China warns US: Back off or we’ll sink climate cooperation

By Paul Homewood

Inevitably China, already emboldened, are flexing their muscles after the Biden disaster show in Afghanistan:


Unsurprisingly, Biden’s credibility crisis is being exploited by China which is demanding that the US back off challenging China’s political and economic ambitions or face opposition to Biden’s climate agenda.

In a video meeting with US climate envoy John Kerry China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that

the US has made a major strategic misjudgement against China. Now that the ball is in the US court, the US should stop seeing China as a threat and opponent, and stop the whole world from besieging and suppressing China…”

The main problem a significantly weakened US administration now faces is that after the humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, Joe Biden and his climate envoy look rather weak. Having made the climate and Net Zero agenda his key policy priority, Biden is inviting China’s leaders to call his bluff and challenge the US head on.

China tells U.S. prolonged tensions would hurt climate cooperation

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has told U.S. climate envoy John Kerry that prolonged tensions between the world’s two major powers would make it difficult for them to work together in the climate field, according to official Chinese media.

Wang’s remarks on Wednesday came as Beijing has been at odds with Washington over several issues, including its alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong, and security challenges to Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Kerry, secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, has been in China’s Tianjin since Tuesday. He and Wang held talks by video link, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The United States had described climate change cooperation as an “oasis” of China-U.S. relations, but if it is all surrounded by deserts, then sooner or later the oasis will turn to desert, Wang was quoted by Xinhua as telling Kerry.

China-U.S. cooperation on climate change serves the interests of both sides and the world as well as enjoying broad development prospects, but such cooperation cannot be sustained without an improvement in bilateral relations, Wang said.

Wang also urged the United States to stop viewing China as a threat and rival, cease containing and suppressing the Asian nation, and take concrete steps to improve ties, according to Xinhua.

Kerry told Wang that the United States is willing to join hands with China to enhance dialogue, demonstrate leadership and set an example for meeting goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

No doubt a lot of this is bluster, as China has long made it clear that it will look after its own interests and nobody else’s, and that includes climate change. But sadly it looks increasingly likely that Biden/Kerry will go soft on the other issues, in a vain attempt to do a deal on climate.

But more significant is this bit of news from National Review:



Xi Jinping’s emissions-trading scheme shows no indication that it will curb the country’s growing appetite for coal, oil, or natural gas — but it was never meant to.
As planned, China’s new emissions-trading scheme (ETS) is doing nothing to reduce its emissions.
Launched in July,
the ETS encompasses 2,200 companies that operate coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants — facilities responsible for 40 percent of China’s total greenhouse-gas emissions. It builds upon pilot programs in seven delimited regions — including Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing — that began in 2013.
On the opening trading day, July 16, 2021,
allowances to emit one ton of carbon dioxide swapped for between 50 and 53 yuan ($7.72 to $8.18), roughly equal to the cost of permits in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, in which eleven states along the U.S. Atlantic Coast participate. By August 20, prices had dropped to 49 yuan, or $7.57.
At $7.57, the permit trading price is
84 percent lower than the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates would be necessary to effectively drive down China’s emissions.
The foremost problem with China’s ETS, however, is not the price at which permits are trading. Instead, the problem is that the plan revolves around “emissions intensity” — a term of art denoting the ratio of emissions to power generation — rather than around absolute volumes of emissions.
China’s scheme allocates tradable permits free of charge to existing power entities as a function of their operations’ emissions intensity and historical power output. The plan places no firm upper bound on the sector’s emissions, nor does it set a timetable for doing so. According to the
International Carbon Action Partnership, an intergovernmental climate-policy monitoring group, the nominal cap will be adjusted ex post facto based on actual power-production levels.
While the ETS does introduce an incentive for companies to generate lower-emissions electricity, climate change is precipitated by absolute volumes, not by ratios. This structure guarantees that the power sector’s cumulative emissions will continue to increase.
“Unlike other ETSs,” writes
Carbon Brief’s Hongqiao Liu, “the Chinese scheme does not currently put a fixed cap on emissions, nor promises a declining cap over time. Therefore, it is not guaranteed to cut carbon.”
Whereas programs such as the
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the European Union ETS have firm emissions limits for the sectors they cover and offer fewer permits over time, China’s scheme takes the “cap” out of “cap-and trade.” In so doing, it grants its sanction to the Chinese power sector’s continued emissions increases.
“The current design, this intensity-based target that you allow emissions to increase, that is not very helpful,”
says Yan Qin, economist and lead carbon analyst at Refinitiv.
However much the
scheme may have been hailed, this emperor wears no clothes. Even if we account for an intensity-based system’s low expectations, China’s ETS will encounter another set of hurdles around compliance and enforcement.
China differs from the countries and subnational regions that have implemented emissions trading in that its political system begets corruption. According to Transparency International’s
2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, China ranks below 77 other countries, including places such as Cuba and Belarus.

I have highlighted the key paragraph. In short, The more electricity that fossil fuel generators produce, the more carbon allowances they are given.

+Clearly China’s new scheme is a sham.


September 3, 2021 at 01:24PM

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