MOSCOW (AP) — In a show of military muscle amid tensions with the West, Russia will send long-range strategic bombers on regular patrol missions across the globe, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a top official said Wednesday.
The announcement by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu came as NATO’s chief accused Russia of sending fresh troops and tanks into eastern Ukraine.
“Over the last few days, we have seen multiple reports of large convoys moving into Eastern Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “We assess that this significant military buildup includes Russian artillery, tanks, air defense systems and troops. His statement called the situation a “severe threat to the cease-fire.”
Is China using climate change to con the United States and its allies?
As the Bonn climate talks continue, U.S President Obama and China’s new President Xi Jin Ping kicked off their “California summit.” They will discuss a host of issues during their unusually informal two day meeting at the former Annenberg Estate, “Sunnylands.” Climate change is on the agenda.
It may be difficult for the two leaders to announce any real progress on the thornier issues confronting them. On day one of the summit Obama said that the U.S. and China “have a whole range of challenges on which we have to cooperate, from nuclear North Korea and Chinese President Xi and wife arrive CAmissile programs proliferation to issues like climate change.” Throw in rampant Chinese theft of American intellectual property and climate could provide the feel-good pronouncement they will be looking for. However, while Obama will be looking for a public relations tidbit, Xi appears to be serious, though not about protecting the environment.
International climate diplomacy could offer China a golden opportunity for rent-seeking, by choking off free-world competition while gaining competitive advantage for its own industries. All the while, China will continue to cash in on production of “green” energy products such as solar and wind which are heavily subsidized by its competitors’ taxpayers.
China, which emits 25% of man-made CO2 – the most of any nation, announced that it will place a ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions beginning in 2016, the year after the UN aims to sign a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol in Paris and “aims to cut the energy intensity of its economic output by between 40-45 per cent by 2020.” Global warming campaigners greeted this announcement with enthusiasm as they see it as removing the major U.S. objection to a UN climate treaty – U.S. stated unwillingness to sign on to emissions restrictions which exempt China.
CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker, said, “is China actually going to atone for its climate sins and strap its industries with a carbon cap? While that is the message being drummed out by the media, it is not quite the full picture CFACT uncovered when we met with Chinese delegates this week in Bonn. We were told the Chinese cap and trade program is more akin to a project or experiment, or cynically maybe even a PR ploy, than it is to a bona fide emissions trading system similar to what they have in the E.U.”
Chinese delegates told Mr. Rucker that only 8 cities are involved in the project, and there will be no penalties for non-compliance. Oversight will be given to a Chinese government bureaucracy in conjunction with a national NGO, but importantly no international verification will be allowed. The program will expand to another 7 or 8 cities in 2014 or 2015, but is not currently planned to be national in scope, nor likely to lower overall emissions which are continuing to escalate at a rapid pace.
China U.S. flags fused “China has never allowed any meaningful transparency in its climate or any of its activities,” Rucker said, “I don’t think any serious analyst can have confidence that China will not build in plans to cheat on any climate commitments it makes before they are even implemented.”
Consider this from China Scholar David Shambaugh: “China is, in essence, a very narrow-minded, self-interested, realist state, seeking only to maximize its own national interests and power. It cares little for global governance and enforcing global standards of behavior (except its much-vaunted doctrine of noninterference in the internal affairs of countries). Its economic policies are mercantilist and its diplomacy is passive. China is also a lonely strategic power, with no allies and experiencing distrust and strained relationships with much of the world.” We encountered this quote from China Goes Global: The Partial Power in a piece the Washington Post ran by Fareed Zakaria on Wednesday. It is superb. Let’s hope the President read the Post.
Manufacturers must consider whether they are willing to subject themselves to the high costs and stifling regulations they can face in the E.U., Australia or the United States, or opt instead for China. Communist China is open for business. How many enterprises have chosen to skip out on western regulator’s combination of bureaucratic indifference and obstructionism,? They can choose instead to deal with Chinese officials eager to connect their supply chain and smooth the path to production. Any bribery or corruption is likely to be viewed as the less expensive cost of business.
When Xi landed in California, he encountered an Obama eager for a diplomatic success to help him put domestic scandals behind him. Obama may prove the perfect patsy for a Chinese long climate con.
Obama with Xi CA summitObama took pains to keep global warming out of his campaign for reelection. Despite impatience, environmental activists stuck by him. Minutes after victory the President pivoted and climate was back. Now the enviros want Obama to make climate a key part of the California summit. For China this lines up nicely.
Todd Stern, the chief U.S. negotiator at the UN climate talks said that, “forceful cooperative action between the US and China is more critical now than ever… such action will be good for each of the countries individually, and good for the whole world.” If Barack Obama is on board with Stern, China can join the U.S. in making happy sounding climate and environmental declarations while maneuvering the U.S. to further hamper its economy. China is ready to take up the slack.
