Success is Not an Option

When 120 world leaders meet to discuss action on climate change, it is a sure bet that optics will trump substance. The leaders will claim success even though it is unlikely that anything of substance will be accomplished.

Emerging economies will demand that the developed world commit billions of dollars in compensation for the emissions problem that they created and provide various forms of subsidies so that the emerging economies can achieve their economic aspirations.

It is noteworthy that the Chancellor of Germany, the President of China and the Prime Minister of India are going to be no-shows. That is a clear sign that not much should be expected and that is an outcome that is good for global economic growth.

President Obama will trumpet the actions that are being taken by EPA as if they matter. Even if CO2 was the warming agent that the climate establishment claims, our reductions would have an infinitesimal affect on future warming. The goal of stabilizing or reducing global emissions of CO2 is a fool’s errand. Recently Donn Dears released an analysis that makes clear why:

“While the EPA is issuing regulations that will result in fewer coal-fired power plants in the United States, Asian countries are ramping up their use of coal.

Most people are aware that China and India are building a large number of new coal-fired power plants, many of them Ultra-supercritical plants that are far more efficient than plants built in the United States… Approximately 75% of all proposed new coal-fired power plants in the developing world are to be built in China and India… , “

.“But what most people are not aware of is that other Asian countries are also building new coal-fired power plants. The population of some of these countries is large, and when taken together are significant…

What these countries have in common with China and India is the need for economic growth, as each have GDP per capita comparable with that of India ($1,516) or lower than that of China ($6,070). For comparison purposes, U.S. per capita GDP is $51,163 and the EU’s is $32,507. Note: GDP data is from United Nations.

Indonesia plans for an additional 100,000 MW of new power generation capacity by 2035, while increasing its share of coal from 44% in 2011 to near 60% in 2035.

Indonesia also has significant reserves of natural gas, but plans not to use natural gas for power generation, preferring instead to export it as LNG, thereby improving its balance of payments.

Other countries in this grouping plan similar increases in coal-fired generation: Thailand to add 55,000 MW by 2035, 35% of which will be coal. Philippines to add 41,000 MW, mostly coal, which increases coal’s share to over 55% by 2035.

Overall, the IEA estimates that by 2035, half of all power generation for the ASEAN-10 will be coal-fired, compared with only one-third today. (The ASEAN-10 includes Singapore, Brunei, and Laos which are in addition to the earlier list, but does not include Pakistan or Bangladesh.)

The IEA estimates that the ASEAN-10 will increase its power generation capacity from 176,000 MW today, to 460,000 MW by 2035, of which 40% will be coal-fired…

Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to force reductions in CO2 emissions by requiring the closure of coal-fired power plants in the United States.

The Obama administration and EPA’s stated goal is to cut total U.S. CO2 emissions 80% by 2050.”

These data on the increased burning of coal by emerging economies should make clear that stabilization, much less reduction is not going to be achieved.

If the 16 year hiatus in warming continues for another 4 years, it will be increasingly difficult for the climate establishment to continue to push for economically punishing emissions reductions. The credibility of this collection of self-serving rent seekers continues to decline and as it does their desperation increases.


This article appeared on the National Journal’s Energy Insiders weblog at

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