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China going cold on carbon market? Cites Australia and US

Another day is The Backdown? Everything is more important than carbon action these days. In China, real pollution is trumping the fake kind. China has been toying with carbon markets, but this month announced they might have to back away. (The shame!)

[Reuters]  “…the all-out efforts to combat China’s disastrous pollution levels might get in the way of plans to tax carbon dioxide emissions in a bid to stunt the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions, Zhu Guangyao, the vice environment minister, said.

“We have to reflect the requests of the majority through many consultation rounds,” he told the Beijing Morning Post from the sidelines of China’s annual parliamentary sessions.

A carbon tax is increasingly controversial among lawmakers, said Zhu, adding that an environment tax would be easier to push through without carbon in the mix.

Zhu also referred to the fact that Australia, under a new conservative government, is trying to abolish its carbon tax, while a price on carbon has been blocked in the United States.”

China’s carbon markets were never serious anyway –  the glorious plan was to launch seven pilot trading schemes –  and each new market was an excuse for environmental activists to issue press releases and proclaim “success” and “momentum”. It was all about the number of new markets opening (not the number of degrees the world would cool).  In reality, even these pilot schemes were a pile of tokens (so to speak) — most of the credits were given out for free. The fines for non-compliance were minimal. It almost looks like it was designed with PR in mind?

I’m pleased to see they have noticed the general direction of the Australian Carbon Market (and the oath to axe it). Julia Gillard wanted us to be leaders. What can I say?

Getting back to the real world, smog matters to the citizens of China (not CO2) and interestingly the rise of social media is giving them a voice (at least according to the RTCC — Responding to Climate Change, site):

[RTTC] China’s growing  middle class is venting its anger about worsening pollution on social media, meaning the government is looking for fast results.

“For central government air quality has taken prominence over climate policy,” said Thomas Wyns, a Brussels-based expert on emissions trading with environmental groups.

Even within China a scheme that isn’t national just shifts pollution. The irony. Just as the West curtailed production and shifted factories to China (and elsewhere). The Chinese worry that the same process will  also occur again within China where local schemes punish local businesses, and the businesses shift to a different province with more business friendly taxes.

Only a national carbon trading scheme and an ambitious cap on emissions would prevent the shifting of emissions away from crowded, relatively prosperous coastal regions to the coal-rich interior, Zhang, an advisor to China’s State Council told RTCC.

It’s a mixed message though:

China tells firms to start reporting carbon emissions

[Business Spectator] Thousands of companies across China must start reporting their greenhouse gas emissions under a government plan to build a nationwide emissions database ahead of launching a national carbon market.

How serious was China? It didnt even have the data on emissions to start with.

h.t To Eric

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66 comments to China going cold on carbon market? Cites Australia and US

  • #

    The good thing about the comments made by Zhu Guangyao, vice environment minister of The People’s Republic of China, is that he is making a clear distinction between the issue of invisible and non-toxic carbon dioxide and the issue of visible and toxic pollution in the form of sooty black smoke.

    These two issues are run together and conflated all the time. I have seen many instances on The Australian ABC Television network of this conflation between two issues. Quite often, when they want to talk about carbon dioxide, they show images of smoke stacks with black smoke billowing out. This is an untruthful and misleading depiction.
    I have complained to ABC Television several times about this and I have just been ignored or stonewalled. I have even sent them still photographs of the top of power station smoke stacks at a major power station in the Hunter Valley. They ignore it and, I believe, couldn’t care less about depicting the truth of what carbon dioxide ‘looks’ like.

    The issue of black sooty smoke is definitely pollution and must be controlled. The issue of carbon dioxide is a different issue and, if the public discussion about carbon dioxide is ever to become more rigorous, the distinction has to be made.

    I’m not just attacking the ABC here – I have noticed the same thing on commercial channels as well. But the fact is, I hardly watch any commercial TV because, sadly, I am basically an ABC snob and have been all my life. I wonder why at times.

    Anyway, full points to Zhu Guangyao, a man in a senior governmental position who is starting to enunciate this distinction clearly in a public forum.

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    • #
      edwina

      True. They show these sooty stacks more instead of the water vapour rising from large water storages. People were wising up to that fraudulent footage.

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      • #
        DT

        As with the Carbon Cate television advertisement showing a long ago closed down British coal fired power station in the background, the design that was abandoned to reduce pollution.

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    • #
      Rod Stuart

      Viv Forbes did this little piece on the subject. Perhaps in time this realisation will become more commonplace.

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    • #
      gnome

      Those chimneys the ABC and SBS show aren’t anything to do with power generation and that isn’t black smoke they are putting out.

      What they are, are sugar mill chimneys putting out steam from the sugar refining process. I did a rough calculation once on the Tully sugar mill and figured out that one chimney puts about a million tonnes of water out (conservatively) during the crushing season (which from memory comes to about one 44 gallon drum of water every minute for five months- someone may wish to refresh my esimates). The cane juice gets evaporated, washed, evaporated, washed over and over until it is as refined as they want it. Less for raw sugar, more for white sugar.

      It makes for a spectacular billow of chimney emission, but it is gleaming white in the sun. Like black clouds everywhere, it looks dark underneath because the sunlight doesn’t shine through. You don’t think of cumulus clouds being made of sooty black stuff do you?

      In one of the pictures they sometimes use you can see the sugar mill machinery in the background. You can’t work out which mill it is because many mills are very similar in layout.

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      • #
        Graeme No.3

        They also use a B & W picture showing a power station with a row of chimneys belching black smoke. (It was definitely black smoke).

        That was the Battersea power station in London which stopped operating in 1974.

        Josef Goebbels is chuckling in his grave.

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        • #

          Graeme 3, there was no black smoke coming out of a power station stack when operating properly at full load. However, regularly -maybe once per week depending on coal quality, there would be a soot blow which lasts from 3 to 5 minutes. That is when there would be some black smoke.
          You should not believe everything you read and unless you have actual experience it might be best not to comment.

