Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why the U.S.-China CO2 Deal Is an Energy, Climate, and Political Gamechanger - by Joe Romm

U.S. and Chinese jigsaw pieces engaging (Credit: Shutterstock) Click to Enlarge.
The historic new U.S.-China climate deal changes the trajectory of global carbon pollution emissions, greatly boosting the chances for a global deal in Paris in 2015.  The deal would keep, cumulatively, some 640 billion tons of CO2 emissions out of the air this century, according to brand new analysis by Climate Interactive and MIT, using their C-ROADS model.

The U.S.-China deal is truly a gamechanger.  In fact, you could make a strong case that prior to this deal, neither the U.S. or China were seriously in the game of trying to stave off climate catastrophe.  Now both countries are.

When you add the recent European Union (EU) pledge to cut total emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, we now have countries representing more than half of all global emissions making serious commitments — and that in turn puts pressure on every other country.  If the developing countries were to all follow China’s lead, and the non-EU developed countries follow ours, a 2015 global deal would slash carbon pollution this century by a whopping 2500 billion tons of CO2 (see figure below).

Global CO2 Emissions (Credit: Climate Interactive) Click to Enlarge.
The Chinese commitment to more than double carbon-free electricity generation is also a gamechanger.  It guarantees that the recent explosive growth — and amazing price drops — experienced by renewables like solar and wind will continue for decades to come.  And that means the long-predicted ascendance of carbon-free energy has now begun in earnest.

Finally, the political implications of this deal can’t be overstated.  Conservatives have been attacking EPA climate standards as government over-reach that supposedly harms the U.S. economy, while assuring us over and over and over again that the world’s biggest polluter (China) won’t act.  That attack has not merely been rendered impotent.  Now efforts to stop EPA can clearly be seen for what they really are — an effort to kill any deal with China and stop the nations of the world from coming together to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Thanks to this deal, any politician who says the U.S. can’t meet EPA carbon pollution standards is saying that the U.S. can’t deploy even a fraction of the carbon-free electricity the Chinese just told the entire world they are going to build in the next 15 years!

Read More at Why the U.S.-China CO2 Deal Is an Energy, Climate, and Political Gamechanger

No comments:

Post a Comment