Posts Tagged ‘China’

The Washington Post: Why climate change is really, really unfair

Friday, February 12th, 2016

With his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si,” Pope Frances went further than perhaps anyone has before to reframe the entire debate around climate change by focusing on the world’s poor and the duty to protect them from environmental harms that they did not cause themselves.

Now, new research in the journal Scientific Reports has underscored the pope’s message by showing that when it comes to climate change, it is indeed the countries with the most to lose that tend to contribute to the problem least — and also the other way round. The countries that contribute most to the problem — such as China and the United States, the current top two emitters — tend to show less relative vulnerability to the impact compared with nations that have quite low levels of emissions, the research finds.

“The general rule is, at a global scale, if you’re a nation that is going to suffer from climate change, you’re very likely not contributing to the problem,” says James Watson, a professor in the school of geography at the University of Queensland in Australia who also works with the Wildlife Conservation Society on climate change. Watson conducted the study with two colleagues from the University of Queensland.

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Washington Post: China tries to recast itself as a global leader in climate-change fight

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

It all depends on how you look at it.

On Monday, the presidents of France and China stood side by side to emphasize their commitment to tackling climate change, agreeing that countries signing on to a proposed global climate pact should take stock of their progress every five years with a view to regularly ratcheting up their emissions-cutting targets.

French President François Hollande called Monday’s announcement a major, historic step that “laid down the conditions for success” at global climate talks due to start in Paris in four weeks. Greenpeace termed it incremental progress that highlighted the “ambition gap” the world still needs to bridge.

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Time: China Shows It’s Getting Serious About Climate Change

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

China—the world’s largest polluter—has sought to portray itself as a leader in the global fight against climate change in recent years. The country has expedited the development of renewable energy power plants, experimented with cap-and-trade programs and last year committed to curb its growing carbon dioxide emissions in coming decades.

But despite these initiatives many lawmakers in the United States and policy makers around the world have viewed China’s environmental programs with skepticism—more promise than performance. China’s landmark announcement Friday of a national cap-and-trade program and other policies to reduce carbon emissions should ameliorate some of those concerns, experts said, even while the country faces roadblocks to implementation.

Last year’s joint announcement from the U.S. and China set big goals on the part of both countries to eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. promised to reduce carbon emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, and Chinese officials said the country’s carbon dioxide emissions would reach peak levels by 2030.

This week’s announcement, both from the U.S. and China, follows up on that target, providing a plan to reach it. A cap-and-trade program would set a national limit in China on carbon emissions in the heavy-polluting industries of power generation, iron and steel, chemicals, and building materials and require companies to buy credits to pollute. Another program will prioritize the use renewable energy on the grid. (Right now, while China produces a great deal of renewable energy, problems with the grid means much of it goes unused.) The country will also improve appliance and vehicle efficiency standards.

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The New York Times: U.S. and Chinese Climate Change Negotiators to Meet in Los Angeles

Friday, September 18th, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s top climate change negotiator met with his Chinese counterpart in Los Angeles on Tuesday to announce joint actions by cities, states and provinces in both countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The summit meeting followed a historic accord reached in Beijing in November by Mr. Obama and President Xi Jinping, who pledged to enact policies to cut emissions significantly. Mr. Obama said the United States would reduce planet-warming carbon emissions up to 28 percent by 2025, while Mr. Xi vowed that Chinawould halt its emissions growth by 2030.

That announcement by the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas polluters was seen as a breakthrough after decades of deadlock on efforts to forge an effective global accord on climate change. Now Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi are pushing for completion of such a deal, signed by every nation on earth, at a United Nations summit meeting in Paris this fall.

White House officials said Tuesday’s meeting was intended to demonstrate that both countries were moving forward to meet the terms of their agreement. Last month, Mr. Obama unveiled a sweeping regulation aimed at forcing heavily polluting power plants to cut emissions, and the United States and China have submitted details of their national plans to the United Nations.

Brian Deese, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser on climate change, said the additional actions from cities, states and provinces could add momentum to those efforts. The administration also hopes that the announcements will quiet critics who say any climate deal will hamstring the United States and cede an economic advantage to China.

“Last year was about the U.S. and China making those commitments,” Mr. Deese said. “This year, having made those commitments, needs to be a year of implementation, as our two countries demonstrate commitment to implement those goals with concrete steps.”

The choice of Los Angeles for the meeting was no coincidence. California has by far the most aggressive state-level climate change policy in the country. The state, which has an economy larger than that of all but a handful of countries, has put in place a “cap and trade” system, in which an overall limit is imposed on greenhouse gas pollution, and companies buy and sell permits to pollute.

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The Star Tribune: China, EU seeking common approach on climate change ahead of Paris talks on carbon reductions

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

BEIJING — The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Tuesday she’s confident the EU and China can agree to a common approach on climate change ahead of crucial carbon reduction talks in Paris this year.

Federica Mogherini praised China’s targets for gradually reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and said the sides should be able to agree on other goals at an upcoming bilateral summit.

“On climate change, let me say that the European Union appreciates very much the role that China has been playing and is playing,” Mogherini told reporters in Beijing.

A unified EU-China approach will help make the Paris talks a success, something that is a “common joint responsibility,” she said.

A leading U.S. envoy for climate change expressed similar sentiments on a visit to Beijing in March. That appears to be raising hopes for a global plan to cut greenhouse emissions following the last U.N. climate summit in 2009 which ended without a significant agreement.

China is the world’s biggest emitter and has pledged to level off carbon emissions by around 2030. That commitment has garnered widespread affirmation, although some experts say China’s emissions need to peak much earlier to stave off major climate consequences.

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