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          • #

            I should have added that applied to old power stations with stoker grates which did not have flue gas cleaning. All pulverised coal fired boiler had some form of flue gas cleaning, some had scrubbers in which the gas was cleaned with water sprays. Modern boilers have either Electrostatic Precipitators or bag filters both can get down to 10mg/m3 ( less than dust levels of windborne ambient air) of dust emission which is no longer visible in any light.

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          • #
            Graeme No.3

            cementafriend:
            Your correction doesn’t seem to have been favourably received. Possibly ex-Londoners who recall the days when Battersea was known as The Big Smoke.
            “I grew up in Battersea, though I have long left it by now, In the sixties smoke bellowed from its chimneys and from miles around you could see..”
            “Not so long ago it reached a suffocating density when smoke gushed from mighty industrial plants like Battersea Power Station in a London that was dubbed ‘The Big Smoke’.”

            You are quite correct about modern power stations but Battersea was old and tired by the time it shut down. Possibly you are unaware that it had the first scrubber installed in a coal fired station but that ceased operation about 1960. Also “The impact of all this coal-burning on the environment was exacerbated because Britain was exporting its high-quality coal abroad and burning a low-grade variety”
            I still maintain that a picture of Battersea emitting smoke was possible and likely.
            http://www.heritage-explorer.co.uk/web/he/searchdetail.aspx?id=3594&crit=
            is the best a quick look could find. Note from the faint shadow the sun isn’t being the plume, thus ruling out one of the greenies favourite tricks.

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            • #

              Graeme 3, Sorry if I was a bit harsh. I did say if a stoker grate boiler was operated properly there should be no black smoke. British black coal quality is pretty good (maybe not as good as the majority of Australian steam coal-due to the latter having higher volatiles and so burning better). Is it possible to blame the unions for poor operation? Certainly, when I visited in mid 1970′s and again in the mid 1980′s there was a lot of concern about union action which was destroying British industry. In the mid 1980′s I visited a plant just after a tour by Mrs Thatcher. Everyone (and I mean everyone including those on the plant floor) were in awe of her stamina, her knowledge of the processes and her understanding of costs.
              I have not been to Battersby. I suppose I should have looked it up on the internet. I see that all the boilers were B&W make fired by pulverised coal from B&W mills (E mills). They had scrubbers which were stopped in the 1960′s -after that there may have been some black smoke particularly at low load. (in your picture one stack of station B has black smoke -maybe low load or soot blowing but the one beside is clear, the station A seems to be closed). The early E mills had poor efficiency classifiers, and often were undersized. If the fired coal particle size is too high with low volatile coal then some unburnt carbon could remain in the flyash. maybe a combination of poor operation, change of coal source, and inadequate design which was not rectified by adequate capital expenditure.
              Modern coal fired power stations are clean if operated and maintained properly.

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              • #
                Graeme No.3

                It is often overlooked that in Australia we lacked the density of industry and the lack of standards which applied, particularly in the USA. London and some other British cities were also bad.
                It was a combination of old plants and regulatory inertia to change what had “always been like that”. e.g. in the late ’70 a plating shop in the USA dropped their misbehaving zinc cyanide baths into the river that ran alongside, killing all the fish. As there was a city 50km downstream drawing their drinking water from the river there was some official annoyance. The plating shop operator was indignant, “I’ve been doing that for 25 years”. There was such a flow of water that the cyanide was bio-degraded rapidly.

                In Australia we tended to have small plants and their faults weren’t so easily overlooked. I remember the Chief Engineer erupting from his office to peer at the boiler chimney, which was showing a faint haze. He’d been rung up by a neighbouring factory enquiring “are your boiler men certified?”

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      • #

        No, Gnome, I’m NOT talking about steam or water vapour rising from the cooling towers of power stations or any other industrial process. (More accurately, I’m not talking about ‘condensed’ water vapour – you can’t actually see water vapour either when it is in its true state as ‘water gas’)

        I have lived in the Hunter Valley for long enough, close to several major power stations, to understand the difference. I am talking specifically about when the ABC shows sooty black smoke to underpin their story about anything to do with carbon dioxide. In one of my complaints to the ABC I received back a rather condescending email about cooling towers and condensed water vapour and so on. The gist of the reply from the ABC was that I was a bit silly and didn’t understand what water vapour was.

        What you are doing in your reply to my comment is another case of conflation. Condensed water vapour is not sooty black smoke. I understand the difference. I’m talking about sooty black smoke.

        (Now, to give ABC TV just a tiny bit of wriggle room, it can be pretty hard to photograph power stations from the air without getting the cooling towers (and therefore the condensed water vapour) in the frame somewhere. But, if they tried a little bit harder, I’m sure they would be able to manage – I did by just going out there to a hill near the Bayswater Power Station and just using the zoom function on my camera. The resultant image just showed the top of a concrete chimney stack with clear blue sky behind it. I’m sure, with the lavish funding of the ABC, they could do the same.)

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        • #
          gnome

          Sugar mills don’t use cooling towers, they put the water out of the chimneys. If you see it bellowing, it’s steam. If it looks black, it is because you are looking at the shady side.

          Like I said, the ABC and SBS use footage of sugar mill chimneys, you can see sugar mill machinery in one bit of footage they us. They don’t have any footage of sooty black smoke. Their power station footage usually shows a line of smokestacks and a few cooling towers, all putting out wisps of white (I think its Morwell), but they don’t use that when hey want to show chimneys belching smoke.

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          • #

            Re Gnome and the sugar mills. So why does ABC use pictures of condensed water vapour from a sugar mill to depict anything to do with carbon dioxide?

            There is not an atom of carbon anywhere near a molecule of condensed water vapour. Water vapour is H20, carbon dioxide is CO2.

