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When Worst-Case Scenarios Become Best-Case Scenarios

Environmental experts paint a bleak picture of the future when the subject comes to global warming. Now, it turns out because of the rapid increase in energy needs in China, what were originally worst-case scenarios for global warming will now, almost surely, turn into best-case scenarios.

This is because many of the decisions for new power plants and energy have been pushed from Beijing down to the provincial levels, and simply put, the provinces have more incentive to produce more energy than to decrease carbon emissions. What was a bad situation becomes much worse, not just for China, but for the whole world. While the US has previously been the world’s worst emitter of hydrocarbons, China is on the path to replacing the US to become a hydrocarbon emitting country on a much grander scale, and in a league of its own. This will lead to much greater condemnation of China in the international press and also in China’s more vocal domestic arena of public opinion which uses the Internet as its main venue.

Richard Carson, a professor at the University of San Diego, is the leading expert on China’s carbon emissions, and he has co-authored a paper on his measurements and forecasts for carbon emissions based on his on-the-ground work in China. You can read about it here.

One Response to “When Worst-Case Scenarios Become Best-Case Scenarios”

  1. Roger Lam says:

    I’ve read about this report on Newscientist and I am reminded of it everytime I see a power plant in China. Though you can’t say Kyoto Protocol is worthless, you have to wonder how much China’s cheap energy will be costing the world in the long run. When you hear just the INCREASE alone is more than UK or Germany’s current output, you have to really think twice about the effectiveness of Kyoto Protocol.

    “The researchers’ most conservative forecast predicts that by 2010, there will be an increase of 600 million metric tons of carbon emissions in China over the country’s levels in 2000. This growth from China alone would dramatically overshadow the 116 million metric tons of carbon emissions reductions pledged by all the developed countries in the Kyoto Protocol.”

    “…the projected annual increase in China alone over the next several years is greater than the current emissions produced by either Great Britain or Germany.”