New Report Reveals Developing Countries Control The Climate Thermostat

New NCPA Report Shows that Emissions Cuts in the U.S. Won't Reduce CO2


Dallas - A proposed climate change treaty that requires the United States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions up to 80 percent and developing countries to reduce emissions very little, if at all, would not have the desired effect of decreasing future warming, according to a new report by the National Center for Policy Analysis.

"Developing countries, including China and India, are recognized as having the most growth in emissions in the 21st century," said NCPA Senior Fellow Sterling Burnett. "So instead of requiring the U.S. to cut CO2  emissions to have a measurable effect on future warming, a better solution would be to help emerging economies conserve energy and move toward less carbon-intensive energy sources."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that developing nations would account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Yet, since 2003, China has doubled its greenhouse gas emissions, surpassing the U.S. as the world's largest emitter. In fact, China currently emits more CO2 than the U.S. and Canada combined.

In an effort to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, China and India have indicated they would reduce their countries CO2 emissions intensity - emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP). However, reducing intensity will not reduce overall emissions, according to the NCPA report.

  • China's emissions intensity (CO2 per dollar of GDP) is five times greater than that of the United States.
  • Even if China cuts its emissions intensity 45 percent, it will still surpass the United States in per capita annual CO2 emissions by 2025.
  • Every 10 percent cut in U.S. emissions would be negated by one year of China's growth.
  • Because China's economy is growing annually by 10 percent, a 4 percent cut in intensity is actually a 6 percent annual increase in emissions.

"An ideal climate policy would be to develop the U.S. capacity to adapt to future climate change," Burnett said. "In the meantime, politicians and the public need to recognize that emissions reduction proposals that make Western countries bear the burden are meaningless and likely counterproductive."

To see the full report, log on to http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba694.