            So what is the point of showing this when it can so easily be confused in the viewer’s perception? A reasonable viewer might conclude, ‘The ABC news reader is talking about carbon dioxide and I am seeing background images of something that looks like thick black smoke. Therefore, carbon dioxide must have something to do with black sooty smoke.’ This, of course, would be an inaccurate conclusion formed by the viewer but the viewer would have been led to the inaccurate conclusion by the combination of words and images presented by our national broadcaster.

            Surely the message this conveys is still untruthful and misleading.

            Now, if the ABC’s point is to tell us that water vapour is a global warming gas, then they would be correct. And, if this was their point, then it might bring about a beneficial result because it would then lead on to a discussion of the role of water vapour as a global warming gas and this, in turn, might lead on to the role of feedbacks and assumptions made about climate sensitivity in the models.

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            • #
              gnome

              They do it because people look at it and say “look at all that black smoke going into the atmosphere”. Do you think they care about the reality?

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    • #
      Bones

      They ignore it and, I believe, couldn’t care less about depicting the truth of what carbon dioxide ‘looks’ like.

      Welcome David to your ABC.If the story does not support the labor/gangreen theme,then it will be full of misleading info and crap.Please don’t forget that facts do not make a good story.
      What does CO2 look like anyway.Could it look like a life giving substance used by nearly every living thing on the planet.NO,that can’t be it,sorry,another seniors moment.

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    • #
      Bulldust

      Rio Tinto energy boss told people to stop wasting their time with “idealistic discussions” about climate change – fossil fuels are here to stay:

      http://www.smh.com.au/business/rio-tinto-touts-coal-future-over-climate-idealism-20140320-355wy.html

      Can’t wait for the “Big Coal” rants against his common sense arguments. Just in case people need a refresher on the magnitude of fossil fuels in Australia’s economy, here’s the stats that don’t change much from year to year in graphical form:

      http://www.australianminesatlas.gov.au/mapping/files/australian_energy_flows_2010-11.pdf

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    • #
      Peter Carabot

      I used to be an ABC snob, I cannot stand any longer the constant misrepresentation of facts, the bias the left wing arguments and so on! Totally unbalanced, vitriolic and warmist to boot! Just Friday, I think, they had another warmist from the states that said over and over again that the science is settled!! Have I ever heard any of the skeptics on the ABC? NO! Am I attacking the ABC and their concited ideas? YES!

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  • #
    handjive

    Beijing is waging a war against air pollution, one barbecue at a time.

    UN climate chief: Communism is best to fight global warming
    China is “is “doing it right” when it comes to fighting global warming says Figueres.
    . . .
    Global Warming: The last refuge of fascists, totalitarians and their coterie of useful idiots.
    ~ ~ ~
    How Europe and Obama Lost Leverage with Putin

    Putin was changing the map while Europe was saving the climate

    “Europe has had nearly a decade — since Moscow cut off gas supplies to the region for the first time– to ready itself for renewed Russian misbehavior, but has been caught as flatfooted as Obama.

    Instead of reducing their dependence on gas from Ukraine and Russia, the leaders of Western Europe have chosen to combat climate change.
    Instead of investing in secure energy, the EU has invested in green energy, driving up energy costs, reducing competitiveness, and allowing Putin to remain in the driver’s seat.

    Russia today supplies 30 percent of Europe’s natural gas; half of that flows through Ukraine. In 2006, when the Kremlin first cut exports to the region, Siberian gas provided only 20 percent of EU consumption.“

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      Safetyguy66

      And the irony of your post when compared to the story about the global conflict predicted in the IPCC report is not lost on me at least anyway.

      The fact seems to be that its alternative energy aspirations driving conflict as Putin realises the EU will need Russia’s energy assistance to get their economies out of the hole they dug building windmills.

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    • #
      Winston

      Putin was changing the map while Europe was saving the climate

      One thing lost in the shuffle of the Crimea situation, is that the EU and the Obama administration attempted to engineer regime change in Ukraine to rest control of Sevastopol, depriving Russia of a warm sea port.

      Now why would these avowed warmists, who believe the Arctic will be ice free by 2014, 2016, 2018……whatever, be so keen to deprive Russia of a Southern sea port in warmer waters, if they truly believed that the world was warming.

      The easiest answer to that question is, drum roll please, because they KNOW that the cooling phase the planet is entering into will render the Arctic circle un-navigable for a significant part of the year in the coming decades and that makes depriving Russia of this sea port a high priority action in the geopolitical chess board of Clayton’s Cold War politics. So, obviously that would give lie to their being a genuine belief among Obama’s advisers that CAGW is the clear and present danger that they pretend it to be.

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        King Geo

        Good points about Russia’s exposure to its northern ports getting “iced in” during the impending LIA. As for the Crimean port of Sevastopol on the Black Sea, remember Russia borders the Black Sea further to the east – so all would not be lost if they relent absorbing Crimea into Russia.

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      How Europe and Obama Lost Leverage with Putin

      I think the bottom line explanation has to be stupidity. Neither one has cared enough about what was going on to stop Obama’s golf outings.

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  • #
    Bones

    China’s carbon markets were never serious anyway

    How can ANYBODY even think China was serious,after they sold carbon credits to Japan,to offset Japan’s problem.Surely China,with its CO2 output could not possibly have an excess of carbon credits.Does anybody think that the govt in China care what people say about pollution,too many negative comments will just result in the social network being shut down,just like the internet was.

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  • #
    Safetyguy66

    All that time I spent poking fun at people who suggested the world was waiting for Australia to take a leadership role on carbon trading and taxes. Well who knew they right all along. We DO actually set examples for China to follow. /sarc off

    I Agree with most other sensible commentators on this one. China is not going to risk it’s development in a futile effort that simply shift emissions to other economies. In that respect at least, they are a fair bit smarter than us.

