China's Carbon Effeciency Goals will Lead to Increased Emissions
I doubt many people would have guessed it but China is ahead of the rest of the world in carbon emissions efficient. Sound suspicious? China counts its carbon emissions differently then the rest of the world. When the rest of the world count total carbon emissions and their priority targets China uses what they call carbon efficiency. carbon efficiency is total carbon emissions divided by GDP.
What does this mean? It means that China only cares about their carbon emissions in comparison to their GDP growth. As long as their economy is growing faster than their how much carbon they are emitting they are satisfied.
This is concerning for environmentalists because it is economic activity that leads to carbon emission and pollution, thus creating a self perpetuating cycle.
greenhouse gas emissions in China have not been rising as fast as its economy has been growing.
As the Copenhagen summit approaches China has released a statement saying that their goal is to decrease their carbon intensity by 40-45% by they year 2020 compared to 2005. A couple concerns with that:
- China released their statement before the Copenhagen summit. This means they are basically doing only what is in their best interests without concern or participating with other countries.
- Their carbon intensity decrease is perfectly unclear in relation to the real problem of total carbon emissions. They could meet their emissions target even if their total carbon emissions increases greatly as long as their GDP increases more.
I am no environmentalist, nor ecological economist but I can see when logic is flawed
All of that being said, there are potential benefits to China's carbon efficiency goals. They are within the definition of efficiency. It is likely that while China is trying to increase its economic output it will also make some attempt to increase its use of energy - not that its natural stocks are plentiful enough.
All in all: not an impressive environmental move by China but there is still a bit of potential yet.
For information on the upcoming Copenhagen Summit click here.