The website EnergyMatters’ posting titled “Attributing the blame for global warming” is one of the most intriguing postings I have read lately. The posting discusses a report made by a UN group to determine who is responsible for the man-made greenhouse gases that the warmers say have damaged the Earth. The Paris Agreement, for example, blames the Developed Nations and wants them to pay reparations to the rest of the world. The posting, on the contrary, persuasively argues that the developed nations aren’t not the primary sources of greenhouse gases. Further the folly of the “Developed Nations are at fault theme” is that when projected into the future the evidence says it is even less true. For those of us that believe that nature is the primary forcing agent with regard to global climate change, who is to “blame” is not particularly our big issue, but it is for the warmers. This posting seems to point out they continue to get it wrong:
“However, a little-known analysis from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), concludes that greenhouse gas emissions from the developed countries in fact caused significantly less than half of the global warming through 2000.”
“The analysis in question was performed in 2007 by the MATCH (Modelling and Assessment of Contributions to Climate Change) Group at the behest of the UNFCCC, the 1992 agreement that underpins the Kyoto and Paris Agreements. MATCH performed the analysis by compiling a data base of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, methane and nitrous oxide) from various countries and regions, including emissions from wood-burning, deforestation and agriculture, and by running the emissions through climate models to see how much warming each country/region had generated. The results were summarized on this pie chart:
“And a very interesting pie chart it is too. Assuming that the sum of the contributions from the USA, OECD Europe, Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), Japan and Canada represents the warming contribution of the developed countries we find that these countries were responsible for only 41% of the global temperature increase between 1890 and 2000. The remaining 59% was caused by emissions from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia less Japan, which with the exception of Singapore and arguably South Korea include all the world’s developing countries, along with the Former Soviet Union and East European countries, which at the time had nowhere near reached developed country income levels and mostly still haven’t.”
“But that was the position in 2000. What has happened since then? Data on total greenhouse gas emissions by country and region are not readily available so we have to look at CO2 emissions. Figure 1 shows BP’s estimates of annual CO2 emissions between 1965 and 2015, taken from the 2016 Statistical Review, for the developed countries, China and the other developing countries. The estimates do not include CO2 emissions from wood burning and deforestation and also do not include methane and nitrous oxide, so they will underestimate the contribution of developing countries to total greenhouse gas emissions:
Figure 1: CO2 emissions from the developed countries, China and the other developing countries, 1965-2015. According to BP they “reflect only those through consumption of oil, gas and coal for combustion related activities” and “do not allow for any carbon that is sequestered, for other sources of carbon emissions, or for emissions of other greenhouse gases”.
By 2015, the developed nations are contributing CO2 at about 1/3 of the total.
China is emitting CO2 at an accelerating rate and is now the largest emitter of CO2 on the globe. And the Paris Agreement says they only should top off by 2030. At that time, it is quite possible they will be emitting 3x the US emissions.
Figure 2: China’s CO2 emissions, 1965-2015
When reading media reports on climate change, it is immediately obvious that the writer doesn’t know anything if he/she says that the US is no longer is the global leader in the fight against catastrophic man-made global warming, and that China is now the leader. Maybe the US is not now or perhaps has never been the leader, but for sure, the leader is not China.
I like the author’s summary:
“So where does this leave us? I venture to suggest that much of what has so far been agreed at climate conferences has been a result of the guilt complex suffered by the developed country delegates, who believing that they caused global warming felt compelled to take the lead in fixing it. (Kyoto, where only the developed countries committed to anything resembling meaningful emissions cuts while everyone else got a free ride, is an example.) Yet here we have data from the UNFCCC – which started the blame game – disputing this conclusion. One wonders what might have changed if the results of the MATCH study had been widely publicized, which for obvious reasons they weren’t.”