Lima Climate Summit

album photo cefic.inddStarting Monday, at the UN climate summit COP20 in Lima delegates from more than 190 nations will discuss a new climate agreement.

On this issue, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:

“Two great challenges define the 21st century – the threat of catastrophic climate change and the maddening gap between the global rich and poor. These biggest challenges to worldwide peace are closely interlinked. Global warming impacts, such as increasingly disastrous weather events, regional water scarcity or local crop failure, hit those hardest who have the least means for coping. And the fossil fuel dividend is cashed in by those who are already wealthy. Without enhancing global equity, climate change cannot be contained; and without reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, fairness cannot be realized. Stabilizing the climate and combating poverty is largely the same thing.”

Weblinks to the recently published Worldbank report “Turn down the heat” by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, here & here.

Weblinks to the recently published report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, here, here & here.

Aljazeera’s optimistic analysis, here.

For more information, please contact the PIK press office:

Phone: +49 331 288 25 07

E-Mail: presse@pik-potsdam.de

Follow us on twitter: @PIK_climate

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Comment on “Lima Climate Summit”

  1. Potsdam, the IPCC and their acolytes, through their own words, make a clear case for only one thing, control. Do they all pray to a statue of Malthaus in some vainglorious hope that free enterprise is dead? Each and every missive and conference confirms that success on their terms lies through sailing an ocean of climate hysteria, social-mediated into a single-minded trance, all the while financed by a maze of radical NGOs. And oh yes, down with the 1%!

    Potsdam and their ilk are no more than sleeper cells that promote the big, bigger and biggest of all-pervasive government as the solution to well, everything. Any economic ideas they may have are actually innovation retardants, cost boondoggles and worst of all, job killers. Windmills and sun power can’t do the job and the job they do is inefficient and very, very costly to the economy and the taxpayer without whom there would be no IPCC or Potsdam. After all, it is the taxpayers’ money they are all spending and they want more, lots more. Don’t they always? Their mentality never changes. Regularly wrong but never in doubt there is much talk of the rest of us “joining the conversation,” but only if we agree with their stated positions. That’s a conversation? Maybe with Putin.

    The recent China/U.S. non-deal on climate rates in the Potsdam and IPCC world as a “breakthrough” a “game-changer” and laughingly, a “demonstration of leadership.” To them it ushers in a brave new world of government control, a bureaucratic wonderland of carbon taxes and an orgiastic array of new technologies despite all evidence to the contrary.
    In truth, the really big carbon deal is not actually a deal at all. It is Obama’s last gasp at a Green Legacy, something his confused ego can seemingly not do without. When it fails, as it most assuredly will, Obama will say, “I succeeded. It is the others who failed.” There will always be the “others”, them and the poor taxpayers. As the Wall Street Journal put it, it will “make America less competitive.” But hey, what do they know when compared to a Community Centre Manager and a failed President?

    Obama’s legacy obsessions are becoming a real problem for the U.S. He sees his future in Green, both policies and dollars. He may pose for pictures wearing a laurel wreath. He will be a roving ambassador for the equally hapless U.N. He will give speeches for big bucks at conventions and seminars sponsored by the beneficiaries of his frivolous largesse, those very same companies he propped up for political purposes with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

    The White House has already admitted, that the “joint announcement” was designed to “inject momentum into the global climate negotiations and inspire other countries to join in coming forward with ambitious actions as soon as possible, preferably by the first quarter of 2015.” Must be an election in 2016. All this is a prelude to the big, big things to come at the next lah-di-dah Conference of the Parties in Paris next year. Watch for an ever so splendid, teleprompter assisted for sincerity, Obama speech from the throne. It will offer an implausibly rosy view for renewables based on the increasingly implausible continuation and boosting of, you guessed it, more subsidies. Who couldn’t run a business or sell a product where profit is unimportant and the government covers all costs and losses?

