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Bridge over troubled water
America’s concessions are more real than China’s
FIVE years ago next month, disagreement between America and China, the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitters, scuppered the UN’s Copenhagen climate-change conference. On November 11th Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping announced a deal on carbon emissions. This is welcome, with two caveats: China has not conceded much, and Congress will do its best to prevent America from delivering what the president has promised.
Because America is responsible for a far larger share of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere than China, it was bound to accept sharper cuts. Even so, it has made big concessions. America had previously signed up to a cut of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. This looks achievable because emissions are already falling. The new agreement is for a 26-28% cut by 2025, which would require a doubling in the ...
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In an agreement on greenhouse-gas emissions, America has made bigger concessions than China
FIVE years ago next month, disagreement between America and China, the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitters, scuppered the UN’s Copenhagen climate-change conference. Yesterday Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping announced a deal on emissions. That in itself is an achievement, but it may not be all it is cracked up to be since China has not conceded much, and Congress will do its best to prevent America from delivering what it has promised.
Because America is responsible for a far larger share of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than China, it was bound to accept sharper cuts. Even so, it seems to have made the bigger concessions. It has agreed to cut its emissions to 26-28% below its 2005 levels by 2025. Its emissions are already falling, and it might be able to meet its ...
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Countries will approve a climate treaty in 2015. Sort of
At the end of 2009 efforts to negotiate a global climate treaty crashed and burned in Copenhagen. At the time, the head of one charity described the city as “a climate crime scene” with “the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport”.
Six years later governments will revisit the scene of the crime—metaphorically at least—when they gather in Paris to have another go at negotiating a climate treaty. This time they will bicker and squabble their way to a deal. Whether it will do much to rein in the growth of carbon emissions or satisfy any of the other hopes that were raised and dashed at Copenhagen is doubtful.
Much has changed since 2009. Most of it makes a deal somewhat more likely. A new generation of leaders has come to power. Indeed, only Barack Obama of the United States and Germany’s Angela Merkel remain as ...
Instead of carbon dioxide being like a blanket that slowly warms the planet, after about a decade most warming comes from melting ice and snow and a more moist atmosphere, which both cause Earth to absorb more shortwave radiation from the sun.
A new high-resolution mapping strategy has revealed billions of tons of carbon in Peruvian forests that can be preserved as part of an effort to sequester carbon stocks in the fight against climate change. A research team has developed an approach for prioritizing carbon conservation efforts throughout tropical countries that can be rapidly implemented anywhere.
A new climate change modeling tool finds that carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere owing to greater plant growth from rising CO2 levels will be partially offset by changes in the activity of soil microbes that derive their energy from plant root growth.
Scientists have discovered that iron fertilization promotes the growth of shelled organisms. In a naturally iron-fertilized system in the Southern Ocean the growth and sinking of these phytoplankton grazers reduces carbon dioxide deep-ocean storage by up to 30 percent. Ignoring this response could result in overestimating the marine carbon dioxide storage capacity resulting from iron fertilization.