Economy, Regs, & Taxes

China Games the Climate Change Conference

The Paris summit is going to cost us a pretty penny.

Paul Albaugh · Dec. 9, 2015
The smog in China's eye

After a week of climate change talks in Paris, there remains much uncertainty regarding the end result. For all of the hope and hype that Team Obama has put into this summit (not to mention all the emissions for everyone to get there), for now it looks like the United States and western nations will achieve very little from a global perspective on actually reducing CO2 emissions. But it’s still going to cost us a pretty penny, while China laughs all the way to the bank.

Recall that the central focus on these talks is that both developed and developing nations must commit to reducing carbon emissions so that we can prevent the global temperature from increasing more than two degrees Celsius. Without doing so, a parade of horribles awaits, they tell us. In the eyes of so many world “leaders,” this perceived threat remains more of a pressing concern than real threats.

Just last week, Barack Obama attempted to give us a history lesson on climate change. “As human beings are placed under strain, then bad things happen,” he lectured. “And, you know, if you look at world history, whenever people are desperate, when people start lacking food, when people are not able to make a living or take care of their families, that's when ideologies arise that are dangerous.”

In other words, climate change causes all the real security threats, so let’s hamstring the economy to fight it.

Obama was clearly trying to tie the BIG Lie of man-made global warming to the rise of the Islamic State in an effort to deflect the spike in terror from being tied to Islam. Fortunately, most people aren’t buying this lie. Climate remains pretty low on most Americans’ priorities lists when so many are dying at the hands of jihadis around the world.

As Hot Air’s Bruce McQuain writes, “Lately the meme has been that ISIS is a result of climate change (even though, for the past 10 years, the climate hasn’t changed). We’ve been treated to all sorts of theories masquerading as ‘proof’ that climate change is real. We’ve watched the alarmists ignore contrary data and continue to tell their big lie.”

In the midst of all this hyperbole, China, which has received much attention from the talks in Paris, has given the perception that they are one of the developing nations committed to addressing CO2 emissions. Except that by its actions and plans, this is hardly the case.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris, we should be wary of China’s commitment to reduce emissions. China remains the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, and that isn’t going to change any time soon. China is constructing 350 coal-fired power plants and has plans to build another 800. As Loris notes, “This is the country that we’re going to trust to peak emissions 15 years from now?”

And so much for China agreeing to reach its supposed reduction targets that it had agreed to prior to the Paris talks.

The Wall Street Journal notes, “In 2013 China burned 3.9 billion tons of coal, almost as much as the rest of the world.” Further, “Last week Beijing suffered several days of heavy pollution in which the most hazardous particulates in the air exceeded safe levels by 25 times.”

So while Obama is committed to closing down coal plants here in the U.S. and pushing for energy mandates on everything from appliances to landfills that will increase the cost of energy and lead to a lower standard of living, China and other developing countries will continue to focus on boosting their economies through emissions.

As another Wall Street Journal Column observes, “Energy-intensive industries like manufacturing, chemicals, cement and pulp and paper will be particular victims and may decamp for overseas. The President is trading away the competitive advantage of cheap U.S. natural gas for a bag of anticarbon promises.”

If the Paris talks accomplish anything, it won’t be reining in CO2 emissions. But if the talks end up producing any results, it will be massive redistribution of wealth on a global scale. Somebody will have to pay for these mandates and it won’t be China or India — or any other developing country for that matter. The developed nations will be paying for it. Well played China, well played.

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