Comparing US to Chinese Emissions Pledges

The climate pledges that the Chinese and US have agreed to are a “glass half full”.  Its an agreement, and some have applauded it as the Guardian’s “China makes larger pledges than US”.

However, this article makes a compelling argument with data that the agreement is not likely to mean much by itself.  The charts tell a story of dramatically higher Chinese emissions over the last ten years, and its hard to see how they reduce to the levels needed to stop us from a 2 degree rise.

From the Guardian last month:

Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were among the few who issued negative public statements about the climate agreement. McConnell in particular badly misunderstood the practical consequences of the Chinese and American carbon pledges, saying,

As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country,

Senator McConnell misunderstood the Chinese target of reaching peak carbon pollution levels by 2030 as a pledge to “do nothing.” In reality, China has been developing rapidly with hundreds of millions of citizens rising out of poverty, thus demanding more energy. Much of that demand has been met with new coal power plants; China has added one and a half times the entire US coal power plant fleet in just the past decade. As a result, Chinese carbon pollution has been rising fast.

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