 levels. But in fact the opposite is true.

That’s because China understands – as the West pretends not to – that CO2 and “pollution” are very different things.

Not only do the goals of reducing carbon emissions and air pollution not reinforce each other, they conflict. Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that does not harm health. Efforts to reduce it rely on un-proven abatement technologies, and are prohibitively expensive. In contrast, abating air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide rely on proven technologies and are relatively inexpensive.

In fact many greenies in the West secretly welcome China’s pollution because it makes the Chinese population more restive and environmentally conscious. But this is a delusion: even ordinary Chinese know that CO2 is not pollution.

The West’s climate change establishment is worried that if Beijing focuses ‘narrowly’ on eliminating the air pollutants that worry the general population, China will entrench cleaner-burning fossil fuels in its economy, costing the West its leverage over China’s energy policies. Yet the Chinese public is unlikely to tolerate a ‘carbon- first’ abatement strategy while it continues to breathe noxious air.

Adams comments:

“I have never heard of a public protest in China against carbon dioxide emissions. CO2 is a major concern for Western NGOs with offices in Beijing but it’s a non-issue for Chinese citizens and environmentalists at the grassroots.”

Also, the measures China wants to take to deal with pollution – “scrubbers” on power plants, for example – will actually increase CO2 because they are more energy-intensive.

The solution to this apparently insoluble conflict of interests is very simple. China will be allowed by the Western negotiators to do and say whatever it wants because China has them by the balls and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it.

The apparent contradiction between what the West wants and what China’s leadership needs is easily resolved. China’s leadership knows that what China says to the West is more important than what China does, absolving it of the need to make any binding commitment to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. China also knows that Western leaders’ have no firm expectation of concrete commitments in Paris. Rather, their paramount goal is to maintain face at the Paris talks, which would collapse without China’s presence.

Not that we couldn’t have seen this coming. We reported on this a few weeks ago in a piece entitled China shows how much it cares about climate change: with a single upraised finger.

Adams’s report is worth reading in full not just because of the fascinating light it casts on the Chinese, their economy, their corruption, their political mindset and the tensions between the populace and the Communist party but also because of the very basic fact it underlines about Paris – and about all future COP negotiations.

Where international global warming negotiations are concerned, China – and developing nations like India, which is similarly reluctant to sacrifice economic growth for meaningless green targets – wears the trousers.

Even if China believed in keeping to emission targets, which it doesn’t, its officials are so corrupt, uninterested and growth-driven they would never police them.

China is leading demands from developing nations that the Western nations pay them $100 billion annually into a climate fund – and after 2020 –  contribute 1 percent of their GDP to compensate them for the damage allegedly caused by their years of industrialization. This won’t happen. In return, nor will the developing nations halt or hamper their economic growth for the sake of green flag waving.

So it will be stalemate. Any agreement reached in Paris will be meaningless and toothless. And thank goodness for that.

Or rather, thank China.

4) Worldwide Conflicts Threaten To Overshadow Paris Climate Summit
The Daily Signal, 1 December 2015

Nolan Peterson

PARIS—A U.N.-sponsored climate change summit opened Monday amid gathering clouds of global conflict that threaten to overshadow the negotiations.

Despite the dire warnings of some climate change scientists and activists concerning what is at stake at the conference, a long list of contemporary security concerns threatens to overshadow the two weeks of negotiations.

At the top of the list are the symbiotic threats of Islamic terrorism and fighters returning from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. On the eve of the COP21 conference, and less than one hour after arriving in France, Obama paid his respects outside the Bataclan nightclub, where 89 died during the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks that killed 130 and wounded hundreds across Paris…

Paris is still very much on edge, and the climate summit sparked additional security concerns. Highlighting the tense environment, protesters clashed with police Sunday at Place de La Republique in central Paris. Police fired tear gas at approximately 200 protesters and 174 went to jail.

France remains under a state of emergency since the Nov. 13 terror attacks and public demonstrations are banned. French President Francois Hollande called Sunday’s protests “scandalous.”

“We will have zero tolerance for violent activists who wish to harm the public order,” Cazeneuve said.

Sideline Tensions
Apart from the terrorism threat, another behind-the-scenes diplomatic drama is playing out at the climate conference and it threatens to steal the spotlight—Russia’s involvement in the wars in Syria and Ukraine.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed a desire to use the COP21 venue to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss how to resolve tensions following Turkey’s Nov. 24 downing of a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft. Turkey claims the Russian warplane repeatedly violated its airspace—a charge the Kremlin denies.

Full story

5) Solar Bankruptcy: Abengoa Collapse Could Threaten Renewables Financing
Global Trade Review, 1 December 2015

Melodie Michel

As Spanish renewables giant Abengoa tries to renegotiate its debt with creditors, sources in the market warn that a bankruptcy could lead to a change of approach for banks financing renewables.

Abengoa filed for administration last week after plans for a €350mn (US$374mn) capital injection being negotiated with Spanish investor Gonvarri fell through. Under Spanish law, the company has four months to renegotiate with creditors before potentially going into bankruptcy.

Spanish and international banks have large exposures with the company: according to a Bloomberg article based on a document compiled by one of the creditors, Abengoa’s total debt is estimated around €20bn (US$21.2bn), including working capital and project finance.

Santander is reported to have the largest exposure at €1.5bn, followed by CaixaBank and Banco de Sabadell, each with more than €300mn. International banks involved with the company include Citi, HSBC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays, among others.

In the past year alone Abengoa raised financing for three projects in South Africa, Uruguay and Israel, and won a number of contracts across Egypt, Mexico and the US.

The company’s need for capital surprised creditors a few days after it raised €100mn through a share sale led by Citi in July 2015. At the time shares were priced at €2.80, but their value went down to €0.33 on November 25, when the administration was announced.

Full post

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