Latest posts by H. Sterling Burnett (see all)
- Russia Is Polluting Energy and Climate Politics in Western Democracies - April 15, 2019
- The ‘Green New Deal’ Is Dead. Long May It Stay Buried! - April 10, 2019
- Coloradans’ Votes Don’t Matter to State’s Democratic Leaders - April 10, 2019
It seems nature and governments are conspiring to muck up the alarmist narrative that humans are causing climate disaster and governments have joined hands to work in unison to prevent disaster.
Nature’s contribution to this set back to the climate apocalypse comes in from the Himalayas. A new study challenges predictions the Tibetan Plateau glaciers, which feed Asia’s biggest rivers, will disappear by 2035 due to climate change. The findings are further evidence the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report forecasting Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035, threatening the water supply of millions of Asians, was wrong. IPCC was forced to admit it lacked evidence for the claim in 2010.
A study in Global and Planetary Change found in the coming decades, water flows in the rivers will be stable or increase compared to the 1971–2000 period. Although the study’s authors predict temperatures will rise between 1° and 4°C in the region, they claim any glacial melt caused by increasing temperatures will be offset by an increase in precipitation, primarily snowfall. Specifically, they project precipitation will increase by 5 to 10 percent between 2011 and 2040, and by an additional 10 to 20 percent from 2040 to 2070.
Deliang Chen, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Gothenburg and lead author of the study, said, “Evaporation increases when the temperature is higher, and this evaporation feeds the increase in precipitation.
“Glacial melt is certainly going to increase …” continued Chen, noting, however, increased precipitation in the form of snow, which will be stored as ice in the glaciers, will partially offset glacier shrinkage. Overall, the study anticipates seasonal runoff will remain unchanged in the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, and Salween basins while water availability in the Indus irrigation basin will increase in the spring growing season.
And while climate disaster seems still not to be in the offing, governments are doing their best to undermine their energy cut commitments.
South Korea announced in late February myriad climate policy changes, including abandoning its greenhouse gas emission target for 2020 and lifting a cap on Early Action Credits that observers say could boost the market’s supply by more than 40 million tons.
Former President Lee Myung-bak won international praise at the United Nations’ climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009 when he pledged to keep South Korea’s 2020 emissions at 20 percent below business-as-usual levels. But the current administration, led by President Park Geun-hye, has approved construction of a number of new coal-fired power plants and has made it clear South Korea would be unable to meet its 2020 emission reduction targets. Carbon Pulse quotes Joo-jin Kim, a lawyer with the ELPS consulting firm, saying, “The introduction of (planned) new coal plants after 2016 will represent a more than 65% increase in coal capacity, compared to Korea’s current levels.” Under the new plan, Korea’s emissions can continue to grow as more coal enters the energy mix without breaking any domestic laws.
And the Obama administration, who has fought to take the lead on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to bring developing countries to the table to make firm commitments for greenhouse gas cuts has undermined India’s minimal climate commitments.
In a case brought by the United States against India, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled India’s “buy local” rules for solar panels illegally discriminate against foreign manufacturers of solar panels and must be withdrawn.
President Barack Obama views the WTO ruling as a victory for international trade law. Christian Science Monitor quotes Obama as saying, “One area where there should be no debate is that once we have set up trade rules, people have to abide by them.” A press statement issued by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman notes the implications of WTO’s decision go beyond the United States’ particular complaint against India. “This is an important outcome,” Froman said, “not just as it applies to this case, but for the message it sends to other countries considering discriminatory ‘localization’ policies.”
Ironically, the Obama administration, which had pushed India to commit to deeper emission reductions than it ultimately agreed to at the Paris climate talks in December 2015, has now undercut what India claims is an essential policy to meet the carbon dioxide reduction goals it did agree to.
Environmentalists see the ruling as a setback for effective domestic and international climate action. “Something very wrong is going on when again and again we are seeing trade rules hamper governments’ ability to [tackle] climate change,” Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, told Christian Science Monitor. “Climate policies are subservient to trade rules, and not the other way around.”
Sam Cossar-Gilbert, an organizer at Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice, said in a statement after WTO’s ruling, “The ink is barely dry on the UN Paris Climate agreement, but clearly trade still trumps real action on climate change.”