Reports coming out of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit say that a draft statement on climate change from the Pacific Rim nations is on the way. Early reports, however, contain this nugget:

To strike the accord, negotiators agreed to set a target to reduce “energy intensity” — the amount of energy needed to produce economic growth, Al-Farisi said.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard previously called for reducing energy intensity 25 percent by 2030. A Southeast Asian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that goal was included in the draft.

This is, as I blogged about before, a huge scam. Greenhouse-gas intensity is the emissions per unit economic output. Multiply this quantity by the size of the economy and you get total greenhouse-gas emissions.

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Historically, greenhouse-gas intensity has declined all by itself as the world’s economy has evolved from manufacturing (which takes a lot of energy) to services (which take less), and as equipment has naturally become more efficient. Over the past few decades, U.S. greenhouse-gas intensity has declined somewhere between 1 and 2 percent per year without any government policies.

Based on the historical data, the target of decreasing our greenhouse gas intensity by 25 percent over 23 years is essentially a do-nothing target. We would expect such a decrease to occur naturally. And given such a modest decrease in intensity, we can still expect emissions to continue to grow rapidly — and hence climate change will continue unabated.

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If this is indeed their target, it should be clear that the leaders of the APEC nations are not making any legitimate effort to head off the risk of climate change.