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    • #
      Yonniestone

      Safety, Lord Monckton had a very interesting story on China during a climate summit where after they appeared attentive towards the warmists then after Monckton’s speech they quietly asked for his notes and politely left, sorry I’ll try to get the link to back this up, it was very funny the way he explained it.

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    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Ah yes, Australia will lead the way. Time for a bit of humour…
      Captain Planet goes to Copenhagen
      *cough* five percent *cough*

      The activist cartoonist was probably talking about the CO2 emission reduction, but the first time I saw this I thought the character was talking about Australia’s contribution to world CO2 emissions, which made it all the funnier.

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  • #
    ROM

    It’s not only just China which was to all intents and purposes only a bit player with a celebrity walk on role in the global, so called “carbon” market that is pulling the pin on the whole global warming debacle.

    Via the “Energy News” section of the GWPF site comes this very illuminating article from the Financial Post titled Governments rip up renewable contracts

    The article outlines how European Governments are at best scaling back their commitments to renewable energy industry and at worst are completely reneging on their commitments and even back dating taxes and limiting profits from that same so called Renewable Energy industry as the money runs out.
    As well the dawning realisation that despite all the hoopla, hand waving and screams of we’re doomed unless you do something from the warmista cultists and fear mongers, the CAGW meme just doesn’t have much science underpinning it.

    Particularly so when after all the angst of imminent predicted climate disasters about to occur for the last 25 years nothing of any untoward climate and weather events have emerged that haven’t all occurred innumerable times in the past when the fear and disaster mongers admit and claim that CO2 was a lot lower than today.
    It all after all, just consists of a lot of opinions from some hubris laden self styled experts based on nothing more than a clutch of unverified, unvalidated and unproven numerical climate models put together in some remote from reality ivory towers by some usually self aggrandising agenda driven “experts”.
    As well it is all turning out to being beyond the economic and social capabilities of society to do much about CO2 if it is at all a problem in the first place

    All that has slowly seeped into the body politic exacerbated by the money running out for their other pet projects as it is splurged on what is slowly being realised and increasingly seen as a grossly inefficient, frequently corrupt, sickening self serving, entirely uneconomic, completely unreliable Renewable Energy industry .
    And the dawning realisation that a good old coal fired plant with latest technology drastically reduces CO2 emmissions, thats if those emmissions in reality actually matter, in any case.

    Perhaps a few politicals are even starting to realise that for that essential requirement of mankind, food, the increased plant food, CO2 might even be a significant contributor to the alleviation of the potential and very serious possibility of a global food shortage as both the global population increases and the global temperatures perhaps begin to fall.

    So the upshot which you can read in that Financial Post article is that the Europeans en masse are pulling the pin on renewable energy.

    The really big fish in the renewable energy pool, Germany is in the usual Teutonic fashion being very obstinate about changing course but the ructions on the increasingly unaffordable cost and the complete unreliability of renewable energy is even causing the Germans to start seriously thinking about the future of their energy supplies and the immense and increasing social and economic cost to Germany’s citizens and industry of it’s renewable energy industry.

    ie; from the NoTricksZone blog; German Renewable Energy Act “Is An Obselete Model” That Is “Headed For Failure” Says Energy Expert

    There is some very good reading on the NTZ at the moment which indicate that a dramatic change is underway in attitudes towards the CAGW meme in the heart of the major global warming believing European nations.
    Where Germany and the UK go in this will spell the end of the CAGW meme and all the harm and evil it has created.
    And with it will most likely go the radical rabid eco greens and most of the remnants of their remaining believability.

    For the sociology followers who read Jo’s site this long researched article on the serious effects on the low income social situation created by the imposition of the very expensive renewable energy regime the UK will be of interest as it is a direct result of the imposition of the uneconomic and increasingly unaffordable renewable energy industry onto the Uk citizens by their incompetent and easily manipulated political class.

    Is there a ‘heat-or-eat’ trade-off in the UK?

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  • #
    DT

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that he would not allow socialism masquerading as environmentalism. Meanwhile in the Senate the carbon tax repeal bill has been defeated again by the Union Labor Green socialists. Remember them, they promised that there would be no carbon tax during the 2010 federal election campaign.

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    • #
      James Bradley

      Following results of state elections in Tassie and SA, wait for the senate re-elections in WA then if they don’t follow the will of the people it will be Double D up.

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      • #
        ianl8888


        … Double D up

        That is entirely dependent on the misformed data from opinion polling. If this scenario arises, expect non-stop hysteria from the leftoid MSM (and non-stop belly laughter from me) :)

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      Winston

      Labor also promised to repeal the carbon tax if elected. They are inverterate liars, in addition to being invertebrate slugs.

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  • #
    Steve

    Abbott is just a globalist messenger boy.

    Abbott ( ) is only doing this to put the sheep at ease and make them think they are out of the woods. Nope.

    As such, the rolling back the carbon tax is only occurring because the greater agenda ( which no doubt involves pushing forward UN Agenda 21 ) has been achieved.

    Don’t forget Socialist JWH brought in the Socialist wet dream of gun control.

    Look at what they do, not what they say.

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      DT

      Tony Abbott and his conservative government have many reforms in mind that include repealing some 10,000 pieces of legislation that the socialists imposed, their food bowl policy requires that the wild rivers legislation in Queensland be repealed and Campbell Newman will cooperate. As for the gun buyback I do not consider former PM John Howard to be a socialist by any stretch of the imagination, licenced citizens can still own registered non-military weapons including pistols.

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      • #
        DT

        I am an older citizen, I was a member of 4RNSWR Citizens Military Force when I was a young man, I was not accepted for national service in Vietnam because I had a jaw ligament injury that resulted from CMF practise training. As an elder today I would not want to be a soldier or an armed citizen fighting an enemy. Gun buyback was a sensible policy and as I posted above, we can still have non-military weapons. I am reliably informed that our ADF and Police personnel are well armed.

