Coffee House

There’s no point in just outsourcing our CO2 emissions

16 November 2013

The global warming question is back on the political agenda with David Cameron likening cutting greenhouse gas emissions to house insurance. His argument is that if there’s a risk that they may be harmful, you want to guard against it. But given that ‘global warming’ is no respected of national boundaries, one thing that isn’t sensible is to simply send energy intensive industries and their jobs and profits overseas.

But this is just what the EU is doing, according to Bjørn Lomborg. He reports that:

‘From 1990 to 2008, the EU cut its emissions by about 270 million metric tons of CO2. But it turns out that the increase in imports from China alone implied an almost equal volume of extra emissions outside the EU. Essentially, the EU had simply shipped part of its emissions offshore.’

This is, perhaps, the most wrong-headed aspect of our approach to climate change.

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  • Peter Stroud

    Don’t talk about Cameron and green issues, such as CAGW. The man is a complete idiot. He blamed global warming for the recent typhoon, without the slightest scientific evidence to support it. Even the IPCC have rejected the connection as of minimal likelihood. He was taken to task, yet has repeated his fantasy again today. Here we are closing coal fired power stations, whilst Germany: yes green Germany: is building ten more. His ridiculous moment with huskies; and his silly little roof top wind generator, were pure PR. As was ‘Vote Blue, Go Green.’ He is happy to pour taxpayer’s cash into the rich landowner’s banks: including his wife’s father’s: to fund stupid wind farms, whilst increasing numbers of voters are becoming energy poor. Pathetic.

  • foxoles

    No, Dave, it isn’t like house insurance – it’s more like demolishing your house prematurely, in order to prevent a bad thing happening to it in future. Result – you have no house, but at least it will definitely never fall on you!

    Btw, has anyone told Dopey Dave that insurance policies actually *pay out* if the bad thing happens?

  • Smithersjones2013

    The Government will never be able to convince the electorate that the energy companies are solely responsible for the prohibitive costs of energy whilst the pursue this futile and failing piece of global engineering.

    As much as the liberal elitists hunger to sooth their guilt-ridden tender consciences and use such initiatives to massage them we must end this venal extortion of the population. Else climate change will be written large on the tombstones of the establishment political class. Already Labour and Conservative only attract 42% of the total electorate’s support. How much lower does it need to go before they see the stupiditiy of their ways?

  • Draughtsman

    Well I wonder what insurance Mr.Cameron has in place against possibility that far from warming the climate actually starts to cool in the next few years. A robust energy grid to see us through long freezing winter months with power at prices that does not cause thousands to freeze to death for fear of the cost of warmth, certainly does not appear to be one of them.

  • David Booth.

    The so called fight against global warming is rapidly turning into a middle class obsession with the poor working class being used as cannon fodder.

  • Denis_Cooper

    The UK’s annual emissions of CO2 now make up about 1.4% of the total annual emissions around world.

    Even if Ed Davey could achieve what is apparently his ambition of shutting down the whole of our economy and doing whatever else may be necessary to reduce our CO2 emissions down to zero, guess how long it would take the Chinese – just the Chinese, not including any other developing nations – to counteract that 1.4% reduction and restore the total flow of CO2 into the atmosphere to its previous level, thereafter to continue to increase?

    That would take the Chinese about 8 months, by my reckoning.

    Whether or not the theory that emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere will lead to potentially catastrophic climate changes is correct or not, the practical reality is that nothing we could do in the UK would make any perceptible difference.

    Closing down swathes of our economy and transferring innumerable jobs abroad to less foolish countries may seem a worthwhile gesture to the politicians in our three
    main parties, but simple arithmetic shows that it would be an utterly futile gesture.

    • Daniel Maris

      1.4% emissions with 1% of the population. This is why the poorer countries always point the finger at the developed economies. Really we should be doing better on the precautionary principle.

      • Denis_Cooper

        So we should shut down our economy because people in other countries have failed to reduce their population growth.

        For good or ill we can make no significant contribution to reducing total global CO2 emissions and we should not bust our guts trying to do so, “precautionary principle” or not.

        • Daniel Maris

          I don’t think you actually understand this very basic point: we are producing more carbon emissions per capita than is the average per capita for the planet.

          You see nothing wrong in that – fine. But please don’t be taken in by this nonsense about our emissions being “exported”.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Of course I understand it, and perhaps better than you do.

            Shock has been expressed that so many of the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines were children; but that’s not such a surprise if you look at the age distribution of the population, which has roughly quadrupled over the past fifty years:


            Guess what, children tend to produce less CO2 than adults.

            I feel no compulsion to reduce the CO2 emissions I produce just because people in the Philippines failed to reduce the number of children they produced when the means to do so were readily available.

            However, to get back to the main point, it could make no perceptible difference to the global climate even if all of us in the UK reduced our CO2 emissions to zero, and that is even more the case when we are simply exporting our emissions to other countries as is undoubtedly true.

