Climate blackmail from ChinaRichard Treadgold | November 9, 2011
Bastion of freedom threatens everyone else
A few hours ago China shocked the world.
China has responded to efforts to ban the trading of widely discredited HFC-23 offsets by threatening to release huge amounts of the potent industrial chemical into the atmosphere unless other nations pay what amounts to a climate ransom.
This will have sensitive people trembling in their boots. Those who believe these gases can actually alter the climate and make holes in the ozone layer (which contradicts the science) will have nightmares; the rest of us simply encourage our leaders to refuse to bend to China’s bullying.
This strangely naive description of what’s been going on must have been framed to retain a semblance of decency for the CDM, which was always a rort waiting to be exploited (emphasis added):
China’s threat comes after the European Union and other nations moved to ban HFC-23 credits from internal carbon markets in recognition of the perverse incentives created by these credits under the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The vast amounts paid for HFC-23 offsets have led factories in China and elsewhere to manufacture far more HCFC-22 and its HFC-23 by-product than necessary, just to maximize the amounts paid to destroy HFC-23 through the UN-backed carbon trading scheme.
Why not admit the truth, which is that China (and others) have deliberately set up shop to manufacture these CFCs solely in order to collect the unreasonably huge bounties (70 times the cost of destroying it) offered by the outstandingly stupid (or frankly self-serving) UNFCCC under its “Clean Development Mechanism”.
China displays clear belligerence in this “climate” official’s direct threat against the very environment his job is meant to safeguard.
In a shocking attempt to blackmail the international community, Xie Fei, revenue management director at the China Clean Development Mechanism Fund, threatened: “If there’s no trading of [HFC-23] credits, they’ll stop incinerating the gases” and vent them directly into the atmosphere. Speaking at the Carbon Forum Asia in Singapore last week, Xie Fei claimed he spoke for “almost all the big Chinese producers of HFCs who “can’t bear the cost” and maintain that “they’ll lose competitiveness”.
China’s claim belies the fact that HFC-23 can be destroyed for just 0.20 cents per CO2e tonne. The destruction of one CO2e tonne generates one Certified Emission Reduction (CER) under the CDM, which historically has been sold on carbon markets at an average price of $18 — 70 times the actual cost of destroying HFC-23.
NOTE: $18 is actually 90 times 20 cents. But ho-hum.
Is China really doing well financially, or is trouble brewing? Why would they be so keen to preserve earnings of just a billion or so? Surely that’s small change? China’s trade surplus reduced in September to “only” $14.5 billion for the month.
So maybe they’re just trying to keep financial pressure on the cash-strapped western nations? The stupid, cash-strapped western nations that created a CDM.
…the Chinese Government has already received $1.3 billion — enough to destroy all the HFC-23 it produces for decades to come. Despite this, China still vents at least as much HFC-23 as it destroys, since about half of its HCFC-22 production is ineligible for CDM funding. Xie Fei’s statement makes it clear that preventing emissions is not nearly as important for China as continuing the enormous CDM revenues that benefit its government and industry alike.
Get lost, Beijing.
HFC-23 is produced as an unintentional by-product of the refrigerant HCFC-22, itself a powerful greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance. This means that the quantity of HFC-23 produced is directly related to the production of HCFC-22. HFC-23 is an important contributor to climate change because of its incredibly high 100-year global warming potential (GWP) of 14,800.
If that figure of 14,800 relates to mass, then the 20 cents paid per CO2 equivalent tonne gets multiplied by 14,800 when you destroy a tonne of HFC-23.
Totalling a cool $2960 per tonne.
Can anyone confirm such an extraordinary payout?