How Biden’s Return To The Paris Climate Accord Benefits Beijing
As part of his $2 trillion “Equitable Clean Energy Future” agenda, President Biden has pledged to recommit America to the Paris Climate Agreement (drafted in 2015, signed in 2016), which proposes to eliminate carbon emissions from electricity by 2035 and shift from oil, natural gas, and coal to achieve “net-zero carbon” emissions by 2050.
This would occur as China and India which have represented 80% of the emission increases and are not bound to the pact, are dramatically ramping up coal and oil development.
Although Beijing agreed to peak its emissions by 2030, they have a pass to do nothing to stem the growth of CO2 emission growth during the 15 years leading up to that deadline.
Meanwhile, China’s coal consumption has continued to increase in line with a rise in overall energy demand following a 2014-2016 “permitting surge” by local governments aiming to boost growth.
When President Xi Jinping announced in September of 2019 that China would be carbon-neutral, he generously gave coal a four-decade-long “transition period.”
China, the world’s largest CO2 emitter, had raised its coal-fired capacity by 42.9 gigawatts (GW), or about 4.5% in the 18 months leading up to June 2019.
As of that time, China also had another 121.3 GW of coal-fired plants under construction, nearly enough to power the whole of France while coal-fired power capacity fell 8.1 GW in the rest of the world over the same period.
Additionally, Reuters has reported that China is building about a dozen coal power plants in Pakistan.
Similarly, in a half-hearted commitment, India pledged to peak its emissions sometime around the middle of the century … although its actual plan announced in 2019 is to double its domestic coal production over the next five years, and will continue to use fossil fuels for electricity generation.
The Paris Agreement doesn’t specify how much each country must reduce its own emissions or what timeline they should use. Rather, it just asks them to set a target in line with a goal.
Then when they meet it, they are to set a more ambitious one.
But despite countries setting their own objectives, the majority of the 184 signers are failing to achieve them.
Of all EU signatories to the Paris Climate Treaty, not one of them is meeting their current goals for 2030 emissions reduction.
Only five of them —Luxembourg, Netherlands, France, Portugal, and Sweden —are even at 50% of their targets. The rest are all trailing behind….
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