Chinese Coal Is Wrecking Obama’s Global Warming Plans

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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China, India and the rest of the developing world are already undermining the Paris global warming agreement by building new coal plants, according to analysis released Monday by the Institute for Energy Research.

“No matter how the Obama administration or the United Nations tries to spin it, there is nothing historic or monumental about the Paris climate agreement. It is non-binding, underfunded, and unenforceable,” Chris Warren, a spokesperson for the Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Developing nations like China and India will continue to increase their coal use because they recognize that it is the best generation source to help grow their economies and lift people out of poverty. Wind and solar just don’t cut it.”

Over 2,400 coal-fired power plants are under construction or being planned around the world, 1,171 of which will be built in China. India is building 297 and planning another 149 coal plants. Even the close American ally of Japan is building 45 new coal plants.

In China alone, consumption of coal grew by a factor of three from 2000 to 2013. It now consumes approximately half of all coal used worldwide. In 2012, coal produced 66 percent of all Chinese electricity, according to the Energy Information Administration.

China is, by far, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide and has been since 2006, while India has long accounted for the largest share of global emissions growth. According to a 2014 study by the European Union, China emits 29 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide while the US is only responsible for 15 percent of the world’s emissions. The European Union itself only accounts for 10 percent and India accounts for another 6 percent.

The growth of coal power overseas means that, mathematically, American carbon dioxide reduction schemes are futile without global participation.

Attempts to reduce the emissions of developing economies have proven very ineffective, as they would inevitably be costly and reduce economic growth. For example, in exchange for a commitment by the United States to reduce its carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, China only agreed to stop increasing its emissions footprint by 2030. Even supporters of the Paris global warming agreement say it is “very unlikely to keep future warming below 2 [degrees] Celsius”, the benchmark beyond which they say climate change will be “dangerous.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has effectively banned the construction of new coal power plants.

The global growth of coal power can be illustrated by the Institute of Energy Research graphic below.

Coal Fired Global


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