  • global city

    The Poles have exposed the whole thing as a scam, siting the UN and government elites as instigating a massive fraud on the peoples’ of the world.

    I’d go along with that.

  • itdoesntaddup

    Meantime in Warsaw we have this:

    “The Japanese government on Friday decided to
    target a 3.8 percent emissions cut by 2020 versus 2005 levels. That
    amounts to a 3 percent rise from a U.N. benchmark year of 1990 and the
    reversal of the previous target of a 25 percent reduction.”

    “China’s climate negotiator Su Wei said: “I have no way of describing my dismay” about the revised target.”

    That is – China now will have to compete with Japan, instead of being able to flog them things. It’s all unravelling out East.

    • Daniel Maris

      It’s still the right direction of travel. Japan clearly has a problem now because of its prior dependency on nuclear, the folly of which was recently demonstrated.

      • McClane

        Was it? How?

        • Daniel Maris

          The Japanese are still reducing their emissions against the baseline – just at a slower rate.

  • Jimmy R

    There is a very slight possibility that I might, one day, get savaged by an escaped lion or be flattened by a piece of falling space junk. Am I going to rush out and insure myself against those possibilities? Not on your life.
    I do, however, crawl three times round my home every night to ensure lions and space junk are kept away. I have found that to be a fantastic policy because so far it has prevented either of those dangers from coming anywhere near me.
    I would suggest, for everybody’s future safety you all adopt the same nightly ritual.
    Well, it’s only the same kind of logic Cameron and the rest of those who fall for the “Lets insist something must be done to prevent a situation we know will never happen” scam created by the “We must gather as much control over the people as we can” political elite.

    • gratayua506

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      • Span Ows

        there’s no such thing as a gratayua lunch.

    • black11hawk

      Ok but aside from the whole climate change idea, emissions from both factories and vehicles are bad for our health. I agree with Bjorn Lomborg in that we should be spending the money now on R&D to make this stuff affordable rather than implementing it now whilst it’s not and causing huge cost increases in everything and losing employment for our own people.

  • dalai guevara

    It entirely depends on the amount of carbon required to produce a factor x of ‘Mehrwert’.

    Old factories and sheds – not good.
    32% efficient plant and outdated grid – not good.
    Reliance on the automobile instead of the various forms of more efficient public transport options – not good.
    Daft plastic fantastic throw away culture rather than long life options – not good.
    Deep plan unnaturally ventilated and lit commercial office space – not good.
    Dismally constructed and leaky housing stock – not good.

    The plebs will only listen when the price hits them square in the face.
    That time has come.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, the time has come to cast you global warmingist nutters into the abyss. That’s what’s occurring.

      You leftist kooks have had a good run with this insanity, it must be acknowledged.

      • dalai guevara

        Oh look, the global kewlist nutter again.
        Care to specify where I refer to global warming in my post?
        Go on, impress me, impresario of global conflation. Give it your best shot.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …and when the lefty nutters are themselves running away from the kookiness, you know it’s over.

          • dalai guevara

            Running away, luv? Am I doing that? I have produced a comprehensive to do list for you. You have produced hot air only. That indicates that you are still too fat and lazy to think, never mind act.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …problem is, the lefty kooks will immediately move on to their next strain of socialist nuttery, as we know historically.

              • dalai guevara

                Yes indeed, subsidies for modernising coal, in great Grangemouth pay-me-or-I-will-close-up-shop tradition.
                You evidently heard it here first, luv.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …they’ve run through the global coolingist nuttery 40 years ago, and now the global warmingist nuttery seems to have run its course.

                  Maybe these nutters can move on to other measures of weather now? How about “global relative humidity”? Surely that can be made to sound life threatening somehow.

                • dalai guevara

                  Ah, I note another checkmate, and you moving on – perhaps the Madeleine M let’s-lock-up our-kids-so-they-remain-safe will be just the right thing for you, luv?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …can another of you lefties translate this nutter’s gibberish?

                • dalai guevara

                  Come on, mum. We all know you worry too much. About stuff that does not matter, as proven above and elsewhere…
                  You really are your worst enemy.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and this strange mum obsession seems to have Hitchcockian overtones.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Is this a private conversation or can anyone play? I hate to say it but I’m with you on this one, oh gin-swilling fascistbeast.

                • Daniel Maris

                  VG will have climbing up the bell tower behind him next.

    • global city

      That will include you, you know?

  • London Calling

    Hello James………..I hope Technology has a breakthrough on even cleaner energy…………:)

  • London Calling

    We can always go further by cutting Greenhouse Gas emissions, nothing wrong with that, Cameron is right….however it has to be a global consensus and not just shifting the mess elsewhere…….. after all what goes around, comes around………..

    The Global warming debate versus a cleaner planet is likened to a fire burning , too much attention is focused on what caused the fire instead of how to put it out……This debate has been raging for some time now and shall no doubt continue for some time to come…….. however to do nothing is not an option……………………………….

