Climate Change

By The Reader's Turn
The Reader's Turn
The Reader's Turn
September 1, 2021 Updated: September 1, 2021

Regrettably, the IPCC’s latest report missed the most important point—that China, India, Russia, and many other developing nations have zero intention of taking any meaningful action on climate change and that these third-world countries fully control our planet’s future.

On March 2, 2021, António Guterres, secretary-general of the U.N., insisted that all coal projects worldwide must be canceled now if humanity is going to have any chance of keeping the increase in the global average surface temperature below 2 degrees Celsius. But China and the others have no present intention of doing so as the following facts clearly demonstrate.

Since 2000, the world has doubled its coal-fired power capacity to around 2,045 GW (gigawatts) after explosive growth in China and India, and a further 200 GW is being built and 300 GW is planned. China has commissioned 38 GW in 2020, and this was more new coal-fired capacity than the rest of the world retired that year. Also, China has 88 GW of new coal-fired capacity under construction. Despite its pledge to cut its CO2 emissions starting in 2030, China has instead gone on a coal spree and presently has a total of 247 GW of coal power in planning and development, which is nearly six times Germany’s total coal-fired capacity.

Thus, China may not be serious about kicking that nation’s addiction to coal, and as a result, its 2060 carbon-neutral target is very unlikely to be achieved. This is disturbing news about the country that has 1050 GW of coal-fired plants, more than the rest of the world combined. It is even more compelling when one recognizes that China is also building 235 GW of coal-fired capacity in other nations.

Turning to the use of coal in the manufacturing process also paints a very dark picture. In 2019 (before COVID-19), Chinese manufacturing output represented 29 percent of the world’s total production while the U.S. contribution was only 17 percent. Perhaps the biggest user of industrial coal is the steel industry in the manufacturing of coke. For the last 25 years, China has ranked No. 1 in the annual production of steel, and since 2009, China’s annual steel output has outpaced the entire rest of the world combined.

In 2019, the global warming conference in Madrid ended in almost total failure. China, India, and many African nations are continuing to increase their consumption of coal, which resulted in a rise in CO2 emissions that year. According to the U.N., our planet must reduce total CO2 emissions by 7.6 percent every year if we want to avoid global warming of 2 degrees Celsius. Obviously, so far the world community is thus far only moving backward. Even The New York Times has reported the truth: “Several important greenhouse gas polluters were conspicuously silent” when it came time to make new pledges at President Biden’s recent 2021 climate summit. Australia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Russia offered no improved goals to cut back the burning of oil, natural gas, or coal in the production of electricity.

Given these political and economic realities, it may be time to admit that climate change may have to run its course and that there is little or nothing that the U.S. and the EU can do alone to halt this result. The bottom line is that global warming will have to be addressed almost entirely by China, India, and Russia, along with a number of developing nations like Indonesia, Mexico, and the rest.

 

Richard W. Burcik, author of “The DNA Lottery”

Pennsylvania

The Reader's Turn
The Reader's Turn