    Do try to remember that wind and solar are expensive, unreliable and require lots of fossil fuel back-up. So why would any sane policymaker want to dramatically increase their use? Oh, that’s right, it is Obama’s obsession with posturing about climate legacies. Only an America propped up by Chinese loans could afford to do this. Anybody see anything wrong with this picture? (For the record, more than a decade ago, this reactionary offered to affix a power generating windmill to a plaza I was involved with. Even with subsidies it proved to be impractical and would serve as no more than an attraction, an expensive one. I liked it but………….That was a decade ago. I am also a tenant in a house whose roof is covered with solar panels. The Provincial Government was offering so much money it was pointless to refuse. I applauded the owner all the while weeping for the taxpayer.)

    Note that the Obama/China hand shake was called a “joint announcement,” not an agreement when released to the world. “China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early.” What does that mean from a country which is building one coal-burning energy plant every 10-15 days? They have invested $275 billion in a 5 year plan toward improving their fracking techniques to better unlock their oil and gas resources. They are importing huge amounts of coal from the United States. So the U.S. can’t burn it but China can and that solves the CO2 problem exactly how? Obama logic on full display at its finest. China recently signed a pipeline deal, presently valued at $300 billion, with Russian President Vladimir Putin to import billions of barrels of oil and gas. Does any of this sound like the agenda of a nation that is ready to swear off fossil fuels?

    The Eco-Warriors try to spin this agreement as a victory for the U.S. economy. Huh? They must be smoking something green. Their delusion is that America will somehow lead the world in renewable energy in the 21st century just as they led the world in fossil-fuels development in the first half of the 20th century. So, a $20 trillion industrial economy will soon be replaced with windmills and solar power? Double huh? Have any of these people even so much as balanced a cheque book? Even if solar could become price-competitive, a very huge ‘”if,” within the next 15 or 20 years, the U.S. would still need homegrown and imported fossil fuels.

    Ask anyone in Europe how they like their hydro bills. European gas import prices are currently around three times higher than those in the US while industrial electricity prices are about twice as high. This has created an energy price and competitive gap which is forecast to last at least 20 years. How about Germany, the economic engine of Europe? They bought heavily into the renewable energy-green jobs charade a decade ago and have watched their economy crater and their dependence on Russia grow as their energy costs have skyrocketed. America, this is your future.

    The U.S. will cede their natural competitive advantages to China without as much as a whimper, potentially transferring millions of jobs outside the United States. That’s the path Obama’s climate-change pact will take the American economy. It will cripple U.S. industries with expensive electric power and displace millions of highly paid U.S. workers in the oil, gas and coal industries. Needless to say it will also increase electric utilities and home-heating costs. How do you say ‘Ha Ha’ in Chinese? By 2030 China will have nearly 550 additional coal-fired power plants in operation. In other words, they will “cap” when their build-out plan is finished. Then and only then, China will absolutely put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions. Maybe. Keep in mind they have never honored any environmental agreement they have signed. When one side is all give and the other all the take, it is not a “deal.” It is a “surrender.” But that is the price of vanity, read legacy. But hey, didn’t Obama look good in the photo?

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration project China’s annual carbon emissions will jump by about 60% over the next 20 years to more than 14-billion tonnes. If it were to initiate carbon reduction programs, it might get that down to 12-billion by around 2030. But that’s all speculation. No numbers were attached to the China intention. A study by two official China agencies clearly stated that any peak in carbon would not happen before 2035, likely at something like 12-billion tonnes. China, India and other emerging economies have based their growth on rapid increases in fossil fuel-based energy. The main promoter of the boom, and attendant budget-busting increases in greenhouse gases is China, naturally. Interesting and further proof that the deal was no better than a photo-op, and a bad one at that. It is a promise made in a rented tuxedo.

    China has committed to nothing in the future. The announcement has no control mechanisms other than the usual, “tsk, tsk.” Its emissions will continue to soar, using coal, oil and gas that will boost them into a leading economic power position. Obama has now set public targets that would see the United States slash its carbon emissions from 5-billion tonnes today to 4.4-billion in 2025 and 1.4-billion by 2050. By 2030, China will still be using coal, oil and gas to propel its economy forward with emissions at least three times those of the United States. The U.S. has apparently committed to this self-inflicted domestic pain while China has committed to nothing. That’s not true. They have committed to more emissions. Of course, it is unlikely that Congress, any Congress, will support this nonsense.

