The main objective of the Obama-Xi agreement commits China “to begin cutting carbon omissions 16 years from now.” Charles Krauthammer in NRO points out that under the Obama-Xi agreement “the U.S. must double its current rate of carbon cutting to meet a new, more restrictive goal by 2025.” China, however, will continue increasing its carbon emissions not only throughout that period, but also for five years beyond 2025. Read here from Mr. Krauthammer the fraud of the Obama-Xi agreement, which commits the U.S. to drastic CO2 cuts on a hope and a prayer—a verbal agreement with the world’s #1 carbon polluter.
The only way forward on greenhouse gases is global reduction by global agreement. A pact with China would be a good start.
Unfortunately, the Obama–Xi agreement is nothing of the sort. It is a fraud of Gruberian (as in Jonathan) proportions. Its main plank commits China to begincutting carbon emissions 16 years from now. On the other hand, the United States must double its current rate of carbon cutting to meet a new, more restrictive goal by 2025, in return for which China will keep increasing its carbon emissions year after year throughout that period — and for five years beyond.
If this sounds like the most one-sided deal since Manhattan sold for $24 in 1626, you heard right. It becomes even more absurd when you realize that, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, China was on track to plateau its carbon emissions around 2030 anyway because of a projected slowdown in urbanization, population growth, and heavy industry production. We cut, they coast.
The carbon-emission graph is stark. China’s line is nearly vertical; America’s is already inflected and headed downward. The Obama–Xi agreement simply ratifies U.S. unilateralism — the U.S. line declines even more steeply, while China’s continues rocketing upward unmolested.
Proponents of the Obama–Xi deal will then point to a second provision: China’s promise to produce 20 percent of its energy from non-carbon sources by 2030. But China had already been planning to begin substituting for its immense use of fossil fuels (mainly by using nuclear power) because Chinese cities are being choked to death by their traditional pollutants — sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury compounds, particulates, etc.
These are serious health hazards. CO2 is not. Whatever its atmospheric effects, CO2 does not poison the air. So in return for yet another Chinese transition that has nothing to do with CO2, Obama has committed the U.S. to drastic CO2 cuts.
Moreover, beyond substance, there is process. Or more accurately, its absence. What’s the structure to sustain and verify the agreement? Where are the benchmarks? What are the enforcement mechanisms? This is just a verbal promise. Nothing more. Sixteen years from now, China is supposed to remind the world of its commitments and begin cutting?