Sunday, March 14, 2010

Green China

While we dither in the US about the reality of climate change and Spectral Apparitions and vilest vitious Humores, China forges ahead into the actual future rather than neo-medievalism.

The government has formulated a 10-year program under which clean energy will account for 15 percent of the total consumption mix by 2020, a top official has revealed.

To realize the goal, the government will invest billions in the construction of nuclear power stations, wind farms, solar power plants and research of renewable energy technologies, said Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration...

"Power projects take a long time to be up and running, and we are basically allowed five years to complete them although it is a 10-year program," said Zhang. "Otherwise, the facilities cannot be put into use by 2020."

Official figures show that renewable energy accounted for 9.9 percent of total energy consumption last year, compared to 8.5 percent in 2008. Amid the global financial crisis, the government has decided to develop renewable energy as part of a stimulus package to keep the economy on the fast track.

Yet again, trains:
...the Guangzhou-to-Wuhan train is just one of 42 high-speed lines recently opened or set to open by 2012 in China. By comparison, the United States hopes to build its first high-speed rail line by 2014, an 84-mile route linking Tampa and Orlando, Fla.

Speaking at that site last month, President Obama warned that the United States was falling behind Asia and Europe in high-speed rail construction and other clean energy industries. “Other countries aren’t waiting,” he said. “They want those jobs. China wants those jobs. Germany wants those jobs. They are going after them hard, making the investments required.”

Indeed, the web of superfast trains promises to make China even more economically competitive, connecting this vast country — roughly the same size as the United States — as never before, much as the building of the Interstate highway system increased productivity and reduced costs in America a half-century ago.

China has its problems, obviously, but in terms of renewable energy they're figuring it out quickly, and not only through financing and technological development. The country is engaged in a national dialogue seeking the political arrangements that best facilitate the transition, as evidenced for example in this domestic critique of current practice.
...China will have to do more, rather than less, in diversifying its energy resources. A harmonious society must have harmonious ties with nature. Increasing dependence on foreign oil is a nightmare even for a military superpower like the United States.

And wasting nature's renewable energy resources is, like any waste, a loss that can be translated into financial terms.

But why do we get the opinion that the northwestern wind farms don't work?

Why is a useful initiative (such as wind energy) often hijacked by the bureaucratic game of central government officials blaming local governments, and local government officials blaming central government? This is a game that deeply hurts the nation's growth in innovative productivity. It makes poor sense both economically and politically....

The US is engaged in a historical mistake. Climate change deniers protect old industries by obfuscating a clear-headed public assessment of the realities and uncertainties of climate change. But more power to China - pardon the pun - they're not becoming the new economic superpower for nothing.

While we're at it, Brazil too.

1 comment:

Cheryl Rofer said...

And green technologies would mean the manufacturing jobs and exports the US sorely needs.