A few years ago this headline (and similar ones in other media) made round:
China overtakes U.S. in greenhouse gas emissions [source]
For years the United States, the only industrialized country that refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, was blamed for being the global “climate offender” no. 1. This changed around 2006, when China became the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter. Though the U.S. remain a scapegoat, they are not alone any more. Although still a developing (i.e., industrializing) country, China is now emitting almost 20% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gases. The Chinese are considered the new “worst climate offender”. But this picture is terribly oversimplified. Continue reading
This time I must admit, I agree with the general message of the new article by Bjørn Lomborg, whom I normally am rather critical about (see here and here). In “A Race to Hunger” he is commenting on the recent boom in the so called biofuels, using the example of the US.
What is the problem with biofuels? Despite some imperfections in his argumentation, Mr Lomborg is generally right – while there is the claim from politicians especially that biofuels are an important contributor to the transition to a “emissions free” world, there are many reasons to reject this idea. Continue reading
Kevin Gallagher from TripleCrisis wrote a very insightful article about the US-China conflict about government support of the latter for its domestic green industry. You can read it here.
Here an excerpt:
The US claims that such impressive feats have been achieved in part by the establishment of a green fund that helps firms make wind power equipment, with the stipulation that some parts be sourced from Chinese firms. If the WTO finds that China’s green fund targets only specific sectors, that such funds are conditioned on sourcing to local firms, and that the funds are channelled to trade activities that harm US firms and workers, then China may indeed be found in violation of the WTO rules.
But if that does prove to be the case, China should not be seen as the problem. The problem is the WTO.
The US-American government filed in a charge against BP and eight other firms involved in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico half a year ago. The aim is to let them pay for the economic and environmental costs of the catastrophe following the explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform (the government calls a number of US$75 billion). Continue reading
The German NGO Germanwatch just published its yearly Climate Protection Index. They took the opportunity to present it to media during the Cancún Summit and thus show what the state in climate politics is exactly while it stands in focus of public opinion. Continue reading
For those interested in American politics, here a nice link: the Obameter, run by PolitiFact. It is an overview about all reforms promised by Barack Obama in his presidential campaign – and what have come out. Surprisingly, it doesn’t look that bad: 122 promises are rated as “kept”, 41 as “compromise”, 82 as “stalled”, 236 as “in the works”, and only 22 are rated as “broken”. But, as you can read in this taz-article, the Americans seem not to recognize that. Furthermore, short before the mid-term elections, the Democrats seem to be losing many seats in Congress
and Senate* because of being accused of things Obama hasn’t done (e.g. increasing taxes and running a huge public deficit) or things he did – though some claim he didn’t. Continue reading