It doesn't matter if you reduce the amount of carbon emitted per unit of activity if you then go and do a shitload more activity. It will still mean your total emissions will go up, and total emissions are all the climate's counting.
But a society predicated on infinite economic growth dare not cut its industrial activity. It would rather have - and with the move to 'carbon intensity' is actively choosing - a commitment to climate change, with all the long term death and destruction that will bring.
Having not called China out for this sleight of hand, we've made it an acceptable option. Today it's been reported that India is coming to the table talking of 'carbon intensity' cuts.
The growth economy will always choose the most profitable route, not the responsible one. Unless it happens to be the same, which, for fairly obvious reasons, it very rarely is. By allowing this shift to 'carbon intensity' we hand victory to the short-term profits of carbon emitters. It follows another rule of the profit-primary world, that the rich shall always take precedence over the poor.
it's the poorest of the poor in the world, and this includes poor people even in prosperous societies, who are going to be the worst hitRajendra Pachauri, IPCC chairman