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China has severe air pollution probems. It emits more greenhouse gases than any other nation.  (Source: Treehugger)

China is cleverly leveraging the warming debate to try to turn the world's most powerful developing nations against the U.S.  (Source: The Hindu)
China rallies developing nations to oppose emissions restrictions championed by the U.S. and its allies

Tensions between China and the U.S. are already running high.  You can now add one more contentious issue to the mix -- global warming.

In December, President Barack Obama traveled to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen to try to broker a climate alliance to fight global warming.  Hopes of a true international deal, though, vanished as the industrialized nations failed to reach a binding compromise with developing nations.

China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is leading an alliance of developing nations dubbed BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China).  BASIC wants the U.S. and other "rich" nations to bear the primary cost of fighting global warming.  They argue that the industrialized nations already had their chance to grow and develop.  Meanwhile the U.S. and others have argued that China and its allies need to take warming much more seriously.

There is some hope of a compromise.  In an eleventh hour meeting at Copenhagen, between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an interruption by President Obama triggered talks that would eventually lead to the developing countries and the industrialized ones signing an accord, near the end of the Copenhagen summit.

The Copenhagen Accord is no true climate treaty and should not be hailed as such.  It lacks any sort of clear roadmap for fighting warming.  What it does provide is an agreement that warming costs must be shouldered equally by all nations, not thrust upon industrialized or developing nations.

Many consider that a slight victory for the U.S. as the developing nations were particular vocal in calling for unequal restrictions on wealthy nations.

The debate, however, is quietly allowing China to consolidate developing nations in economic opposition to the U.S.  China scored a win when its ally Sudan was elected chair of the Group of 77 bloc of developing countries.

Meanwhile, China is courting India via the warming debate.  India is typically a close ally of America economically and based on shared domestic issues, such as terrorism threats form Islamic extremists.  However, India has allied itself with China when it comes to the warming debate.  And it seems apparent that China is in firm control of the direction of BASIC.

The true test of the future of warming legislation will come late this year.  After a series of small summits, world leaders, including, presumably, U.S. President Barack Obama, will convene in Cancun Mexico this December to try to iron out a binding treaty.

The question becomes whether China is truly looking to cooperate and is merely trying to protect its own interests, or whether the growing economic giant is looking to use the debate to consolidate its political power in the developing nation sphere, at a time when its clashing with U.S. government and businesses.

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RE: Shocking
By Spivonious on 4/6/2010 10:12:03 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. The money should be going towards getting some solid evidence that AGW is a real problem. There's no question now that the climate is changing, but no one knows what effect humans are having on it. We're still not at pre-"Little Ice Age" temperatures, and there were definitely no factories spewing out greenhouse gases back then.

RE: Shocking
By Dorkyman on 4/6/2010 10:39:54 AM , Rating: 5
To me, it's more than that.

Even IF it were obvious that humans were the cause of Global Warming, from what I've read we are unable to do anything about it.

By that I mean I've read articles that state that even with draconian measures in place, the earth would continue to warm, though perhaps at a slightly slower rate. If so, that it seems to me the best course of action is to learn to adapt to the changes. Humans are especially good at that.

RE: Shocking
By Shig on 4/6/2010 10:48:23 AM , Rating: 5
Global warming will be the least of China's problems if they keep opening coal power plants at the rate they're going.

They're heading for a health pandemic with all that pollution they're pumping out.

But hey if they want to keep selling us cheap goods and turning their own country into a smoggy landfill, so be it. I think they'll soon realize it wasn't worth it and they won't be able to go back.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 11:01:43 AM , Rating: 4
You're exaggerating the situation. China is nowhere near as bad as Britain was just a few decades ago. In one weekend in 1952, for instance, coal smog was so thick that 10,000 people died, and the air was so dark that cars and buses couldn't be used, with visibility down to a few feet.

Once they installed pollution control mechanisms on all their coal-burning plants, the problem vanished almost overnight.

RE: Shocking
By Keeir on 4/6/2010 2:42:04 PM , Rating: 3
Thats a bit of a stretch Porkpie,

The "Great Smog" is what I believe you are refering to...

