UN COP 28: Have we dodged the loss and damage threat again?

by D. Wojick, Dec 4, 2023 in CFact

As regular readers know, I have been tracking the U.N. development of the so-called “loss and damage” issue for several years. This has been a very dangerous concept.

As promoted by the extreme alarmists, it contemplates America and other developed countries paying trillions of dollars in reparations to developing countries for the supposed damages due to climate change we have caused. There have been future damage estimates as high as $400 trillion.

At COP 27 last year, an official loss and damage fund was launched but with no specific nature. That chore was left to today’s COP 28, and it has now been done, at least a very important little bit.

Happily, the official COP decision on the loss and damage fund has now been made, and it appears harmless. I sigh with relief.

Contributions to the fund are completely voluntary. There is no claim of reparation, obligation, compensation, nothing like that. It is simply a mechanism for rendering foreign aid for natural disasters. The agreement says this: “…funding arrangements, including a fund, for responding to loss and damage are based on cooperation and facilitation and do not involve liability or compensation.”

Of course, the alarmists are going to continue to describe it as a reparation fund, but that is just the usual hype. There is no there there.

Given that the US foreign aid budget runs around $30 billion a year, there should be no problem running a bit of that through the loss and damage fund, if and when it finally gears up. Initial contributions from various countries are running between $100 million and $10 million, which is almost nothing. My understanding is the US is kicking in a trivial $17.5 million. I suspect the US Government spends that much a year on unused airplane tickets.

Nor is this $100 million a year just a single donation. The UN’s flagship Green Fund only gets about $9 billion every five years, which is just $2 billion a year. If loss and damage do that well it is still insignificant compared to the $400 trillion hype. So, for now the loss and damage threat has simply ceased to exist. It consists of voluntary peanuts.

Mind you, one big fight lies ahead, but America and the other developed countries may have little to do with it. The monster question is, who gets these peanuts?

Pretty much every country gets bad weather, which is what loss and damage funds are supposed to cover. Taken together, the developing countries’s losses and damages are huge compared to the likely funding. So, who is going to get what little there is?

The COP decision is perfectly silent on the substance of this fundamental question. But we do have a procedure of sorts.

First, there will be created a Board to oversee the fund, which should be a contentious process in itself. Then, the Board is supposed to develop the rules, which at some point have to include who qualifies to get funded for their losses and/or damages.

However, what the Board decides is then subject to the approval of the next COP, which is likely to be where the real fight happens. Given that every country that is not going to get funded can veto giving some other country funding, this could be a protracted process. It might even be unresolvable.

In fact, we have a bit of a model for an impasse. The next COP is supposed to be in Eastern Europe, but no agreement on where can be reached because every possibility has been vetoed to date.

I am not making this up. Getting every Eastern European country to agree on who, instead of them, should get the enormous cash flow of  70,000 two-week visitors may not be possible. This one-shot COP income may well exceed all the loss and damage funding. It would be hilarious if COP 29 did not occur for this reason.

In any case, the news is great. The extremely dangerous loss and damage issue has been rendered harmless. It might even be paralyzed. One can hope, and time will tell.

Global CO2 emissions rise through 2050 in most IEO2023 cases

by EIA_ Today in Energy, Nov 30, 2023

We project that global energy-related CO2 emissions from consumption of coal, liquid fuels, and natural gas will increase over the next 30 years across most of the cases we analyzed in our International Energy Outlook 2023(IEO2023).

By 2050, energy-related CO2 emissions vary between a 2% decrease and a 34% increase compared with 2022 in all cases we modeled. Growing populations and incomes increase fossil fuel consumption and emissions, particularly in the industrial and electric power sectors. These trends offset emissions reductions from improved energy efficiency, lower carbon intensity of fuel mix, and growth in non-fossil fuel energy.

IEO2023 analyzes long-term world energy markets in 16 regions through 2050. We studied seven cases that explore differing assumptions of economic growth, crude oil prices, and technology costs. These cases consider only the international laws and regulations adopted through March 2023 and rely on the U.S. projections published in the Annual Energy Outlook 2023 (AEO2023), which assumed U.S. laws and regulations as of November 2022.

Across sectors, the highest growth in global coal consumption through 2050 occurs in the electric power sector. Although zero-carbon technologies account for the most growth in electricity capacity and generation, we expect coal-fired generators to continue to operate. Across all cases, China and India account for about two-thirds of the world’s coal consumption between 2022 and 2050. Although China is currently the largest coal consumer, we project its coal consumption to decline by 18% between 2022 and 2050. Coal consumption in India nearly doubles over the same projection period.

Liquid fuels
We project global consumption of liquid fuels—which include gasoline, diesel, and biofuels—will increase through 2050. Across all sectors, the largest share and the fastest growth in liquid fuels consumption is in industrial applications, such as chemical production. Increased liquid fuels consumption in the industrial sector is partially offset by declining liquid fuels consumption in the transportation sector as adoption of electric vehicles (EV) grows. Regionally, we project the United States, China, and Western Europe to remain the top liquid fuels consumers, even though fuel consumption in these regions either declines or plateaus by the mid-2030s due to government policies and growing EV adoption. India has the fastest projected growth in liquid fuels consumption, more than doubling across all cases.

Natural gas
We project natural gas consumption will increase in the electric power and industrial sectors through 2050. In the cases we modeled, the electric power sector continues to rely on existing natural gas-fired plants despite growth in zero-carbon electricity generation. In the industrial sector, increased production of basic chemicals in countries such as the United States propels an increase in natural gas consumption, both as fuel and petrochemical feedstock. Natural gas demand also grows in the Middle East because of the fuel’s role in producing and processing natural gas and oil for export. The United States is projected to remain the world’s top natural gas consumer throughout the projection horizon, but the Middle East shows significant growth during that timeframe and approaches U.S. consumption by 2050, ranging from a 29% to 54% growth rate from 2022 to 2050 in the IEO2023 cases.

Principal contributors: Kevin Nakolan, Michelle Bowman