Commentary

Excuses fading for inaction on climate change

Dafeng Power Station in China

Among the most prominent reasons for US inaction on climate change has been China. The story goes like this – we are unwilling to engage at international climate talks until the Chinese take a serious step. You can see several clips here of members of Congress making these claims for over the years.

Coal Power Station in Asheville

In November, for the first time, China set a 2020 cap on coal consumption and 2030 for carbon pollution to peak and then finally begin a downward trend. Bingo – China took a first step.

The US EPA has proposed power plant regulations that would cut emissions from the electricity sector. These rules are critical to meeting the pledge Obama made in November with the Chinese to reduce emissions between 26 and 28% from 2005 levels by 2025. Republicans are now vowing to stop the “job-crushing” deal. If successful in the crush, China could back off of its commitment.

The UN Summit began this week in Peru to draft a global agreement to halt greenhouse gases. Given the recent US-China announcement, nations are optimistic for the first time in years.

In addition to the “stick” of regulating and reducing power plant emissions, the “carrot” side is looking bright. Cost has been among the main reasons for federal policy to not embrace renewables with more fervor. Renewables and energy efficiency have to be part of the equation as we ratchet down fossil fuels.

Last week I provided information on an analysis of utility-scale wind and solar, showing it is now competitive with gas and coal. The combination of some subsidies and innovation has caused the renewable industry to really break through. Bingo – renewables now compete with fossil fuels.

China has taken a first step. Renewables compete.

Excuses to not act on climate change are fading.

3 Comments


  1. Laurie

    December 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    China has alot history, so utilizing them as an excuse is inexcusable.

    Take for example: http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-china-heat-20141115-story.html

  2. LayintheSmakDown

    December 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Yes, there is no longer a need for excuses. Since man has little effect on the climate as a whole, there is no need for action. Now if we could manipulate the sun, there might be something we could do…..

  3. Alan

    December 4, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Well said LSD, glad to see you continue to spout out discredited nonsense, only adhered to by the fanatics & right-wing extremists. You do realize, that all your friends in the fossil fuel industry fully acknowledge the human impact on global warming? Did you not get the memo?

    So, please, can you tell me exactly how old planet earth is?

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