Jayaraj: India, China Emissions Make Mockery of Western Policies
Amidst the European energy crisis, it’s easy to miss other events that are of significance to the discussion about the climate-change movement.
Among them are a series of setbacks to green policies in China and India.
These countries — representing three billion people — have delayed implementation of renewable energy commitments and aggressively increased the production and consumption of fossil fuels.
At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, Chinese and Indian leaders — along with their counterparts from Russia and Turkey — explicitly declared that they cannot be coerced into reducing fossil fuel consumption, calling for an “increased investment in oil and gas production and exploration.”
As usual, the mainstream media neither published this news in headlines nor discussed how the proliferation of fossil fuels in these countries make the so-called net zero measures in the West irrelevant to the objectives of climate alarmists.
As the world’s second biggest coal user and home to 1.3 billion people, India has deemphasized its commitment to transitioning to renewable energy.
According to reports, the country fell significantly short of its solar-installation targets, jeopardizing its overall transition goals.
India’s Economic Times reported that at least 25 gigawatts (GW) of solar power projects that were expected to be operational or nearly complete faced delays or uncertainties.
The deferrals of solar installations now make it impossible to attain the planned addition of 450 GW in renewable capacity by 2030.
The Times says India “added 10 GW of solar capacity in 2021, while it needs to add close to 30 GW every year to be able to meet the target.”
The National Solar Mission — India’s internationally renowned solar energy strategy — is in disarray, with only half its promised capacity in place.
India considers coal plants an integral part of its energy sector.
So much so that the government has even extended the deadline for the coal plants to install pollution-control filters.
Experts argue that the benefits of these plants running without filters far outweigh the inconvenience of pollutants.
In China, Premier Li Keqiang has called for “releasing advanced coal capacity, as much as possible, and implementing long-term coal supply.”
In stark contrast to the country’s commitment to a net zero economy, leaders have doubled down on coal expenditures, a move hardly anticipated by the climate industrial complex. China has already ordered an increase of 300 million tons in coal production this year.
In August, China’s power generation from coal approached the all-time high of January 2021 as provinces scampered to make up for drought-induced losses of generation at hydroelectric stations.
In 2022, both the province of Sichuan and its capital city of Chengdu experienced energy shortages that forced businesses and factories to close.
Chengdu even switched off lights in its underground rail network.
Analysts say coal is indispensable to China’s energy future and that shortages like these only reaffirm the claim. In fact, it is believed that President Xi himself contributed to the country’s five-year developmental plans that reversed a move away from coal.
Contrary to the predictions of thousands of articles and analyses, China is nowhere near reaching its peak consumption of coal.
The ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions from India and China make the West’s emission-reduction strategies meaningless. China’s yearly CO2 emissions from coal use is many times higher than similar emissions from other developed economies.
In 2021, China’s coal-related CO2 emissions of 7421 million metric tons (MMT) were nearly 10 times higher than that the 889 MMT of the U.S. China’s projected additions of coal capacity will further offset U.S. efforts to cut emissions.
It makes no sense for politicians in Western nations to punish citizens with higher energy bills and power shortages in the name of a faux climate emergency.
Even if there were a crisis, ever-increasing emissions from developing parts of the world make Western climate policies historical anachronisms and scientific absurdities that would be laughable if they were not so destructive to economies and lives.
This commentary was first published at Newsmax, September 22, 2022, and can be accessed here.
Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, VA. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK and resides in India.