The U.S. should soberly evaluate any Chinese proposals by recognizing that China’s aims are simple – to advance its own national interests while weakening its competitors. Barack Obama will find that China will eagerly shorten its journey toward becoming the world’s other superpower by indulging in environmental rent-seeking on a superpower scale.
We may hear joint China-U.S. declarations of climate cooperation come from California, Bonn or during the month’s ahead. If we do, the American negotiators will be dreaming of finally rewarding their Green supporters with the climate policies they’ve been demanding.
Election over, so the U.S. and China agree to make unenforceable long-term commitment with no consequences
Smoke and mirrors never had it so good before!
Now that the mid-term elections are over in the US, President Obama is free to announce the climate commitments that voters didn’t need to hear. (I did say this would happen.) It’s a “landmark” agreement (with China) and a “gamechanger,” but no one can point out what happens if either country doesn’t stick to its agreement.
Chinese dragonThe end-point of this grand theater of intent and glorious promises is Paris 2015.
What matters is the appearance of “momentum” — and this show ticks all the boxes. The two global superpowers make a sudden, unexpected agreement to reduce emissions and the press can call it “remarkable,” as if it has substance. Obama – the President without a majority in either house of Congress – has announced a big new target of 26% reduction by 2025. What can a lame-duck President achieve? Fluff and PR. As it happens, U.S. emissions have been falling for years because of the miracle of shale oil. This announcement supposedly doubles the pace of that reduction which was occurring anyhow, and which had nothing to do with any Green policies aimed at reducing emissions. Furthermore, Obama, magically, will do it without imposing new restrictions on power plants or vehicles. What’s not to like?
The Chinese, meanwhile, were projected to hit their peak emissions in 2030 anyhow. So their big commitment is to keep doing what they were going to do anyway mostly. Let’s have a press conference. Everybody cheer. It’s historic baby.
All the important questions go unasked and unanswered
What’s the punishment, the 10,000-line legal agreement? What exactly will happen if neither country meets these “intentions” and “targets”? Is that a big slap on the eiffelwrist coming, or will someone have to pay real money — and is the fine in dollars or renminbi?
How many degrees will this agreement cool the world? Is that zero degrees to one decimal place or is that zero to two?
No one needs to mention these minor details. That’s not what matters. It’s not about the climate, but about the appearance of doing something in order to sweep the rest of the world into action:
These actions will also inject momentum into the global climate negotiations on the road to reaching a successful new climate agreement next year in Paris.
Nobody is hiding that this is about PR and not really about pollution. The first paragraph of the New York Times lays it right out:
BEIJING — China and the United States made common cause on Wednesday against the threat of climate change, staking out an ambitious joint plan to curb carbon chinacoal2emissions as a way to spur nations around the world to make their own cuts in greenhouse gases.
What exactly did China commit to?
…a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030.
Sixteen years from now China may be producing a lot more CO2 each year, but they promise to keep their ultra high level at the same ultra high level year after year from then on. They are promising to stick to “extreme,” but not rise to “obscene.”
You can see how strong the leader’s commitment is. Obama even wrote a letter:
Administration officials said the agreement, which was worked out quietly between the United States and China over nine months and included a letter from Mr. Obama to Mr. Xi proposing a joint approach, could galvanize efforts to negotiate a new global climate agreement by 2015.
But they did meet for two whole days with only a few distractions about military and trade stuff:
It was the signature achievement of an unexpectedly productive two days of meetings between the leaders. Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi also agreed to a military accord designed to avert clashes between Chinese and American planes and warships in the tense waters off the Chinese coast, as well as an understanding to cut tariffs for technology products. – NY Times
It doesn’t take long to change the energy infrastructure of a nation, just a couple of busy days of talking and a letter. Where is the fine print?
Al Gore came to Australia in June to get Clive Palmer to pressure Prime Minister Abbott to commit to doing something “if the rest of the world did.” Thank goodness he did not. How many political leaders will be fooled by a smoke and mirrors agreement like this into thinking it means something?
Bill Shorten was:
Mr Shorten said on Wednesday the “historic and ambitious” agreement showed global leadership from the U.S. and China.
“At the G20 this week, Australia will hold the embarrassing title of being the only nation going backwards on climate change. With China and the United States representing around one-third of the global economy and over 40% of global emissions, there will be significant momentum to deal with climate change in Brisbane,” he said.
Yes, let’s manage the national economy according to the “Embarrassment Index” — forget productivity, health, wealth, and happiness. It’s right up there next to the GCMF: the Global Climate Momentum Factor.