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'Diplomatic clickbait': 'Lots of attention' to the U.S.-China announcement on climate, but 'little substance'

The “seriously huge” news from last night is that the United States and China issued an “announcement” on climate change that the two countries will work together to achieve CO2 cuts in the near future. The importance of what was agreed to, however, depends on who you’re listening to.


Here’s the text from the White House. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s not binding on either party and that it’s filled with noncommittal language like “to make best efforts” and “intends to.” And the second thing you’ll notice is that a lot of what the two countries are agreeing to is probably technically impossible.

But if you get your news from the MSM and lib outlets, the non-binding nature of the agreement and the promises its makes are no big deal. Check out these over-the-top headlines:

John Kerry’s op-ed on the deal:

And although nobody on Twitter can agree on the spelling, it’s a “gamechanger/game changer/game-changer”


Many, however, are already pointing out that this agreement is really just a bunch of hype:


And even some libs aren’t all that impressed:


Now, here’s the real question: Can China achieve its goal, especially as it relates to its green energy targets?

Plumer is linking to this piece from Vox that outlines China’s engineering challenge:

What’s more, China’s pledge to get 20 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2030 is really quite audacious. “It will require China to deploy an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero emission generation capacity by 2030 — more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States.” That’s staggering — and it remains to be seen if China can do all that.

Now let’s put that number in perspective: The largest nuclear power plant in the Untied States produces about 4 gigawatts of power. But according to this agreement, China needs 1000 gigawatts of power? China had better start building — and fast.

Or to put this a different way:


China has to do this in 16 years. Good luck.

Really, the larger point of this agreement is to boost chances of bigger deal at the Paris climate talks in 2015:


Exit question: Why are we trusting China anyway?


Answer: We shouldn’t be. At all.



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