Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Bishop takes us for mugs and insults China

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Yesterday, Julie Bishop said this in a statement:

The Chair of the Climate Change Authority, Mr Bernie Fraser, released a statement on 14 August noting that China’s emissions would increase by 72 to 96 per cent above 2005 levels by 2030.

The Australian Government disputes these figures.

China’s 2030 target will allow emissions to increase by around 150 per cent from 2005 levels when calculated on China’s national currency.

In saying that, she obviously thinks Australians are idiots, the press will report anything without examining it and the Chinese are a shifty lot who are intent on fiddling the books.

Because that is absolutely not true. There are a number of reasons as to why this cannot be the case.

  • China has also said their emissions will peak around 2030, before if possible. It is not possible to peak and be increasing emissions rapidly at the same time
  • The UNFCCC and Council of Parties had compliance mechanisms for the Kyoto Protocol and will again for any agreements
  • The pledge to have 20% non-carbon energy sources by 2030 is probably stricter than the intensity clause
  • Exchange rate and purchasing power parity divergence is relatively minor (Bishop’s statement is based on the assumption that it is large).

By making that statement, Bishop is sledging the Chinese, implying that they will lie and cheat to achieve their goals and taking us for idiots. These are the type of things a politician says when they don’t expect to be in government for very long. This kind of shifty legerdemain with figures is more redolent of Australian climate policy than it is of China’s climate policy.

For the record, this is what China say they will do:

Based on its national circumstances, development stage, sustainable development strategy and international responsibility, China has nationally determined its actions by 2030 as follows:

• To achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and making best efforts to peak early;

• To lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60% to 65% from the 2005 level;

• To increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20%; and

• To increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters on the 2005 level.

What’s the word when someone says something they know to be false?

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