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  • #
    James Bradley

    Some interesting facts:

    1. As at the time of writing there are more Skeptical Science bloggers commenting at Jonova than at Skeptical Science.

    2. Over the past three days Skeptical Science has averaged about one comment per post.

    3. The Keeling Curve for representing the daily record of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is highly regarded by all and sundry at Skeptical Science.

    4. The CO2 readings for the daily representaion of the Keeling Curve on Skeptical Science are taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory.

    4. “Rising gradually to more than 4 km above sea level, Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on our planet. Its long submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km, and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa’s great mass another 8 km. This makes the volcano’s summit about 17 km (56,000 ft) above its base! The enormous volcano covers half of the Island of Hawai`i and by itself amounts to about 85 percent of all the other Hawaiian Islands combined.

    Mauna Loa is among Earth’s most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843. Its most recent eruption was in 1984. Mauna Loa is certain to erupt again, and we carefully monitor the volcano for signs of unrest.”

    5. Correlation, causation, self evident…

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    • #
      Geoff Sherrington

      James,
      There is much literature showing how some CO2 readings are rejected as contaminated on Mauna Loa. There is also literature on similar results from places in Antarctica, Tasmania, Alaska.
      I think it would be wise to accept the levels reported when they are in harmony at various sites with various operators. To claim that they are engineered or adjusted to suit a theory is to invoke conspiracy theory, of which one has to be quite careful unless holding incontrovertible evidence. The man in the street finds conspiracy hard to swallow. So do I, FWIW.

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        James Bradley

        Thanks for that Geoff – I do get a bit sarcy sometimes – in all things government related it is often wiser to look for incompetence rather than corruption.

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      the Griss

      “1. As at the time of writing there are more Skeptical Science bloggers commenting at Jonova than at Skeptical Science.”

      Who was he/she?

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  • #
    Renato Alessio

    A very timely piece indeed.

    On Sky’s “The Nation” last night (20 March 2014), former Liberal Opposition leader John Hewson was citing these Chinese trials and British Colombia carbon price, as evidence that the world was indeed moving towards putting a price on carbon.

    He was also in furious agreement with the former NSW Labor Cabinet Minister next to him on the Panel, that carbon pricing was a market solution to the problem.
    Regards.

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    pat

    20 March: NYT: Diane Cardwell: In a Shift, Exxon Mobil Agrees to Report on Risks to Its Fossil Fuel Assets
    Energy companies have been under increasing pressure from shareholder activists in recent years to warn investors of the risks that stricter limits on carbon emissions would place on their business.
    On Thursday, a shareholder group said that it had won its biggest prize yet, when Exxon Mobil became the first oil and gas producer to agree to publish that information by the end of the month.
    In return, the shareholders, led by the wealth management firm Arjuna Capital, which focuses on sustainability, and the advocacy group As You Sow, said they had agreed to withdraw a resolution on the issue at Exxon Mobil’s annual meeting…
    The shift is a sign of a growing acceptance among investors and companies that the value of fossil fuel assets may be out of line with evolving policies on global warming.
    For example, oil reserves deep in the Gulf of Mexico are much more expensive to extract, and would become uneconomical if carbon emissions are reduced by as much as 80 percent, a goal articulated by President Obama…
    The agreement comes after one in January by the large electric company FirstEnergy and is part of an effort by Ceres, a coalition of environmentalists and investors, to make companies more environmentally responsive.
    Also on Thursday, Denise L. Nappier, the Connecticut state treasurer, said that Peabody Energy, a Missouri-based coal company, had agreed to produce a similar report in exchange for withdrawing a shareholder resolution filed by the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds.
    The Ceres campaign began last fall with a letter from shareholders representing $3 trillion in assets to 45 of the largest fossil fuel companies asking for more information about whether and how they were addressing the risks posed to their assets by changing climate policy…
    Two billionaires — Michael R. Bloomberg and Tom Steyer — have started an effort called Risky Business, which includes three former Treasury secretaries, Henry M. Paulson Jr., Robert E. Rubin and George P. Shultz, to assess the economic risks posed if climate change is left unaddressed…
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/21/business/in-a-shift-exxon-agrees-to-report-on-carbon-asset-risk.html?_r=0

    31 Jan: Bloomberg: Justin Doom: Foundations With $1.8 Billion Vow Fossil-Fuel Divestment
    A group of 17 philanthropic groups including the Wallace Global Fund and John Merck Fund with a combined asset base of about $1.8 billion has vowed to divest from fossil-fuel companies and invest in clean-energy technology.
    “The magnitude of the climate crisis requires that we no longer conduct business as usual,” Ellen Dorsey, executive director for the Wallace Global Fund, said today on a conference call with reporters. “If we own fossil fuels, we own climate change.” …
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-30/foundations-with-1-8-billion-vow-fossil-fuel-divestment.html

    As You Sow: Talk Divest-Invest: Investors Mentor Network Launched
    As You Sow is proud to have been a pioneering organization in the college campus carbon divestment-reinvest- ment movement that started in 2010. Along with coalition partners at Responsible Endowments Coalition, Sierra Student Coalition, Energy Action Coalition, California Student Sustainability Coalition, and the Sustainable Endowments Institute, we created the first tools and structures to assist students in persuading their university endowment trustees that divesting from carbon-based industries is not only critical but also fiscally responsible…
    http://www.asyousow.org/news/2013Q4/talk-divest-invest.shtml

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      Geoff Sherrington

      Pat,
      Yes, there is a lot of this going on. But, notice that it is commonly driven by economists and their theories, which do not invoke much heavy science knowledge. They are in it to make money, like a number of UK advisors and past politicians and like Al Gore & co.

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        Roy Hogue

        Geoff,

        It unfortunately will have a bad effect on stock value and should scare any investor who has his eyes open.

