WaPo Calls China Carbon Emission Rise a Cut
The November 27th Washington Post had a front page headline under a Juliet Eilperin article reading: “China sets target for emission cuts. Premier to go to Copenhagen. Moves could signal progress in climate talks.”
The theme of the story is a looming, possible and very significant policy development, in which the United States would commit to binding, steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions produced by combusting traditional energy sources (hydrocarbons or “fossil fuels”). This is a policy goal in favor of which the Post has aggressively editorialized. Other than massive expansion of nuclear power, there is no known way to achieve such reductions. At best, alternative sources of energy that the Post is also on record favoring would reduce the rate of emissions growth in a growing economy.
Regardless of technical feasibility, the political feasibility has been driven for more than a dozen years by China’s refusal to agree to reduce its own emissions. Congress serially cites this resistance to explain its own. Should China ever so agree, as the headline claimed they had, this would have potentially great policy implications for the U.S.
But the headline does not match Eilperin’s article which reports: “Given China’s projected growth rates, its emission levels are expected to rise even under the plan.” Rising emissions are not cuts.