Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wallfall/How to reduce emissions fast enough?

"if your policy is repeatedly outperformed by lack of policy, it might be a time to consider alternatives."

I enjoyed this post from J.M. Korhonen, which includes a couple of points I think we should remember:
  • KYOTO was negotiated in 1997, with the retroactive 1990 base year providing a negotiated reduction in emissions for Germany, and it's eastern neighbours
  • Sustained periods of significant emissions reduction are very rare
Graphic of the Week: How to reduce emissions fast enough? | The unpublished notebooks of J. M. Korhonen:
Graphic from
...much of Germany’s vaunted achievements are due to so-called “wallfall” effect. In 1990, Germany had just been unified, and former East Germany still operated a number of awesomely ineffective and polluting coal plants and factories whose emissions counted towards the German 1990 totals. These were for the most part closed or extensively modernized in the five years following the unification. A study by the respected Fraunhofer Institute in Germany put the impact of these wallfall reductions to around 50% of all emission reductions achieved between 1990 and 2000, and 60% of energy-related emissions.
While I welcome any emission reductions irrespective of how they’re achieved (well, almost), there are no valid reasons to ascribe wallfall reductions to any climate policy. Therefore, there are no valid reasons to use Germany’s performance as a proof of its climate policy, without removing the substantial wallfall effect.

read the entire post at "The unpublished notebooks of J. M. Korhonen"

Korhonen has reminded me of a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers: Counting the Cost of Carbon (Low carbon economy index 2011) country has sustained decarbonisation rates even approaching the 4.8% that is now required. With the exception of China in the 1990s, none of the G20 countries has achieved the 4.8% reduction in any decade since 1980.
Secondly, the six countries that did reduce carbon intensity by more than 3% during individual decades have done so in unique circumstances only. For example, among the developed countries, France decarbonised at 4.2% during the 1980s by increasing the share of nuclear in the energy mix from 7% to 33% ....
The UK decarbonised at 3.0% in the 1990s during a ‘dash’ for gas power generation that replaced coal generation 
Subsequently the UK consumed most of its gas

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