Which lead to the early death of as many as 12,000 out of 8.12 million pollution at the time. "Early Death" is the key as most of the dead had pre-existing problems.

If such a freak weather event happened... in say Beijing, the "early" dead would number into the 20,000+ Range. IF Western scientists ever got to study it... for example, how many early dead were affected by




Overall though, China had the opportunity to use pollution controls from nearly the start... and the lessions learned from hundreds of years of mistakes in the west... Air Pollution (Just NOx),1518...

Or some partial pollution?

Unless China (and India) slows down, they are rapidly head to air pollution problems that will be singificiantly worse than late industrial age in Britian/US, which is unfortunate, since they have the data about what will occur.

RE: Shocking
By The0ne on 4/6/2010 2:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
Porkpie was stretching it a bit but the point should be taken. As you stated,

"Overall though, China had the opportunity to use pollution controls from nearly the start... and the lessions learned from hundreds of years of mistakes in the west... Air Pollution (Just NOx)"

This is the biggest factor, imo, that China is disregarding with the push for more and more coal plants. It is a shame because history did and will continue to prove that environments and people will suffer from them.

On one hand, I can't really blame them for wanting to "develop" as quickly as possible as US and Britain had in their history, but at the same time you can't really ignore lessons they've learned. China will not consider the history factors and will continue to develop, clean or not. It is truly a shame actually.

RE: Shocking
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 6:36:56 PM , Rating: 3
This is the biggest factor, imo, that China is disregarding with the push for more and more coal plants. It is a shame because history did and will continue to prove that environments and people will suffer from them.

It pains me to say this, but that is because China is smarter than the US and Europe at the moment. They finally have a good economy going, and they understand that extreme environmental policies mean the destruction of that economy. That's why they are fighting these changes, and I can't blame them.

China will not consider the history factors and will continue to develop, clean or not. It is truly a shame actually.

So did the US and Europe years ago. They can "be clean" later, right now economic prosperity is the main goal, as it should be. Because you can't really have both. You can't have a roaring economy AND massive legislation. Hell look at the United States right now and the path we have just been taken on. We're a perfect example.

RE: Shocking
By slunkius on 4/7/2010 5:16:44 AM , Rating: 1
wonder if you would be willing to live in the smoggy city with coal plant chugging pollutants, all in the name of "good economy going" and you going under, six feet under i mean.
problem is that in china no one listens to people, party decides what risks are worth taking, and people are left to live with that

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 10:37:08 AM , Rating: 3
Would you be willing to have you and your family starve to death, in the name of a "clean planet"? Would you be willing to spend 15 hours a day working in rice paddies, in the hot sun, just to cut your risk of cancer from smog by 0.01% ?

China knows what its doing, far far better than you do.

RE: Shocking
By Laereom on 4/6/2010 3:28:15 PM , Rating: 4
What gets me about the whole thing is that, worst case, we'll basically return to the carboniferous era. What's that, you say? Global warming? Ice caps melting?

So Indonesia will sink, New Orleans will get swampier, and BOTH RUSSIA AND CANADA WILL BE ABLE TO GROW REAL CROPS?

I'll take 4.

RE: Shocking
By JediJeb on 4/6/2010 5:23:10 PM , Rating: 3
Wasn't that the era when CO2 levels were 10x what they are today or more, and yet the planet didn't turn into a world wide desert or melt as most AGW extremist say will happen if we only double the CO2 levels?

RE: Shocking
By MadMan007 on 4/6/2010 9:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sunlight levels were lower then too. Temperatures don't track just with CO2, it's true, but they track almost perfectly with a combination of CO2 *and* sunlight intensity.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 10:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
"Sunlight levels were lower then too"

Eh? There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for that assertion. It's just a hypothesis the pro-AGW crowd has suggested, in order to try to explain away the glaring hole in their theory, that CO2 levels are often very high when temperatures are low, and vice versa.

RE: Shocking
By dark matter on 4/7/2010 7:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
And we should believe you over them, why exactly?

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 9:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
You mean besides the scientific principle, Occam's razor, and basic common sense? A hypothesis must be supported with facts or evidence to be believed. The burden of proof lies with those advancing a theory, not those rejected it. You don't make wild claims, then say "if you can't disprove it, it must be true".

