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CO2 emissions China is the big hockey stick in the room
Watts up with That? ^ | July 6, 2012 | Anthony Watts

Posted on 07/07/2012 12:24:16 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

China’s CO2 emission in millions of metric tons from 1980 to 2009:

Source, EIA:

From Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: Atmospheric scientists release first “bottom-up” estimates of China’s CO2 emissions

Estimates capitalize on instrumental measurements of CO2 in smokestacks and pollutants in the air by satellites and surface stations

Cambridge, Mass. – July 6, 2012 – Atmospheric scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Nanjing University have produced the first “bottom-up” estimates of China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, for 2005 to 2009, and the first statistically rigorous estimates of the uncertainties surrounding China’s CO2 emissions.

The independent estimates, rooted in part in measurements of pollutants both at the sources and in the air, may be the most accurate totals to date. The resulting figures offer an unbiased basis on which China might measure its progress toward its well-publicized CO2 control goals.

The findings were published July 4 in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

“China’s emissions of CO2 are of central concern in efforts to combat global climate change,” says lead author Yu Zhao, a former postdoctoral researcher at Harvard SEAS who is now a professor at the Nanjing University School of Environment in China. “But despite all of the attention to China’s CO2 emissions, they’re less well quantified than most people realize.”

Existing estimates for these emissions are calculated “top-down,” based on annual energy statistics that are released by the Chinese government. The nation has only once officially estimated its CO2 emissions, based on national energy statistics from 1994, although it is now constructing a data system to produce periodic national greenhouse gas inventories. Non-Chinese organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the Netherlands Environment Agency, produce widely cited CO2 estimates for China (among other countries), but these are also based on the national energy data.

A study published last month by a China–U.K.–U.S. team in Nature Climate Change spotlighted a large disparity in estimates of Chinese CO2 emissions when the numbers were based on national energy statistics versus summed provincial data. To illustrate the contrast, those researchers had applied a standardized U.N. protocol for estimating the emissions of any developing country by sector.

The new Harvard–Nanjing study goes deeper, however, constructing a “bottom-up” emission inventory that is specific to China’s energy and technology mix. It combines the results of Chinese field studies of CO2 emissions from diverse combustion processes with a plant-by-plant data set for power generation, independent research on transportation and rural biomass use, and provincial-level energy statistics for the remaining sectors.

The Harvard-Nanjing team believes provincial energy data to be more accurate than national statistics because the provincial data have been empirically tested in peer-reviewed atmospheric studies that compare the expected emissions of conventional air pollutants to actual instrumental observations by satellites and ground stations. Provincial statistics also take into account the large quantities of coal produced by small, illegal mines.

“There are several different ways to estimate emissions of greenhouse gases or air pollutants, from those designed to support policy processes to those made by scientists researching atmospheric transport and chemistry,” explains co-author Chris Nielsen, Executive Director of the Harvard China Project, which is based at SEAS.

The former methods suit the needs of policy, attributing emissions to identifiable sources for actionable controls, but the latter are often more environmentally accurate, according to Nielsen.

“The methods used by atmospheric scientists can be more complete, incorporating new research on dispersed sources that are poorly represented in official statistics or weakly targeted by policy—such as the burning of crop wastes in fields or biofuels in poor, rural homes,” Nielsen explains. “The data are also more detailed in spatial terms. This allows a comparison of emission estimates to the pollution levels measured at the surface, or from space, testing the underlying energy data in the process.”

The new study capitalizes on prior tests and a bottom-up data framework that has been demonstrated for conventional air pollutants to produce a more thorough estimate of China’s CO2 emissions.

The new study also quantifies the uncertainty of the emission totals, applying formal statistical methods. For instance, the team found that the 95% confidence interval for the 2005 CO2 estimate lies between −9% and +11% of the central value. This relatively wide range means that measuring China’s achievement of its national CO2 control targets may be more difficult—and potentially more contentious—than generally recognized by Chinese and international policy actors.

“The levels of uncertainty indicate that Chinese domestic frameworks to set control targets for CO2 emissions at scales larger than individual factories, such as provinces or sectors, may reflect unwarranted confidence in the measurability and verifiability of the impacts of policy interventions,” says senior author Michael B. McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at SEAS.

