Saturday, December 12, 2009

Western irrelevance

Richard Muller in the Wall Street Journal points out that massive emission cuts by Western economies are irrelevant. The growth in emissions comes from the developing countries.

And, as an example of the sleight of hand in which the Copenhagen negotiators are indulging, we are reminded that China, which is responsible for the most rapid growth in emissions, is only offering a reduction in intensity. Translated, that means lower emissions per unit of GDP.

With a ten percent annual growth in China's economy, a four percent cut in "intensity" is actually a six percent annual increase in emissions. India and other developing countries have similar CO2 growth. That six percent yearly increase is shown in the above chart.

All of this, however, misses the point. The really urgent need for China (and India) is to reduce real pollutants, which are having a devastating impact on agriculture and the health of its population – as well as a significant effect on the regional climate. Chasing after wholly irrelevant CO2 levels represents a massive and criminal diversion of resources.

To that extent, not only are the Western economies irrelevant, so is Western climate "science". And even our politics are irrelevant. While the likes of the EU and the US are offering real cuts in CO2 emissions and taking flak for not offering enough, all China is offering is a reduced rate of increase, yet has the approval of the greenies.

The developed world is rapidly becoming irrelevant, writes Muller. But it is a self-inflicted wound. We are committing collective suicide.