Science has worked for us pretty well so far. Why not stick with it?

RE: Shocking
By DizzyMan on 4/8/2010 6:27:58 AM , Rating: 2
Some simple figures can back that up. We humans produce just under 7% of total global CO2 output, the rest is natural. Just a simple calculation tells us that the 20% reduction that was originally proposed would result in a 1,33% reduction globally. Obviously, that is so little that nothing would really change. (The figures can be found on Wikipedia and other sites).

Add to that that CO2 is not even the gas that contributes most to GW, that would be simple watervapor. We cannot control that in any way, so if we really wanted to do something that matters then why didn't we start cleaning up the oceans and replanting trees in stead of reducing our output. Why aren't our deserts littered with solar panels so we can close polluting powerplants.

Just to say that we are going at it the wrong way. In stead of adjusting to what the world can process, increase the CO2 processing features of our planet. If CO2 is causing it at all...

RE: Shocking
By Mint on 4/6/2010 11:24:16 AM , Rating: 4
I think the evidence for the existence of AGW is pretty good.

However, I 100% support these developing nations in their protest of the treaty. Why the fuck should they spend gobs of money on renewable energy when they could save 100x as many lives and improve quality of life so much by spending on infrastructure, vaccines, and education? The IPCC needs to show 10x higher magnitude of warming before AGW becomes a spending priority, and that won't ever happen.

It's obscenely immoral. We're asking them to reduce emissions even though they have FAR lower emissions per capita than us.

To show you some numbers: You may recall that some weak study exaggerated deaths caused by AGW as something like 500,000 per year by 2030. Even if we can reduce the cost of green energy to a 5c/kWh premium (a dream right now when energy storage cost is taken into account), the IPCC's numbers tell us that $1 Trillion would reduce warming by only 0.01 degrees , and thus able to save a mere 5,000 deaths. That kind of money can save millions of lives if spent elsewhere.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 11:35:12 AM , Rating: 3
"I think the evidence for the existence of AGW is pretty good."

There is evidence man may be influencing climate slightly, most especially due to changing land use. Theere is, however, no evidence to believe that CO2 is causing catastrophic climate change.

"$1 Trillion would reduce warming by only 0.01 degrees , and thus able to save a mere 5,000 deaths"

You believe that raising planetary temperatures by one hundredth of one degree would kill 5,000 people? Despite the fact that, even today, cold kills more people than heat?

RE: Shocking
By Mint on 4/6/2010 11:56:07 AM , Rating: 5
No, I don't believe it.

My point is that this is an upper bound using numbers from econuts. Are they going to dispute their own exaggerations? 1$ trillion is way, way too much money to spend on something with such little return.

You could build clean water infrastructre for all of Africa with that kind of money, and save millions of children a year dying from diarrhea and water borne diseases.

Yet envirotards expect developing countries to instead spend it on reducing AGW by 0.02 degrees?

(I made an error - it was 0.02 degrees per trillion dollars)

RE: Shocking
By cornelius785 on 4/6/2010 4:13:46 PM , Rating: 3
I agree on point of $1 trillion spent on "green products/ideas" is way too much to spend for such a little return in ultimate goal of reducing carbon emissions. Personally, I consider some "green products/ideas" a genuine moneypit. I don't mind seeing money to improve efficiencies (light bulbs, water usage, but not the mythical 'vampire power'), but dumping tons of government money into solar/wind production is idiotic (1-let the free market decide when to start using it, 2-highly variable power source, 3-little return on investment (power out) compared to other power generation methods), green roofs when the doors and windows are drafty, etc..

I'm just concerned (or even paranoid) when it comes to throwing money at "green products/ideas" especially when it comes to giving money to other countries (who's to say it won't be a blundered/used by corrupt individuals) and when there are more pressing issues at hand (or better places to spend the money that has a bigger impact for the good of many).

RE: Shocking
By JediJeb on 4/6/2010 5:28:16 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't catch but a few minutes of it, but John Stossel did a report on how the green movement was more or less a sham. It was on over the weekend.

