The Futility Of Western De-Carbonisation

  • Date: 18/06/19
  • Ed Hoskins

It is clear that CO2 emissions are continuing to grow incrementally in the Developing World.  This should be anticipated to continue indefinitely.

2018 Global CO2 emissions

The following calculations and graphics are based on information on worldwide CO2 emissions published by BP in June 2019 for the period from 1965 up until the end of 2018.

The pie diagram above shows the proportion of CO2 emissions as of the end of 2018.

The previous post for the end of 2017 is available here

The data showing the progress of CO2 emissions by 2018 in the Developed and Developing worlds can be summarised as follows:

Screenshot 2019-06-13 at 09.43.58.png

Some initial points arising from the BP data:

* Having been relatively stable overall for the last 7 years, global CO2 emissions grew by ~2.0% in 2018.  2.5% of this growth was in the Developing world whereas 1.1% of the growth was in the Developed world.  This growth of ~650,000,000 tonnes in the year was despite all the international “commitments” arising from the Paris Climate Agreement.

* The contrast between the Developed and Developing worlds remains stark:

— developing world emissions overtook Developed world CO2 emissions in 2005

— they have been escalating ever since the likely prognosis of their CO2 emissions that they will continue to grow and accelerate.

* Since 1990 CO2 emissions from the Developed world have decreased, whereas the Developing world has shown a fourfold increase since 1985.  This change is mainly due to:

— the Off-shoring of major industries to parts of the world that have less rigorous environmental standards or who care less about CO2 emissions

— the use of natural gas for electricity generation as opposed to coal as in the USA

— the growing use of Coal firing for electricity generation in the Developing world supported by Chinese technology exports.

— Weather Dependent Renewables have made very little contribution to this reduction is at all:  when looked at in the round, from manufacture to demolition they are nether CO2 nor energy neutral

* CO2 emissions in the Developing world are accelerating as the quality of the lives for people in the underdeveloped and developing worlds are progressively improving.  Even so at least 1.12 billion people in the Developing world still have no access to reliable electricity.

* As a result CO2 emissions / head for India and the rest of the world’s Underdeveloped nations (~53% of the world population) remains very low at ~1.8 tonnes / head, (~40% of the Global average) meaning that their state of serious human deprivation and underdevelopment is continuing but it is progressively being rectified.

* By 2018 CO2 emissions from the Developing world were some 62% of the global emissions.

* India and the underdeveloped world will certainly be continuing to promote their own development to attain comparable development levels to their other peer group developing nations.

* India’s growth in CO2 emissions 2017 – 2018 was by a further 7.0%

* China, (still considered here as a “Developing Nation”, according to its un-concerned attitude to the Paris climate accord),  showed domestic CO2 emission growth of 2.14% in 2018.  However China is also promoting the use of coal-firing for electricity generation domestically and across the developing world with some 300 new Coal-fired plants currently in the pipeline.

* At 6.7 tonnes / head China’s CO2 emissions for its population of some 1.42 billion has now approached the average CO2 emissions / head achieved in Europe.

* China’s CO2 emissions / head was already higher than most of the EU Nations other than Germany.

Even as long ago as October 2010 Professor Richard Muller made the dilemma for all those who hope to control global warming by reducing CO2 emissions, particularly by means of CO2 reductions from Western Nations, clear:  in essence he said:

“the Developing World is not joining-in with CO2 emission reductions nor should it have any intention of doing so.  The failure of worldwide action negates the unilateral action of any individual Western Nation”.

To bring the current but growing underdeveloped world population:

*up to the present Global average CO2 emissions at 4.4 tonnes /head will imply a further 6,643,000,000 tones of CO2 per annum or an annual output of 40,328,000,000 tonnes, an increase of +~20%

* up to the present Chinese and European average of CO2 emissions at 6.7 tonnes /head will imply a further 20,217,000,000 tones of CO2 per annum or an annual output of 54,000,000,000 tonnes, an increase of +~60%

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