“Such levels of uncertainty aren’t unique to China among developing and emerging economies,” Zhao cautions. “All have less-developed data systems than those that have been built up over decades to serve energy markets and environmental regulation in the United States and other industrialized countries. It’s critical that international agreements to limit CO2 emissions recognize these differences in national data conditions.”

Beyond the policy implications, the availability of accurate estimates of China’s CO2 emissions (and the related uncertainties in the data) can improve scientists’ understanding of the global carbon cycle and the physical processes driving global climate change.

The work was funded by the National Science Foundation.


I look forward to Bill McKibben and James Hansen going to China to protest in the streets.

[UPDATE] I trust that Anthony won’t mind if I add a comment here.

I’d seen this before, and thought “What’s the big deal”? It didn’t seem much different from what I’d read about before.

So I’ve graphed up the old data from the CDIAC, and compared it to the New! Improved! graph at the top of the page … here’s the result:

I gotta say, the Harvard guys are making a mountain out of a molehill. To read their puff piece, they’ve made huge strides in measuring Chinese emissions, but in fact the old method gives just about the same answer … which is that the Chinese are crushing the competition in the CO2 sweepstakes.

I’ve included the US emissions, because they show a very important point. If we were able somehow magically to reduce our emissions to their 1980 levels, that reduction would be offset by the Chinese gains in one single year. In other words, what the US does is meaningless in global terms.

TOPICS: Conspiracy; Science; Weather
KEYWORDS: china; climatechange; co2; globalwarminghoax
Not sure who posted this at WUWT....but good stuff.
1 posted on 07/07/2012 12:24:25 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

- and that would make the Chinese - Hockey Pucks?

2 posted on 07/07/2012 12:28:06 PM PDT by jongaltsr
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To: All
From the comments:


Ian W says:

July 6, 2012 at 6:45 am

At least one country is releasing more plant food into the air. Plants in drought and under heat stress need more CO2 to survive. There would appear to be no downside to release of CO2 as its atmospheric concentration has continued to rise while the ‘global heat content’ would appear to be static if not falling for the last 15 years.

3 posted on 07/07/2012 12:29:06 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

WUWT? What U Would Think?

4 posted on 07/07/2012 12:29:17 PM PDT by jongaltsr
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Very good stuff. I argued this very trend would happen with a former colleague back in 2001 - when we could only see the tip of this iceberg and yet the trendline seemed clear (to me at least). I argued that not only was the Kyoto Protocol bad for the US but in the end would not matter because of China — proof here that this has indeed become the fact.

5 posted on 07/07/2012 12:33:13 PM PDT by bigbob
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To: All
More from the comments:


6 posted on 07/07/2012 12:53:25 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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To: All


7 posted on 07/07/2012 12:57:55 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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To: All
From post #7:

U.S. partners with China on new nuclear


By Mark Halper | June 26, 2012, 9:10 PM PDT

The U.S. Department of Energy is quietly collaborating with China on an alternative nuclear power design known as a molten salt reactor that could run on thorium fuel rather than on more hazardous uranium, SmartPlanet understands.

DOE’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy Peter Lyons is co-chairing the partnership’s executive committee, along with Jiang Mianheng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), according to a March presentation by CAS on thorium molten salt reactors. Beijing-based CAS is a state group overseeing about 100 research institutes. It and the DOE have established what CAS calls the “CAS and DOE Nuclear Energy Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding.”

8 posted on 07/07/2012 1:10:18 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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As SmartPlanet reported late last year, Jiang - the son of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin - led a Chinese delegation visiting DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to discuss ORNL’s thorium molten salt reactor (MSR) technology. Some sources identify him as a vice president of CAS. ORNL developed a thorium MSR in the 1960s.

9 posted on 07/07/2012 1:17:07 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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The 48-page presentation, entitled “TMSR Project of CAS” (TMSR stands for thorium molten salt reactor) is dated March 12, 2012 throughout, except on the cover page, which gives a March 18 date. It names the author as Xiaohan Yu from CAS’ TMSR Research Center, based at the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics.