RE: Shocking
By SPOOFE on 4/6/2010 4:27:13 PM , Rating: 3
You have to remember that those same econuts - the guys that have been trying to push this since the '70s - are not at all concerned with human life. Small in numbers they may be, but they're the most vocal and present face of the current environmentalist movement, and they're more concerned about trees and fluffy animals. Humans, to this sort of environmentalist, are the problem; if you told them it would cost a trillion dollars to save five thousand people, they'd ask how much more it would cost to save less.

Most casual enviros - those that like the concept of the outdoors but wouldn't waste the time to hug a tree - are against "save nature even if it kills people" mentality. These people are not the driving force of the modern environmentalist movement; they just have good intentions without the time, intelligence, or wherewithal to really examine the claims thrown about and the proposed "solutions".

RE: Shocking
By leuNam on 4/7/2010 8:21:06 AM , Rating: 2
I guess it is just the way things are...nothing is added or deducted...

RE: Shocking
By Laereom on 4/6/2010 3:49:17 PM , Rating: 1
This. Oh, God-that-I-don't-believe-in, this.

RE: Shocking
By clovell on 4/6/2010 4:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
Is this the new face of Climate Change? Backpedalling on the proposals for drastic action while you shore up your claims on the evidence? Espousing reason with your left hand while your right so clearly disregards it?

Spare us the sleight-of-hand. The evidence for AGW is trivial, suspect, and biased.

RE: Shocking
By Mint on 4/6/2010 5:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
There is no "while" here. Evidence will never be found that exaggerates CO2 by an order of magnitude and makes it worth worrying about.

I'm not backpedaling on anything. I always believed wind/solar were too expensive, that drastic change is impossible without immorally holding back the developing world, and that nuclear power is the energy source of the future.

The mechanism for CO2 causing warming is sound. The question is whether all the stuff that's hard to simulate amplify or reduce that, so the magnitude is debatable.

You and porkpie should read this article from a skeptic:

His belief is that the IPCC's models exaggerate the impact of CO2, and the real amount is nothing to worry about. I just draw my line in a different place: I say that even the IPCC's numbers as is don't justify action.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 5:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
I've been reading Spencer (and many others) for years. And you've never heard me claim CO2 isn't a GHG. It most certainly is, just one far too weak to possibly cause catastrophic climate change.

RE: Shocking
By Mint on 4/7/2010 10:19:40 AM , Rating: 2
Well, some of your posts read like CO2 doesn't cause any global warming at all.

I think a lot of the positive feedback factors make sense. Henry's law tells us we'll see positive CO2 feedback on long timescales from oceans, psychrometrics tell us water vapour partial pressures go up with temperature (and we've actually measured it with local temperature rises), and so on.

However, to me even the IPCC's projections aren't catastrophic. What is catastrophic is the death toll and impact on quality of life from forcing poorer nations to waste resources on costly renewable energy.

BTW, what I love about Spencer is that he's not afraid to show, for example, warming trends from satellites or how Lindzen's paper did not discredit GCMs like the skeptic community believed.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 10:43:33 AM , Rating: 2
"I think a lot of the positive feedback factors make sense"

There can't possibly be overall positive feedback in the climate system, otherwise it would have already ended in catastrophe many times before in the earth's past.

The geologic record is clear. Temperatures rise, CO2 rises in response (possibly adding somewhat to that initial rise) ... but then temperatures begin declining despite still-rising levels of CO2.

This pattern has happened dozens of times in the earth's past. It also makes sense from basic physics. CO2 and water vapor absorb in the same spectrum (H20's much wider, actually). That means as temperatures go up, CO2 becomes a less effective GHG, in addition to other negative-feedbacks we know exist, such as increased radiative cooling.

RE: Shocking
By Mint on 4/8/2010 7:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
You're making the same error a lot of people do when reading the term "positive feedback". Have you ever done control theory? If the feedback factor is positive but less than one, it's still stable, but it amplifes the input signal.
In the diagram, if AB<0, you have negative feedback. If 0<AB<1, you have stable positive feedback. If AB>1, you have runaway. Then you have frequency dependent factors, Lyapunov stability and Nyquist plots, etc...

