This recent paper on the likely path of China’s CO2 emissions is striking in that the projections are much greater than once thought. They are so large that they dwarf any reductions by all other nations who have signed the Kyoto Protocol. On top of this is the fact that China doesn’t have all that much non-fossil fuel energy potential and in fact is highly dependent on coal.

The questions that need to be asked are these:

  1. Is it possible for China to actually decrease absolute emissions? If so, how, and how much will it cost? Who will pay for it?
  2. If China can’t reduce absolute emissions, how much more do all the rest of us need to decrease our emissions to offset China’s increase? Is this feasible? Within what time frame? And again, how, and how much will it cost?

If we can’t answer these questions, we really are in big trouble.