    The U.S. tight oil and shale gas boom that enabled the gullible Obama to commit to lower emissions was heavily promoted by his predecessor. Oops. Obama, of course takes all the credit and bows but wait, a new study has cast serious doubt on whether the much-ballyhooed U.S. shale oil and gas revolution has long-term staying power. The new report by the Post Carbon Institute (author, David Hughes) throws cold water on the thinking that U.S. shale production will be around for the long haul. The report was based on an analysis of the top seven oil and top seven natural gas plays which, taken together, account for 89 percent of current shale oil production and 88 percent of shale gas production. The report found that both shale oil and shale gas production will peak before 2020. More importantly, oil production will decline much more quickly than the EIA had previously predicted.

    How can this be? Largely because of the high decline rates at shale wells across the U.S. Conventional wells produce at relatively stable rates over long periods of time. Shale oil and gas wells experience an initial burst of production in the first few years, followed by a precipitous decline.

    Hughes estimates that the average shale oil well declines at a rate of between 60 and 91 percent over three years. Wells in the Bakken (a rock unit occupying about 200,000 square miles underlying parts of American States Montana and North Dakota and Canadian Provinces Saskatchewan and Manitoba) decline by 45 percent per year. This stands in stark contrast to the 5 percent annual decline for an average conventional well. Taken together it adds up to a very expensive set of plays that will only last for a very short while. The shale industry is unsustainable over the long-term. In other words, Obama can boast and promise for 2 more years and the decline will become someone else’s fault. Nothing new there. The shale gas revolution and fracking face a downward slope in CO2 emissions. Obama is therefore willing to bind the U.S. to continuing that downward slope for the next 16 years. Say hello to becoming the number 2 economy in the world. If you don’t think that matters you live on other people’s money.

    Obama betrayed his post mid-term desperation by rushing hurriedly into a non-deal attempt to stake out his climate “legacy.” Mr. Xi is playing him as skilfully on climate as Mr. Putin has done on geopolitics. It is ping pong and Obama is the ball.

    Who really trusts Obama? What is his word worth these days, never mind a decade and a half into the future, 14 years after he is out of office? He promised that U.S. citizens could keep their doctor and their medical plans under his signature health-care legislation. He pledged to close Guantanamo on his “first day in office.” He warned the Syrians not to cross the “redline” but did nothing when gas rained down on helpless civilians. His party is wearing sneakers, the faster to run away from him.

    The legacy for President Obama has already been written, like it or not. He will leave office having amassed more debt than all previous presidents combined, combined! He will leave office with a world in more turmoil than any period in my lifetime and possibly beyond. He will leave office having divided his country and his own party. He will leave office untrusted by friend and foe unlike. He will leave office as the greatest disappointment of all time, a President who arrived with great promise, with great “hope” and a majority in Congress. He could have fulfilled all those dreams, all those promises instead he did what he wanted. He soon lost his majority. Now he is a lame duck. He probably always was. He ran a community centre on other people’s money. That proved to be no training ground for the supposed leader of the free world. That is his legacy. The rest is books, speeches and money. Oh well, it’ll be green.

    As for us up here in the Great White North, we should immediately agree to the same terms as China. Given the haziness of the announcement’s intentions, the uncertainty of the science and the mass of unresolved economic and policy conflicts, it is the only realistic position. Where do we sign? Our role in the carbon world is microscopic (1.5% of global emissions, compared with China at 25%) in any case. Like China, we could double our carbon emissions. Unlike China, however, there would be no real impact on global carbon emission if we did so. With such a small carbon footprint, a vast geography to fill and massive energy resources, it would be economic suicide to follow Obama’s lead on carbon emissions. Good luck to the U.S.

    In other words, see you in 2030!

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