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    pat

    21 March: Crikey: Is this it for coal?
    Fossil fuels have had their day, and a carbon crash is coming, writes RenewEconomy sustainability researcher and writer Paul Gilding.
    It’s time to call it. Renewables and associated storage, transport and digital technologies are so rapidly disrupting whole industries’ business models they are pushing the fossil fuel industry towards inevitable collapse.
    Some of you will struggle with that statement. Most people accept the idea that fossil fuels are all-powerful and it will take many decades to force them out of our economy. Fortunately, the fossil fuel industry suffers the same delusion.
    In fact, probably the main benefit of the US shale gas and oil “revolution” is that it’s keeping the fossil fuel industry and its cheer squad distracted while renewables, electric cars and associated technologies build the momentum needed to make their takeover unstoppable — even by the most powerful industry in the world…
    As I argued in my book The Great Disruption, dramatic economic change is not a choice we get to make, but an inevitable result of physical science…
    I argued transformation was far more likely and, to my delight, that’s what we see emerging around us today — even faster than I expected…
    This is not a theoretical future crisis — growth in renewables is the prime reason the top 20 European utilities have lost $600 billion (no, not a typo!) in value over the past five years. That’s what the financial carbon bubble bursting in a sector looks like — ugly and messy — and there are many more to come…
    I haven’t mentioned the revolution underway with electric cars, where Tesla is valued at more than half of GM — despite the latter producing 300 times as many cars! Do you think the market knows where that is going? Or the incredible impact of China having to clean up its air or risk economic and social unrest — knowing when China acts the market impacts are world scale…
    So, as I see it, the game is up for fossil fuels. Their decline is well underway, and it won’t be a gentle one. When that occurs, we may find that those forecasts by myself and others like Tony Seba from Stanford University, that the oil, coal and gas companies will be all but obsolete by 2030, might turn out to be conservative after all. Interesting times indeed.
    The is an abridged version of a story that appeared on RenewEconomy.
    http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/03/21/is-this-it-for-coal/

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    • #
      Safetyguy66

      Two sides to every story.

      http://www.smh.com.au/business/rio-tinto-touts-coal-future-over-climate-idealism-20140320-355wy.html

      Ill take bets if anyone is interested, renewables will not be powering Australian industries in 20 years time to anything more than a very minor degree, if at all.

      Renewables will strongly maintain their position as a costly sideshow designed to make environmentally over emotional teenagers feel squishy inside and nothing more.

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        Andrew McRae

        Very eco-emo.

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          Andrew McRae

          …By which I meant I’m proposing that as a new term of derision for the ostensible justifications given for feel-good go-nowhere eco-seance projects.
          Wouldn’t want peeps thinking I was dissin’ the SG.

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      Spetzer86

      Isn’t the big issue with EU renewables and fossil fuel plants that the regulations are simply taking the money out of gas and coal? Since they are no longer making money due to the regulations, the owners are shutting them down.

      And the infamous renewables “storage” topic. Let’s see, which major city can operate for 24 hours on existing storage systems?

      Tesla is making money because they’re gaming the California system by selling carbon credits, not because of the cars.

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        Roy Hogue

        Tesla is making money because they’re gaming the California system by selling carbon credits, not because of the cars.

        No one ever considers where the power to charge that Tesla comes from when they go ga-ga over the fact that it’s all electric.

        California is an interesting experiment. I have a neighbor who has had solar panels on his roof for about six years. After driving right by the place for so long I finally stopped and talked to him about the system. He says it provides overall about 70% of their electricity and has done so consistently. I was a bit surprised to be honest but I have no reason to not believe his experience. The joker is that he’s paying for the system and he figures it won’t pay for itself until it’s past the ten year point. In the meantime, the expected lifetime of the solar panels is only about ten years, as is the warranty. So just as it start’s producing for him he probably has to replace it.

        But the real joker — my neighbor is no dummy about it — is that on the inverter in his garage is a meter showing his carbon footprint reduction and the carbon credits he could “sell”. He laughed at that as he was describing it to me. So he’s happy with it with reservations, is the way I would put it.

        They put panels on the roof with no regard for their orientation to the sun. So most of his have a major part of the day when they’re doing nothing for him. I didn’t bring this up.

        Carbon credits are a joke to anyone who knows his elbow from a hot rock. When dear governor Jerry Brown starts investing in the carbon market I may start thinking about it but not before.

        This is the only house in the area with solar panels on it. So there’s not much interest.

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      Roy Hogue

      Fossil fuels have had their day, and a carbon crash is coming…

      Right. Where are the heads of these people?

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    Derek Hawkins

    Uranium Investing News (http:uraniuminvestingnews.com) reports that China is working on an accelerated schedule to develop the first fully functioning thorium reactor within the next 10-years (initially it was given a 25-year time frame for the project).

    Coal-fired power stations account for roughly 70 percent of China’ electricity which are predominantly the cause of polluted air whilst nuclear power accounts for roughly 1 per cent of China’s electricity demand.

    China currently has 20 operating nuclear plants and another 28 under construction. Even with that addition, uranium-fueled nuclear power it will only account for 2 per cent of China’s electricity.

    There is much more detail provided in the article but it is interesting that Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) are now coming to the fore mainly because of abundant supplies of thorium although there are still problems to be dealt with.

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      Geoff Sherrington

      Derek,
      Can you quote the source of your figures please? China gets a lot of electricity from hydro and I would have thought nuclear was much larger than you quote.

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        ROM

        Geoff Sherrington
        March 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm

        That figure of just 1% of China’s power coming from nuclear sources surprised me as well ;
        But here is the relevant headline and quote from the South China Morning Post[ Takes a while to load ]

        Chinese scientists urged to develop new thorium nuclear reactors by 2024

        Premier Li Keqiang told the national legislature in Beijing on March 5 that the government had declared “war on pollution”, and measures to tackle the problem included closing coal-fired power stations. About 70 per cent of China’s electricity was produced by coal-fired plants last year, according to government figures. Nuclear power stations generated just over 1 per cent.