    Global warming……..What Global Warming?

    Polluted planet……..what Polluted Planet?

    Inaction………………….What Inaction?


    • FrankS

      The only parts of your post that make sense are these: “…………..”

  • Alex

    Insurance is paying out an amount to insure you from a possible, not certain, future event. So DC is admitting that harmful Climate Change is only a possibility, not a certainty. Well that’s progress.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …not enough progress to keep him around come 2015…

      • dalai guevara

        who cares? are you his mum?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Well obviously you must care, you simpering idiot.

          • dalai guevara

            I confirm I am not his mum. You are.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …is that what the voices are telling you now?

              • Daniel Maris

                Hang on – you were the one who kept on referencing Mums a few weeks back. Are you sure it’s not you with the complex?

  • Alexsandr

    If we believe that carbon is evil (I am not convinced) the carbon should be measured at point of consumption, not manufacture. Any other approach is stupid.

  • HookesLaw

    If only it were the most wrong headed…
    The reality is is that even if you believe in it there is no evidence for it… no evidence importantly for catastrophic climate change.
    Satellite records (the RSS data set) show no global warming for 17 years. The trend line is slightly down.

    So no matter what steps anyone might want to take they can be sane sensible cautious ones based on sensible diversity of supply, more nuclear and steady progress to energy efficiency and insulation.
    Spending based on scaremongering can be cut back to all our immediate benefits.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …it’s too bad you Camerloons are too loony to understand that, which is why your boy Dave’s head is soon to be mounted on a spike.

      • Mnestheus

        What could be loonier than cutting off a trend line at the first sign of its contradicting your chosen argument.

        You know, I know, and Cameron knows that temperatures, like CO2 climate forcing have been trending upwards , wiggling all the way, for more like 17 generations than 17 years.

        • Span Ows

          yes but the ‘hockey stick handle’ was in the last few decades so to have THAT trending down for 17 years is quite a change…and the 17 generations also hint that it isn’t anthropogenic

    • Smithersjones2013

      So given your normal use of logic over political issues, Cameron must be “ignorant” or “bigoted” or a “nutjob” or “pathetic” or any combination of the four for believing such drivel then?

      Perhaps you might like to inform the gathered throng which ones it is?

  • Daniel Maris

    Oh FFS you lot never leave off preaching the delights of globalism.

    Shipping Europe’s industry and jobs to China is all part of that.

    If you take into account improved efficiency I very much doubt that the EU’s energy costs have risen that much for industry. On average energy accounts for about 15% of the cost of goods. Even if your energy costs rise by 20%, the overall effect on prices is only about 2.5%. The real difference will be in labour costs, with Chinese peasants happy to work for peanuts after migrating to the city, while being housed in military style dormitories.

    And in any case Lmoborg’s basic proposition seems a bit dodgy.

    Look at this graph for car production – it looks to me that car production was pretty static in this period, possibly rose when you compare 1990-2000 with 2000-2010.,r:4,s:0,i:95

    • HookesLaw

      Leaving aside ‘globalism’ the point of the article was that it meant there was no point worrying saving CO2 here.

      • Alexsandr

        quite. our carbon footprint is a fraction of that of Asia. But we do have a problem with energy supply security. Hope people have a good supply of candles.
        Cameron. Get fracking now!

        • berosos_bubos

          Coal FFS

          • dalai guevara

            Oh look, another two loons worried about their heating bills.
            When your home is cold,
            then switch the heating on,


            • global city

              on other threads your heart is continually bleeding over one instance of mass poverty or other in the UK.

              What do you think those people think about when the heating needs to go on but there is only 30p left in the feckin meter?

              Your post says, basically, fuck em!

              • dalai guevara

                No it doesn’t.
                My post is an example of reverse psychology.

                • global city

                  Ah, fair enough… I was psyched!

      • Daniel Maris

        Well read my contribution again. I am seriously doubting that we are manufacturing less in Europe (as opposed to the UK) now compared with 1990 (see the graph on car production).

    • Alex

      You are aware that U.S. companies are bringing work back from China to the U.S., as a result of rising Chinese wages and lower U.S. energy prices (thanks to shale)?

      • Daniel Maris

        I wouldn’t be so foolish as to claim that no work was brought back to the USA thanks to lower energy prices but I think it is marginal. Probably more important are Chinese wages and the cost of transporting goods from China all across the Pacific and then into the interior of what is a huge continental nation.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          No, you hope it is marginal. The U.S. is now supplying 79% of its own energy requirements and this figure is rising. This will make its energy costs to industry much cheaper and thus the products of that industry more competitive. Your beloved Germany has been quick to recognise this threat. Germany will keep talking up all that ‘renewable’ nonsense but is switching the emphasis to cheap, reliable coal fired power stations because that is what BMW, Mercedes, VW etc etc want. That probably explains that massive new coal fired generating facility which is currently under construction and which I visited a few weeks ago.

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