On a recent trip to China to promote American chewing gum interests, President Obama claimed to have achieved an historic breakthrough in the control of 'climate change.' In return for the United States' agreeing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, the Chinese agreed to continue to increase their burning of fossil fuels, remaining the planet's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, until 2030 when, they agreed, their carbon dioxide emissions would...'peak.'
What does that mean? How much is a 'peak?' In case you were sick on the day they taught counting, 'peak' is not a number. Nobody counts, "one, two, three, peak, four, five, si..." Twenty eight, on the other hand, is a number. And reducing industrial power output by 28% is a very big number. And it will be a very expensive number for the American economy.
And don't let anyone tell you that you can save money by switching from fossil fuels. If it would save money, we wouldn't need laws and fines and whatnot to get people to do it. No matter what you think of them, the heads of America's largest corporations are not stupid. If they could save money and make bigger profits by getting rid of fossil fuels, the president would invite them over and show them the spreadsheets (Gruber numbers?) and they'd switch to burning chewing gum tomorrow.
"So, Xi, how did you get the Americans to agree to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 28%? The price of everything they make will go thru the roof."
"I told them that if they did that, we would agree to peak in 2030."
"Peak? What does that mean, to peak?"
"I don't know. We'll worry about it in 2030."