        It seems that the pollution problem in China has led to the government initiating what in effect is a crash program to get both new Gen 3 and the latest and still to be fully proven Gen 4 nukes built.
        They are also taking the next step to thorium in a LFTR [ Liquid Fluride Thorium Reactor also know as a Molten Salt Reactor ] design as China has thorium laid on but has to import uranium which is predicted to be in short supply in not so many years ahead.
        And very hopefully coming up and we can only hope, fast, is the possibility of the Lockheed Martin Skunkworks fusion reactor which will, if it works as the Skunkworks engineers seem to be confident of, will make every other power generation technology basically obsolete.

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          ROM

          Duh!!!
          “Fluoride” not Fluride.

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          Roy Hogue

          …Skunkworks fusion reactor…

          Many have chased that Holy Grail and lost the race. Compact, high power output, lots of superlatives… It sounds too good to be true. I hope they do make it to a viable power source. But some promising fusion projects from the recent past that were about ready to go public have faded into obscurity instead. I think it’s a very tough nut to crack. Complete magnetic containment of that hot plasma is impossible. That’s been the Tokamak’s problem all along.

          There are few other ideas you can try and they haven’t succeeded either, at least not yet.

          And then if we do succeed, some “experts” somewhere (keeping it polite) would start objecting to all that He going into the atmosphere. Being man made it must cause some problem. Right? ;-)

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    pat

    21 March: ScienceNetwork, WA: Nick Brant: Mine site villages weighed for carbon footprint
    A SOLE mine worker is responsible for producing between 11 and 16 tonnes of carbon each year just for clocking off and relaxing at their mine site village, according to local research.
    An investigation by Murdoch University scientists aimed at calculating the carbon footprint of a typical WA mine site village determined that the village could produce a minimum of 1826 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over a 20 year lifespan and 2600 tonnes of CO2-equivalent for a five year lifespan.
    The life cycle analysis includes the ‘embodied energy’ used to construct the village.
    However, the longer the mine village is in operation the further the ‘embodied energy’ cost is spread, and the more economical it becomes.
    The researchers studied Ramelius Resources’ Black Cat Camp near Mount Magnet in the Mid West which can accommodate 162 individuals…ETC ETC
    Notes:
    This research contributes to the Decarbonising Cities and Regions ARC awarded jointly to Murdoch and Curtin Universities.
    http://www.sciencewa.net.au/topics/industry-a-resources/item/2734-mine-site-villages-weighed-for-carbon-footprint

    22 March: The Economist: Pricing carbon
    Floored
    Carbon taxes are as necessary as they are unpopular
    IT TAKES a particular kind of environmental policy to irk industrialists and greens alike. In its short life the Carbon Price Floor (CPF), a tax on pollution that was frozen by the chancellor of the exchequer on March 19th, has done precisely that. Holding down the unloved levy—for four years from 2016—will cut energy costs for businesses and householders. But it leaves Britain’s climate policy in a mess.
    Carbon taxes or trading schemes, which aim to encourage investment in low-carbon generation by steadily raising the cost of alternatives, are the cheapest way to clean up smoggy economies…
    Britain’s carbon-price floor, a form of carbon tax announced in 2011 and enacted in 2013, aims to protect green investors from swings in the price of these permits by setting a minimum amount that polluters must pay for them…

    ***By far the biggest problem is that since the carbon tax’s conception the European emissions-trading system has collapsed. A glut of permits means European power firms have been paying as little as €4 ($5.60) per tonne of carbon, down from about €30 in 2008 and much lower than the £18 ($30) minimum at which Britain’s price will be set. That is making the country’s manufacturers uncompetitive without reducing Europe’s carbon emissions, because permits not purchased in Britain still get snapped up by its neighbours…

    Mr Osborne claims his freeze will save a medium-sized manufacturer about £50,000 a year, and the average household about £15. That is peanuts. But the damage to government policy is severe. The reform may well require taxpayers to cough up more money for renewable generators whose subsidy rates have been calculated on the assumption that carbon taxes keep bumping up the wholesale price of power. Postponing promised increases only a year after the tax was launched destroys its credibility with green investors, even if politicians return to raising it in a few years. And without a rising carbon price, Britain’s plan to produce carbon-free power by 2030 will depend ever more on subsidies, which may prove unsustainable…
    http://www.economist.com/node/21599420

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    pat

    20 March: Forbes: Chris Prandoni: Environmental ‘Magna Carta’ is Increasing Carbon Emissions and Burning Money
    One of anti-development environmentalists’ favorite weapons, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), may actually be exacerbating this interest group’s greatest concern and increasing carbon emissions. This unintended consequence is the result of bureaucratic delay that forces oil producers to burn off, or flare, much of the natural gas contained within oil wells…
    If natural gas is not collected from oil wells, it is usually burned and released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Most oil producers do not want to flare natural gas, it is quite literally burning money, but have no choice when met with NEPA-induced bureaucratic delays.
    Looking to remedy this problem, Senators Barrasso (R-Wy), Hoeven (R-ND) and Enzi (R-WY) have introduced the Natural Gas Gathering Enhancement Act which will expedite permits for natural gas gathering lines on federal and Indian land. These three Senators hail from two of the states that undertake the largest amount of flaring – North Dakota and Wyoming. The North Dakota Petroleum Council estimates that 40 percent of natural gas production is flared at oil wells on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, a percentage that is substantially higher than the amount flared on state and private lands within the state…
    One large independent producer has said that it waited 2.5 years for the BLM to approve its gas gathering pipeline. More broadly, it takes an average of seven years to receive a NEPA-required Environmental Impact Statement in Wyoming. In Wyoming alone, SWCA Environmental Consultants estimate that the lost opportunity cost associated with the delay of oil and natural gas development is $22 billion in labor income and $90 billion in economic output over a ten-year period…
    Back to the issue of flaring, a reasonable estimate is that about $1 million dollars of natural gas is being burned or vented in North Dakota every day. Using another metric, gas flares in North Dakota release about six million tons carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year….
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisprandoni/2014/03/20/environmental-magna-carta-is-increasing-carbon-emissions-and-burning-money/

