US News: China’s turning green

China, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, surprisingly has emerged as a powerhouse in renewable energy:

  • By 2020, the government pledges, 10% of its gross energy consumption will be renewable—a huge increase from the current 1%. (New law took effect Jan. 1, 2006.)
  • Its renewable energy market is expected to grow to $100 billion over the next 15 years.
  • Solar panels dot Beijing rooftops and Summer Olympics 2008 may just be the greenest games ever.

The full story can be viewed at the U.S. News & World Report web site and is titled “China’s Rewewal: Hungry for fuel, it emerges as a leader in alternative energy,” by Bay Fang.

4 thoughts on “US News: China’s turning green”

  1. I made some format changes to the article and combined the last two paragraphs, just to make things more readable.

  2. The pollution in China is just awful. Hazardous-to-the-health awful. In Beijing you’re very lucky to be able to catch a hint of blue in the sky through the thick shroud of coal-smoke grey hanging over the place; it is like a permanently foggy day there, only the fog stinks. (The scary thing is you get used to it after a few days.) Plus they’ve deforested the surrounding areas over the centuries and as a result the desert is creeping in and they get huge deadly sandstorms several times a year.

    If they don’t work hard at making themselves greener, there will be no China left to save in a hundred years.

    Luckily this is one of the few upsides to a totalitarian regime: once the people in charge decide it’s something that must be dealt with, they will be able to pour a ton of resources into it and (to some extent) ignore the short-term costs. No “we require further study to see if it’s really a problem” rationalization blocking any meaningful action over there.

    Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” has some interesting accounts of how different kinds of societies are able to deal with environmental problems in different ways.

  3. is what it used to be called; using the known technology and going from there.  
    All developing nations have done this, we stole techno knowledge from England to make our own textile industry, ect, and much of the reason for our advance was that we had access to the current level of knowledge and used that to go to the next level. Unfortuantly there seems to be a built in stopping point, where the new step leads into techno advance and society becomes clogged with that advance to the point that there is resistance to taking the next step.  
    Here in the US there is actual reluctance by industry and government to embrace solar even though we could easily do so.  Why?  Well, why did the auto industry kill its effective, cheap, likable electric car?  Because there was not enought profit to offset the abandonment of the existing infrastructure that is tied to oil/gas.  

    China has much less invested in auto production/gas/oil industry than we do.  Now if big business had convinced them to continue the development of the auto to the point where momentum would continue on its own (we tried by practically giving away car production technology, i.e. the Jeep), then it would be a different story.  But they still have a choice, and hopefully the choice will be to do solar and renewable.  

    Consider that the World Bank and the trade organizations forced China to accept a highter level of manufacaturing development that it wanted in return for world bank loan guarantees.  One might see this as an impetus to creating an unstoppable emphasis on manufacturing ala western development.  Like introducting a poor GI Joe to smoking; free smokes in every ration.  The government fostered an industry there!  

    I for one am glad to see the current round of trade talks sunk!

    One looks at the undeveloped nations and sees the huge slums where the farmers forced off the land barely exist, and wonders how this type of unacceptable result of world trade can have a beneficial aspect.  Maybe because the poor countries have not developed the huge consumer infrastructure that results from fra-flung power grids, road-building, ect., that they might be able to jump on the bandwagon for the next technological advance precisely because they don’t have the massive investment in the current infrastucture to hold them back?   Not that they don’t have debt to the world bank, but that instead of the intended consequence, introducting the consumer to a new addiction, what happens is that before the huge infrastructure gets developed, the investment gets ripped off or degraded so that the development is strictly limited.  So, instead of being locked into a certain path like we here in the US are, the developing nations still have a chance to choose.  

    Precisely because electric grids don’t reach villages, there are portable solar telephones that can be biked from village to village.  

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