10 posted on 07/07/2012 1:22:16 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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More.....very interesting:


One reason for China’s interest in thorium: It has an ample supply of the substance, which occurs in monazite, a mineral that also contains rare earths, the metals that are vital across industries ranging from missiles to wind turbines to iPods. China, which dominates the world’s rare earth market, is believed to be sitting on substantial stockpiles of thorium that it has already extracted from the rare earths that it has mined and processed.

11 posted on 07/07/2012 1:28:30 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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To: Marine_Uncle; thackney; TigersEye; Fred Nerks; SunkenCiv; NormsRevenge; blam


12 posted on 07/07/2012 1:32:09 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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To: bigbob

See #7 and following updates.

13 posted on 07/07/2012 1:33:28 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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To: All
Dropping this on here:

Why safe nuclear will rely on rare earth minerals


By Mark Halper | December 15, 2011, 5:37 AM PST

RARECO chairman Trevor Blench, at a South African monazite mine where RARECO will extract thorium and rare earths starting in 2013.

As SmartPlanet has reported, one way to make nuclear power safer would be to replace uranium fuel with a different element, thorium.

For a quick review: Compared to uranium, thorium produces little dangerous, weapons-grade waste. And thorium’s waste survives for only a few hundred years, not the 10s of thousands or even millions of years for uranium. Thus, it dramatically reduces the weapons-proliferation threat associated with nuclear power as we know it.

So, you might wonder, “where can I get some?”

Glad you asked! The story of thorium is, compellingly, tied into another story of our times: Rare earth minerals.

Rare earths, we all know, are used across a swath of products key to daily living - wind turbines, iPods, cellphones, catalytic converters, fuel cells, flat panel TVs, rechargeable batteries, magnets, radar equipment, you name it. Despite their name, rare earth minerals are common. But mining them and extracting the useful stuff is tricky and potentially ecologically hazardous. Today, China rules the world in rare earths, in part because it historically has turned a blind eye to the environmental risks.

Fed up with Chinese control, many countries are ramping up their own rare earth mining operations. That’s good news for anyone looking for thorium, because guess where thorium resides?

Answer: It typically occurs in monazite, a mineral that contains 15 different rare earth elements. Companies that mine monazite for rare earths end up with thorium as a byproduct. At the moment this is a burden - there’s little they can do with the thorium, yet regulators force them to spend money to keep it safely tucked away because it’s radioactive, albeit low level radiation.

Thus, forward thinking companies are beginning to tie together commercial opportunities in rare earths and prospective thorium nuclear. I spoke with many of their CEOs for my recent report Emerging Nuclear Innovations - Picking global winners in a race to reinvent nuclear energy, published by Kachan & Co. To name a few, Cape Town-based Rare Earth Extraction Co. (RARECO) plans to open a South African monazite mine for thorium and rare earths in 2013. And Vancouver’s Thorium One is trying to arrange “off take” agreements with mining companies like Australia’s Lynas Corp., in which Thorium One would find a buyer for thorium byproduct.

In fact, plenty of mined thorium already exists. French chemicals company Rhodia is believed to be holding a substantial stockpile.

Like rare earth minerals, thorium is not rare. It exists in ample quantities on most continents. India possesses a particularly abundant supply.

Thorium does not always coincide with rare earths, but its common occurrence within rare earth-rich monazite will give that much more impetus to countries outside of China to gear up their own rare earth mining industry.

After all, does any country that’s charting out a safe, thorium nuclear future really want to rely on China for the fuel? Besides, China will probably have plenty of its own thorium reactors to feed, as it leads the world in developing unconventional nuclear.

Photo: Rare Earth Extraction Co.

More nuclear future on SmartPlanet:

And elsewhere:

Start your week smarter with our weekly e-mail newsletter. It's your cheat sheet for good ideas. Get it.

14 posted on 07/07/2012 1:43:12 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Thanks E. This posting must be bookmarked. So much to check out.

15 posted on 07/07/2012 2:31:59 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned.)
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To: jongaltsr
WUWT? What U Would Think?

Watts Up With That. It's a website that counters the climate change propaganda.

16 posted on 07/08/2012 10:12:23 AM PDT by Excuse_Me (I'm pretty sure that only Liberals can be hypnotized...)
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To: Excuse_Me

figers. nudder sores a eglis ignor-ants

17 posted on 07/09/2012 9:21:23 AM PDT by jongaltsr
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