Climate change: Have countries kept their promises?

Guest post by Mike Jonas

The UK’s BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has just published an assessment of five “countries” and how well they have kept their “climate” promises. The five “countries” are the UK, Australia, EU, China, and the Philipinnes. The article is by Matt McGrath.

Before I continue, please look at the names of the five “countries”, and without knowing anything about the data that the BBC used and how they did the assessment, ask yourself which ones the BBC will give a “pass” to.

…..

Matt McGrath presents a chart for each “country”:

My expectations, knowing that Matt McGrath’s assessment would be highly politically charged, was for a Pass for EU and China, a Fail for Australia, and a don’t know for UK and Philippines. Why were Australia and the Philippines included, instead of much more important CO2 emitters like India or Japan? The reason for inclusion of Australia is pretty obvious – one purpose of the article was to make Australia look bad (remember, Australia was excluded from the recent virtual “climate” conference, so it’s more important than ever for Australia now to look bad). The reason for including the Philippines is less obvious to me, maybe they wanted a lesser country in the list so that Australia wasn’t obviously in a different league to the others (suggestions, anyone?).

Looking at those charts, what can we see?

1. Australia was assessed “excluding forestry”. Why exclude forestry? Nothing was excluded for the others. Well, I think the answer is here:

[Australia’s] emissions from the land sector decreased 80% between 2005 and 2016

{..} Queensland land sector GHG emissions decreased from 97.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 1990 to 12 MtCO2e in 2016

[I don’t have Australia’s total, but Queensland is a large part]. Matt McGrath would have been unable to make Australia look so bad if he had looked at the whole picture. Dishonesty in certain quarters knows no bounds. It probably took him quite a while to work out how he could fiddle Australia’s numbers. With forestry included, Australia would have been the only one of the five that was well ahead of its 2020 and projected 2030 targets.

2. The percentage change and total change in CO2 emissions over the 1990(ish)-2019 period shown in the charts were (approx):

UK: -45% (-350Mt)

Australia (excluding forestry): +30% (+135Mt)

EU: -30% (-170Mt)

China: +350% (+10,500Mt)

Philippines: +30% (+110Mt)

When you are sea-sick, always remember to go to the leeward (downwind) side of the boat, so that you don’t get your own back. The UK and EU have made themselves rather ill with their “climate” efforts, but when they look at China’s numbers, they must feel like they went to the windward side. Only it wasn’t their own that they got back.

The BBC’s assessment of whether the five “countries” had kept their promises was:

UK: “mostly yes”.

Australia: “not really”.

EU: “mostly yes”.

China: “mostly yes, but with some caveats”

Philippines: “its actions to date are compatible with keeping warming well below 2C this century”.

My assessment is that this article is so highly politicised that it is just a sick joke.

There is a perfectly good reason for the USA not to be in the BBC article – they are not in the Paris agreement – but just for interest, their 1990-2019 numbers are (approx):

USA:  0% (0Mt) – 4,800Mt in 1990, 5,800Mt in 2007, 4,800Mt in 2019 (data from here and here).

The BBC article is at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55222890. I have not checked whether Matt McGrath’s numbers are correct. He gives no sources. Anyone who believes the projections in the China chart is surely in cloud-cuckoo land.

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December 13, 2020 at 12:44PM

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