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    pat

    much more at the link:

    20 March: The Ecologist: Oliver Tickell: Forest Peoples at risk from ‘carbon grab’
    A new ‘carbon grab’ is under way as governments and corporations seize valuable rights to the carbon stored in standing forests, with UN and World Bank support. But there’s no benefit for forest communities – who even risk expulsion to make way for ‘carbon plantations’…
    As the United Nations and the World Bank prepare to develop world carbon markets as a tool to halt deforestation under so-called REDD+, new research warns of a new ‘carbon grab’ in the making…
    Indeed this is already happening in Kenya, where the government is evicting Sengwer indigenous people from their ancestral forest lands and burning their homes, food stores and belongings to the ground – all to make way for a ‘Natural Resource Management Project’ run by the Kenya Forest Service and financed by the World Bank.
    The problem is that neither the REDD+ regulations, nor national laws in forested countries, nor the World Bank’s Framework Guidelines, offer adequate legal protections and safeguards for Indigenous Peoples and local communities…
    A survey of 23 low and middle income countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, covering 66% of the developing world’s forests, found no laws governing how Indigenous Peoples and local communities could profit from the carbon in the forests in which they live and depend on for their livelihoods…
    World Bank – no guidelines on who owns forest carbon
    At present, the process defining carbon rights is being driven by the finalization of a carbon purchasing policy by the World Bank’s Carbon Fund.
    These emissions reductions credits represent a new class of assets, inextricably linked to and yet established separately from property rights to forests.
    Yet the Carbon Fund’s Methodological Framework says nothing about the need to respect or enforce the rights to carbon – and provides only an feeble, ambiguous guideline for an examination of rights:
    “The status of rights to carbon and relevant lands should be assessed to establish a basis for successful implementation of the emissions reduction program.”…
    LINK: The report: Status of Forest Carbon – Rights and Implications for Communities, the Carbon Trade, and REDD+ Investments.
    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2325253/forest_peoples_at_risk_from_carbon_grab.html

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    pat

    good ol’ Brookings says Latin America must not develop – not hand-in-hand with China anyway – and China must do “stuff on climate change”. China no doubt says “get stuffed”.

    20 March: Environment & Energy News: Lisa Friedman: China’s quest for resources may undermine low-carbon policies in South America — study
    Correction appended.
    China’s soaring demand for Latin America’s copper, soybeans, petroleum and other natural resources has sparked concerns among climate change experts that the high-carbon relationship could sour global warming negotiations.
    In a Brookings Institution report released yesterday, researchers argued that Chinese energy investments in places like Brazil, Venezuela and Costa Rica threaten to hike Latin America’s carbon footprint. That, in turn, could influence progressive countries’ negotiating positions in the U.N. climate talks — if not overtly, then by bolstering what the authors referred to as “dirty” ministries.
    “Maintaining or moving to low-carbon pathways is critical for those Latin American countries which are seen as progressive voices at the U.N. climate negotiations,” Brown University co-authors Guy Edwards and Timmons Roberts wrote. While trade with China may be key to boosting economic growth in the region, they warned, “building a high-carbon partnership could be disastrous for Latin America and the world in the long-term.”…
    According to the report, “It is unclear how actively Brazil and China are coordinating their climate positions,” since only lower-level diplomats attend meetings of the negotiating bloc to which they belong. “Trade and commercial issues may simply trump the climate change issue in driving the nation’s position, and trade with China represents a major and fast-growing sector.” And across all its Latin American trade partners, the report notes, there are few bilateral efforts with China on climate change, an absence Edwards said is worrisome.

    ***”China is so focused on its own domestic growth that climate change considerations haven’t really been factored into its relationships with Latin American countries,” he said. But, he added, “If China’s presence is going to keep surging ahead and keep knocking the U.S. and the E.U. off the top places for trade, it’s going to have to be doing stuff on climate change.”…
    http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059996427

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    pat

    MSM is all over this, of course:

    20 March: Equation Blog, Union of Concerned Scientists: The New 400ppm World: CO2 Measurements at Mauna Loa Continue to Climb
    by Melanie Fitzpatrick, climate scientist
    That same level has been reached again in the last few days. This year we’ve hit the target in March, two months earlier, and it will stay above 400ppm for longer. At that rate, it will only be a handful of years until we are living in an atmosphere permanently above 400 ppm. While 400 ppm is a somewhat arbitrary marker, humans did not exist the last time atmospheric CO2 was at that level…
    http://blog.ucsusa.org/400ppm-co2-mauna-loa-455

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    MaxL

    Thanks for that link Pat.
    Isn’t this just fantastic news! 400ppm and heading for 450ppm.

    “While 400 ppm is a somewhat arbitrary marker, humans did not exist the last time atmospheric CO2 was at that level.”

    I hope all the greenies out there are grateful, even though as the IPeCaC stated, we are only responsible for about 3% of that annual increase. Well, at least we’ve done our bit to return the atmosphere to what it was before us (evil?) humans started playing around with nature’s balance.
    Righting a wrong for the good of future generations who undoubtedly will continue our valiant efforts.

    Here’s to 450 and beyond! :)

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    Roy Hogue

    Is this good judgment finally arriving or is it just fear of those who produce the goods? :-(

    The Chinese have so many problems I’m surprised they’ll even talk about climate, much less a carbon market.

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