Anyway, there are examples of stability and instability in the geological record. The reason an instable climate can't change forever is you get non-linearities kicking in such as the one you described with CO2 absorption changing the feedback factor back below 1, so runaway stops and eventually something may kick it back in the other direction (a trigger lowers temperatures, then CO2 gets absorbed and icesheets grow, both reducing temperature further, and so forth).

Personally, I don't believe in runaway warming, because we're already at the warm point in the cycle; moreover, even if a runaway threshold existed then the chances of missing it with drastic action vs. gradual action is basically zero.

However, stable positive feedback is still very plausible. It's just hard to quantify.

RE: Shocking
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 8:37:35 PM , Rating: 1
The mechanism for CO2 causing warming is sound.


RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 9:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
Please don't get into flat-earth style denial. CO2 causes warming, period. There really is no debate on that point. The debate centers around whether or not CO2's trivial level of warming is being "amplified" by positive feedback.

Without that amplification (which frankly there exists no real evidence for), the amount of warming from CO2 is too small to cause issue. And, since CO2 (and all other GHGs) follow a logarithmic response curve, it means that the more CO2 you add, the less effective each additional amount becomes.

Argue and win the debate on the real issues, Reclaimer. Pretending CO2 isn't a GHG is a losing battle. That part is easily replicable in the lab.

RE: Shocking
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 9:25:51 PM , Rating: 2
Please don't get into flat-earth style denial. CO2 causes warming, period.

I don't know how you can state this so concretely when we know C02 has been rising while the Earth goes through cooling trends like we're currently in. Hell look at C02 levels when the Earth was covered in ice from pole to pole !!

C02, despite what you have heard, is not the driving force in our climate.

p.s I never said C02 wasn't a Greenhouse Gas. But the fact is the "Greenhouse effect" has been grossly overstated and exaggerated by biased scientists.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 9:45:24 PM , Rating: 2
" But the fact is the "Greenhouse effect" has been grossly overstated and exaggerated"

Isn't that exactly what I said?

RE: Shocking
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/2010 12:39:56 AM , Rating: 1
Porkie you are the most annoying guy on here. Even when you are claiming to agree with me, you still argue about something. Were you not held enough as a kid or something ??

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 1:25:38 AM , Rating: 1
Lol, what? You start by saying something ridiculously untrue. When I correct you, you switch to arguing my position, but imply you're still disagreeing. Then when I point that out, you complain further?

There's a wide river flowing between you and the land of logic. Would you like to borrow a paddle?

RE: Shocking
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/2010 11:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
Switch to arguing your position, excuse me ?

I've only made two posts here. One refuting someone's claims that C02 causes runaway warming, and the other post trying to argue against your Al Gore style "C02 causes warming, period" close minded argument.

Go take that hockey stick graph porkie and put it you-know-where.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 12:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
Can you not even read your own posts? Let me recap.

OP: "The mechanism for CO2 causing warming is sound".
You: "No its not".

Me: "CO2 causes warming, period."
You: "I don't know how you can state that"

You: (a bit later): "p.s. I never said CO2 wasn't a greenhouse gas. It's just exaggerated."
Me: "That's exactly what I said in the first place".
You: "WTF are you arguing about ?!?"

Have you ever tried lithium by chance? I hear its very effective in these cases.

RE: Shocking
By Kurz on 4/7/2010 2:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer you weren't following the conversation.
Porkpie just wanted to correct you on part of the issue.
He explained himself just fine.

Not sure why you jumped onto the accusing train.

RE: Shocking
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/2010 3:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
Porkpie just wanted to correct you on part of the issue. He explained himself just fine.

Yes except his "correction" was complete conjecture. We do NOT know the role, if any, that C02 has on climate. Sorry, the things he said are not absolute facts.

RE: Shocking
By porkpie on 4/7/2010 4:24:12 PM , Rating: 2
Is English perhaps a second language for you? We know without a doubt that CO2 exerts some degree of warming. We do not know how large that degree is, or if its significant enough to impact climate to a measurable degree.

This is what I said in my first post. You're now agreeing with me, but calling my original statement "complete conjecture"? Are you intentionally trying to embarrass yourself?

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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