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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 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedback#Types_of_fee...
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.


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