December 5th, 2020

Gaming the emissions system

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on October 30, 2020.

Biden can’t have it both ways on Paris climate accord

By Tom Harris

In his climate-change plan Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says that the United States will “re-enter the Paris Agreement on day one of the Biden Administration.” The former vice-president reassures readers in his “Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice” that he will “not allow other nations, including China, to game the system by becoming destination economies for polluters…”

Biden is apparently unaware that the Paris Agreement is one of the primary tools with which China is gaming the system. This is because the treaty gives huge benefits to China, still considered a developing country under UN rules, that do not apply to us. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement for exactly that reason.

Here’s what Joe seems to not know about Paris.

Under the 2015 agreement, the U.S. committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (about 81 per cent of which is carbon dioxide (CO2) by between 26 per cent and 28 per cent below its 2005 levels by 2025. China committed to stop increasing CO2 emissions by 2030.

This asymmetry makes no sense, of course. Allowing China, which now emits about twice as much as America, to increase emissions over this period, while restricting the U.S., would result in even more industries moving to China. Total global CO2 emissions would then likely rise even faster.

But that problem pales in comparison with the fact that, unknown to most observers, China and other developing nations need not ever curtail emissions under Paris. It’s all in the fine print.

All UN climate-change agreements, including Paris, are based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Paris treaty says,

“The Parties to this Agreement,É In pursuit of the objective of the Convention [UNFCCC], and being guided by its principlesÉ”

And UNFCCC Article 4 makes it clear that “The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology and will take fully into account that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties.”

In other words, under the Paris Agreement and other treaties based on the UNFCCC, any commitments developing nations make to reduce their GHG emissions are conditioned on developed countries giving them enough money and technology. Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt confirmed this in a Fox News interview on Oct. 17, 2017, saying, “India conditioned all of the responsibilities on receiving $2.5 trillion of aid.”

But even if developed countries give developing countries everything promised, under the UNFCCC developing countries may apparently still ignore their commitments to restrict emissions if such actions would interfere with their “first and overriding priorities” [of] “economic and social development and poverty eradication.”

We, of course, are expected to keep our emission reduction commitments no matter how it damages our economy.

UN bureaucrats have not hidden this inequality. They repeatedly explain “development and poverty eradication” are the most important issues for developing countries. Climate change clearly takes a back seat.

Restricting CO2 emissions in developing nations would almost certainly involve significantly reducing the use of coal, the source of well over half of China’s electricity, for example. As coal is the cheapest source of power in most of the world, restricting CO2 emissions by reducing coal use would obviously interfere with development priorities. So, no matter what emission reductions they promise, China and many other developing countries are unlikely to follow their commitments, citing UNFCCC Article 4 as their excuse.

This is unlikely to change even as developing countries become more prosperous. Chinese negotiator Su Wei stated at the Peru UN climate conference in 2014 that the purpose of the Paris Agreement is to “reinforce and enhance” the UNFCCC, not rewrite it.

So, Biden has to decide – will he really work to prevent China from gaming the system or will he cave in to a treaty that institutionalizes it? He can’t have it both ways.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.

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What we have here is a well known Climate Denier masquerading as an environmentalist using legit sounding names like” International Climate Science Coalition” spewing our fake news in order to keep the planet killing fossil fuel industry propped up. Unacceptable that the Lethbridge Herald would even publish such rubbish.


I see absolutley nothing wrong with what Tom Harris is saying, nor is the International Climate Science Coalition a “climate denier” group. They are showing how climate policy is skewed and doesn’t align with the facts. Why don’t you actually look at their arguments rather than making baseless accusations?

Michelle Stirling

And here at 3:00 we have well know climate complier scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe misleading the public at the University of Calgary…claiming that China is reducing global emissions due to its installed renewables. China puts out in one month what Canada puts out in a year and half. And what do you think renewables are made from/with? Scads of fossil fuels.


… doesn’t seem to be too misleading.

Michelle Stirling

Oh really?  China emits in one month (819 Mt/month) about what Canada emits in one and a half years. Renewables do not reduce emissions; they often increase them.

world ghg emissions.png

What’s the per capital emissions? China is less than half of Canada. And as I’ve already said, much of their emissions are directly related to making our consumer goods.

What you are presenting is an unfair distortion.

Michelle Stirling

China has 1.4 BILLION ppl in a temperate climate, half of whom or more lead a subsistence existence burning dung for cooking and heating. Canada is a vast, cold country w sparse population, producing ag, minerals and energy for the rest of the world. Per capita is an irrelevant measure and completely distorted. What is presented above is simply the emissions. That’s it. Undistorted.


