John Kerry And The Reality Of CO2 Emissions

Give John Kerry credit for persistence if not realism. President Biden’s climate envoy keeps demanding the end of fossil fuels while the world continues to blow through his apocalyptic warnings.

A new report in time for the COP28 climate conference in Dubai says that global CO2 emissions will hit a new peak this year. [emphasis, links added]

But Mr. Kerry keeps berating American fossil fuels producers though U.S. emissions are on track to fall 4% in 2023. The big problem: China’s emissions are set to rise by twice as much as the U.S. decline.

The Global Carbon Project estimates that worldwide CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels will increase by 1.1% this year. That represents a slowdown from the last two decades.

Yet emissions would have to drop by 9% annually to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Mr. Kerry rapped U.S. oil and gas producers at this week’s United Nations climate confab for not doing enough.

“We have no real evidence that and a lot of others are doing what every company needs to do,” he said. Well, actually, there is evidence that oil and gas producers are helping reduce emissions.

U.S. and European emissions this year are projected to fall by a combined 0.4 gigatons of CO2—about as much as 87 million gas-powered cars generate—owing largely to natural gas replacing coal.

Increased U.S. natural gas production, especially in the Marcellus and Permian shale basins, drove down domestic prices and displaced coal power.

U.S. coal emissions this year will be roughly half as much as in 2015. Liquefied natural gas exports to Europe also helped replace Russian gas while a relatively warm winter reduced demand for heating fuel.

Not that the West’s emissions reductions will matter much as long as China and India continue to build more coal plants.

China’s emissions this year are set to climb by 0.5 gigatons while India’s will increase by 0.3 gigatons.

Last year China approved 106 gigawatts of new coal power, four times as much as in 2021 and about as much as the peak electricity demand in France and Britain combined.

Western leaders can keep tilting at windmills while China burns more coal.

Irony alert: China’s National Development and Reform Commission says that at least 200 gigawatts of coal capacity will be needed to support its solar and wind energy build-out.

Beijing has figured out what President Biden and the climate left haven’t: Solar and wind energy can provide cheap power at the margin but must be backed up by fossil fuels or nuclear power.

Batteries are getting better, but they are still expensive and can’t scale.

In other words, in the name of reducing CO2 emissions, China is increasing CO2 emissions. That more or less sums up the failure of the climate lobby.

Read more at WSJ

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