By Ira Goldstein – Re-Blogged From Toronto Sun
One thing you learn on the climate change beat is that the best journalism is done overseas.
In Canada, too many in the media, not knowing the issues, are empty vessels waiting to be filled by Trudeau government propaganda, which they uncritically regurgitate to their audiences.
By contrast, in the UK, one of many examples of serious reporting is a new radio documentary by the BBC’s environment correspondent, Matt McGrath.
Called “Carbon Counting,” McGrath reveals how many nations that signed the Paris accord are inaccurately reporting and/or hiding their greenhouse gas emissions from the United Nations.
Reporting is done once every two years, but the accord doesn’t require independent verification of the numbers.
This “Cinderella world of carbon accounting”, McGrath warns, is a greater threat to the credibility of the Paris agreement – which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed in Dec. 2015, along with the leaders of 194 other countries – than the U.S. withdrawal from the accord by Donald Trump.
Why should Canadians care? Because if global emissions are being under-reported and hidden, then the Paris accord is a fraud and carbon pricing in Canada, which raises our cost of living to reduce our emissions, is just a cynical government cash grab.
McGrath found “serious flaws in the way that countries measure and report their emissions…Potent greenhouse gases that are supposed to be banned are still appearing in the atmosphere and there’s evidence of blatant cheating in some national greenhouse gas reporting.”
Some countries, he said, are “simply ignoring the realities and making stuff up…leaving…gaping holes in national greenhouse gas inventories. There’s an awful lot of dodgy data…”
The last time China reported its emissions to the UN was 2012. It was 30 pages long. By contrast, the UK’s submission runs to several hundred pages, the size of an old-style telephone book.
This isn’t surprising. In China, environmental information is a state secret. China is also notorious for dramatically revising its emission levels after the fact by an order of magnitude as much as the size of Germany’s annual emissions, impacting global measurements.
In 2007, the Chinese government refused to recognize scientific documentation China had become the world’s largest emitter.
There’s a disconnect between China’s national government – which signed the Paris deal – and local governments, which carry it out.
In 2000, the national government ordered local authorities to close small coal mines, leading to a reported 20% to 30% drop in China’s coal production, which earned international praise.
But emissions never went down. It turned out local authorities simply stopped reporting small coal mine production.
Carbon tetrachloride, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas once popular as a refrigerant and solvent, is banned globally.
But an air monitoring station in Switzerland reports China is emitting up to 20,000 tonnes annually.
The same station reports emissions in Italy of 60 tonnes annually of the greenhouse gas HFC-23, coming from one factory. Italy reports the emissions are one tonne. HFC-23 is 10,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
In India, the reporting of methane emissions from natural sources, a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, is uncertain by a factor of 50%. For nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas, it’s 100%.
German researchers measuring Russian emissions must submit their monitoring equipment for inspection by Russia’s secret service and transfer their atmospheric data onto CD-ROMs, submitting it to the Russian government, before they’re allowed to access it.
What could possibly go wrong?