Alexander Stahel 🇺🇦 Profile picture

Alexander Stahel

My view: unless the West get its decarbonisation targets & deadlines in line with China (& India), reducing CO2 is 100% risk and 0% reward.

What drives policy? In short: @IPCC_CH. Scientists there believe an increase of 1.5C is the “safe limit” for global warming while higher temperatures may change the environment and, perhaps, transform our way of life. Fine, so who emits how much carbon dioxide?

The West – here defined as N-America, EU-28, Japan, S-Korea & Australia – represent 60% of global GDP. Combined they emit 30% of total CO2. On IPCC advice, the West committed to reduce such emission to net-zero by 2050.

Asia is 36% of GDP but 60% of emissions. Emissions tend to correlate with GDP: higher GDP/capita = higher CO2/capita. EM Asia tends to have less CO2/capita vs West but hosts 60% of the world’s population. For the climate, Asia matters!

Do you feel emotional? «But China, India et al have right to catch up etc...»

a) this thread is about Western, not Asian policies;
b) nobody told China to waste 30y with Mao;
c) Russia has high emission & low GDP/capita;

Message: Countries do what is in their best interest.

In Asia, China is the largest CO2 emitter at 12-14.5 billion tonnes (subj to source). It alone is 35% of global emissions & chose 2060 (not 2050!) as its net-zero timeline. It stated it will INCREASE emissions until at least 2030. Will it get there? I doubt it.

Climate Action Tracker comments: «China’s net-zero strategy lacks a clear plan on how it plans to finance its transition, which is estimated to be in the order of US$76trn over 30 years. […] we evaluate China’s net-zero target as “Poor”.

Why should the West care? Were the West to de-industralise tomorrow, it could at best reduce global CO2 by 30% while EM Asia (mainly China) continues to increase emissions, driving up global temperatures and thus causing climate change ALSO IN THE WEST.

But you don’t get it: let’s get there first? If it wasn’t for greenflation & $120trn cost, I’d agree. These two issues however are real & mean the West, were it to follow through with current policies, becomes uncompetitive vs China’s unit cost.

But China cares! It invests in renewables more than the West? No so fast. China & India want more prosperity. For that, the most important basic ingredient besides a free market system & the rule of law is to have energy – widely available, reliable, secure & cheap energy.

Aren’t wind & solar the cheapest sources of energy? Rubbish – coal, oil & gas are the primary sources of energy that enable civilised life for 7.9bn people.

Coal=Power; steel; cement; etc
Oil=Transport; household products; etc
Gas=Fertiliser; heat; etc.

Renewables can contribute to a greener grid. But they require grid-scale storage & extra transmission to keep it stable. Such system cost are immense! Fission & fusion will become carbon-free power of the future, if any.

Electricity must be cheap, not just reliable, while for China energy security matters greatly. Hence, China relies on coal to power its grid. It’s cheap, reliable & it has it – unlike oil or gas which it must import. Hence, in 2020-2022 the CCP started 95GW of new coal-power plant projects and permitted even more. In other words, China will install more coal-power in 2023-2024 than the EU-27 has combined – just in 2 years!

By 2025, I assume China will consume 55% of its total electricity needs from coal-power and despite its undisputed effort to increase its renewable share in the power mix. Check for yourself. The data can be found at the China Electricity Council. Coal remains the cheapest, safest source of power in China. The marginal coal cost is US$0.05/kWh. Gas is double that but emits 50% less CO2.

Why not install more gas? Bc gas is too expensive & must be imported. Not safe!

China pays attention to cost more than it does to CO2 emissions. Argue with me up the ying-yang but commodity flows don’t lie and that is what I track. China’s LNG imports remain weak in 2023 as it the CCP has no interest to replace coal-power with gas.

Is China «penny wise pound foolish» from a climate perspective? Natgas emits 50% less CO2 than coal. The US reduced CO2 by 30% since 2010 ONLY by replace coal with gas (yes, fracking rocks) in the power mix. The US has both resources – natgas & coal – locally; does not require imports. But gas remains more expensive while coal is the safe choice from an energy security perspective.

US 2P Reserves:
– Coal: 218bnt (412 years);
– NatGas: 322Tcf (12-13 years)

China possesses coal reserves and must import natural gas from Russia & in the form of LNG from Australia, Qatar or, good forbit, the US. It does so when it’s cheap. The CCP is pragmatic! Accept.

China Reserves:
Coal: 135bt (39 years)
NatGas: 0.7Tcf (1.4 year)

The world won’t decarbonise by 2050, 2060 or 2070. Not because leaders don’t want to but because they cannot: some countries can’t afford it, others have security concerns, again others won’t get there technologically.

Having doubts? The EU legislated «Fitfor55» in 2021 – so far the only continent with comprehensive climate laws. Does anybody really believe the EU manages to half emissions of our resi stock in the next 7 years? London anybody..!? Who pays for it? Do we think the EU can finance €50trn by rendering its economy uncompetitive? By having China selling us cars we cannot afford?