How does big bad China compare to Andorra? Monaco? Borders are arbitrarily. Emissions know no political borders. Unless of course you think Chinese people don’t deserve a chance to live better (which has historically been related to energy).

But I have to give the Friends (sic) of Science credit, trying to hitch climate change to China. Kind of lets us off the hook, even though we are amongst the highest per capital embitters in the world – even when compared to other northern countries.


Yes, sometimes renewables energy technologies don’t have lower emissions. Methanol from corn EROEI 1:1; biodiesel is not much better than bitumen; concentrating solar thermal is still experimenting with scale; but solar pv is over 10:1 now; wind approaching 30:1 in optimum locations.

Last edited 1 month ago by Fescue
Tom Harris

The comment from the anonymous chinook illustrates the problem with the climate change debate in Canada. Rather than show where any of the facts I presented in my article are mistaken, chinook attacks me as being a “Climate Denier masquerading as an environmentalist.” Besides being wrong (I promote sensible environmental protection and say climate changes all the time so I am the opposite of being a denier; and chinook does not show how anyting I have written is in any way ‘fake news’), it is degradation into the basest form of logical fallacies, in this case the “ad hominem attack.” But then, if my article is correct, I suppose that logical fallacies are all that are left to attack the piece.
The fact is, China is definitely gaming the system via the Paris Agreement and the underlying UNFCCC. If anyone can show where I am wrong on this, I am all ears. After all, as “When my information changes, I change my opinion. What do you do, Sir?” (John Maynard Keynes).

Michelle Stirling

People are unaware that developing nations were bribed to come on board with the promise of a $100 billion/yr Green Climate Fund, the money would come from you in the west and go to them with NO ACCOUNTABILITY. In fact the Green Climate Fund executives would have diplomatic immunity. Climate politics is all about ‘who cuts and who pays’ Last fall in September, China and India called upon the West to “Pay Up”. People don’t realize that China had a plan to implement a global emissions cap and trade in 2020. But President Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement. Most of that $100 billion was to come from the US. Canada has contributed about $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so far, and they are up to only about $20 billion in total….not even per year as envisioned. In December of 2019, the COP25 climate talks fell apart of the carbon emissions trading scheme (Article 6). It should be recognized that back in 2017, the IMF saw China as being in financial trouble (discussed in our report “Penury or Prosperity?” Big Tech companies are propping up the EU markets by buying renewable power there. Renewables generate tradeable energy certificates. But this 2009 article warns against carbon markets because the system can be easily gamed…and could lead to a sub-prime mortgage type of collapse.  That may well be what just happened to the world. French economist Henri Lepage explains that the global economic system was broken and something bad happened on Feb. 20,2020…not just COVID. Various forces are pushing for a global carbon tax LAW – which they see as a form of international equalization payment…but the impact on democracy could be devastating. I am commenting as the Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society.

Tom Harris

Wow – so sucker Canada has given 15% of the Green Climate Fund money so far. Do the Conservative Party of Canada MPs bring this up, or are they too frightened to do so?

Michelle Stirling

Canada has a climate deal with China. “The MOU confirms that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will contribute up to $$8,012,400 in Phase VI of the China Council in order to financially support the Secretariat International Support Office of the China Council, located at Simon Fraser University, Canada. ” And in 2018 we made another deal – look at these fake promises of trillions of dollars and millions of jobs. “The memorandum of understanding builds on the Canada-China Joint Statement on Climate Change and Clean Growth issued by Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau and China’s Premier Li Keqiang, in December 2017, and establishes a forum for ongoing cooperation and action on climate change. It will also promote Canada-China cooperation on projects to combat climate change and contribute to the global transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. A transition to a clean, low-carbon economy could be worth US$26 trillion by 2030 and generate over 65 million new low-carbon jobs. Canadian companies are taking advantage of this extraordinary economic opportunity, developing the practical clean solutions that will protect our environment and create the jobs of tomorrow, and several have already set up operations in China.
Canada and China are committed to fully implementing the Paris Agreement and championing the transition to a competitive, low-carbon economy and society. Both countries will continue the bilateral dialogue on international negotiations and policies on climate change. Canada and China will also share knowledge on domestic climate change measures such as carbon pricing and the transition away from fossil fuels and toward a clean-energy future, which will create good middle-class jobs.” These climate deals are putting Canada out of business. What are we doing??

Michelle Stirling

Just an additional note, in a Baker McKenzie power point on the Clean Device Mechanism (which was China’s test platform for cap and trade) they pointed out that in 2007 the World Bank and a private fund made $1.2 BILLION dollars in 23 minutes, trading on the pollution from a plant in China. Joanne Nova explains “The Other Side of Climate” and here is the INTERPOL Guide to Carbon Trading Crime.

Tom Harris



That’s pretty pathetic. Harris and Sterling and probably jennyblake all working for the same Denial Thinktanks having a nice discussion on our dime.

I hope you all have children and grandchildren who will get to reap what you have sown.

Tom Harris

So the anonymous Fescue apparently thinks exempting China, by far the world’s largest emitter, from emission reduction targets until 2030 is fine? And Fescue also thinks that still designating China as a developing country with an indefinite out clause is also fine?
I would have thought that proponents of the climate scare would NOT want the largest emitter to be exempt.


Do you know what you should figure out? How much of China’s emissions go into making our consumer goods? In other word, how much of our emissions have been offshored (along with our manufacturing industry)?

It’s not hard. Look up tonnages of Chinese exports to a country. Multiply by about 100 GJ/tonne (plastic). Assume an efficiency of 35% for coal. Multiply by 100 kg CO2/GJ coal. Assign it to the importing country. Viola. A real distribution of emission-responsibilities.

In a global picture, it is not about what boundary separated the emissions, it is a question of demand. And, it is about an economic system that must grow regardless of the costs to a stable climate (and human civilization that depends on it).

But, I waste my time. It’s not about emissions, is it? It’s about distraction and diversion and division and blame. It’s about you and Ms. Stirling getting invited to the next soiree at the Heartland Institute.

Michelle Stirling

Actually, I’ve never been invited to the Heartland Institute’s ‘soiree’. Our non-profit Friends of Science Society does not operate on ‘your dime’ – we are not a charity, we operate on volunteers, some contracted services and are funded by individual member/subscribers. Have been for 18 years. While we operate on $150/k/yr, (most donations are under $500/yr) the big ENGOS which ARE charities operating on your dime have collected revenues of some $11 billion in that same time period, much of that from YOUR tax pool and much from foreign funding. TIDES/MakeWay collected more $ revenues than all Cdn political parties! “The revenue received by the Tides organization alone is more than the combined revenues of Canada’s two largest federal political parties, the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada over the period (2000-2018).” “The revenues received by the ENGOs and their EnviroLaw counterparts over the period was over 18 times the revenues received by all federal political parties, and over 27 times the revenues received by the market-oriented institutes. ” And these ENGOs have persistently tried to quash jobs and economic development – aka – the highly coordinated Tar Sands Campaign. And they collaborate under the Strathmere Group, which is funded by other tax-subsidized multi-million dollar foundations. Parker Gallant has a whole series on the funding there and Conflicts of Interest. None of that bothers you? Just the Heartland Institute sticks in your craw?


Well, I hope that you are right: that the FOS and Tommy and the Heartland Institute are losing the battle for the public will. After all, you find yourselves on the wrong side of Science.

Though when I read Dyer’s Opinion in the same paper on the melting arctic, I feel we have all lost. Though y’all seem to be happy about it. That’s what sticks in my craw.

Michelle Stirling

Our objective is to offer insights on climate science and related energy policies. We are not intending to ‘win’ but rather inform people so they can make up their own minds and ask better questions of policymakers. For instance, the news in Med Hat is about the solar farm being taken down – wasted public funds – but yet another is being built? More wasted funds! No questions, people? This is your money? Why was there no due diligence done on either? Taxpayers and citizens are being pushed into heat or eat poverty by green crony capitalists, typically with ENGOs being used as the proxies to push through the policy. This is what should matter to everyone.


If you were really about ‘informing’ the public and influencing public policy, then you would follow the science.

If, then, you had some concerns about experimenting with solar-thermal projects you might be taken seriously.

As for the ‘taxpayer’ – you do know that we all have different ideas of what is a good expenditure and what is not. You do not speak for the ‘taxpayer’ any more than I do.

Michelle Stirling

What is “THE Science”? Our group is made up of scientists and Professional Engineers. What “THE Science” do you think is out there carved in stone. Here is the IPCC stating that it is not possible to make long-term climate forecasts. That science must be what you mean, right?

GIEC 2001 page 777.png

Then scientists I’m speaking of are those that are practicing and publishing in the field of climate science. Those scientists who have all but unanimously agreed that the earth is warming, and that this warming will disrupt the stable holocene climate that human civilization relies upon. Those scientists.

Michelle Stirling

There is certainly no agreement that warming or human emissions will disrupt the climate. There has never been a global survey of scientists and all the 97% consensus surveys are deeply flawed.


Bwahahaha. Kind of pulling popcorn balls from your Hallowe’en bag now.

How about ‘gravity’ ? Do y’all feel sceptical about that, too?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x