Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
More than one-third of the carbon dioxide emissions associated with consumer goods used in developed nations is actually emitted in other nations where the products are made, according to a new study.
In the United States, about 2.5 tons of carbon produced per person annually — or about 11 percent of U.S. per capita emissions — are emitted elsewhere, researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science say.
In Europe, it’s about four tons of carbon per person. In fact, in smaller European nations like Switzerland, the emissions associated with products manufactured outside the borders exceed the actual emissions produced at home. (more…)
Thursday, March 4th, 2010
Four Democratic U.S. senators have asked the Obama administration to stop investment in wind power and other renewable energy projects until the government ensures that the projects primarily use U.S. labor and materials.
The senators, led by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, introduced legislation requiring that economic stimulus funds only be spent on clean-energy projects that use materials made in the United States and that create a majority of jobs in America.
Monday, March 1st, 2010
BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Sunday it will spell out greenhouse gas emissions goals and monitoring rules for regions and sectors in its next five-year plan, with monitoring to show it is serious about curbing emissions.
The Chinese government said in November it would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activity, emitted to make each unit of national income by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.
That goal would let China’s greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, but more slowly than its rapid economic growth.
The policy was a cornerstone of Beijing’s position at the Copenhagen summit on climate change late last year when governments tried with limited success to agree on a new global treaty on fighting global warming.
The United States and other powers said China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from industry and other human activities, should have offered to do more to bring its domestic “carbon intensity” goal into an international pact that would reassure other governments.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
The U.S. biofuels story is a mix of interrelated elements: energy security (lessening dependence on Middle Eastern oil), ethanol, a clean energy economy…and China.
Traditionally, the geopolitical reality plays out like this: the United States relies on politically sensitive Middle Eastern petroleum, which makes the U.S. particularly sensitive to oil price volatility, which in turn, compels the U.S. to invest money and human capital in guaranteeing supply.
But as a major corn producer, the United States commits corn resources to biofuels in the name of moving towards energy independence, price security, and a clean energy economy. Meanwhile, China is industrializing, making a lot of money in the process, and beginning to suck up a rapidly growing percentage of the global supply of crude oil.
Monday, February 8th, 2010
At a factory in Wuxi, China, workers lift solar panels onto conveyor belts, while others in white lab coats move between machines as they check on a process for etching and engraving silicon wafers to form solar cells.
This scene in itself isn’t remarkable. But there is a new sort of excitement about the work. China’s production of solar panels has grown quickly in the past two years; it is it now the world’s leading exporter. When Matt Lewis, a representative of the California-based nonprofit ClimateWorks, visited the factory in October, he said it reminded him of his native Silicon Valley: The workers, even ordinary line workers, had a sense that they were part of building the future, the hot new industry.
Monday, February 1st, 2010
The Chinese government will invest more money in the development of smart grid technology than the United States in 2010, according to a new market study.
China will spend more than $7.3 billion in the form of stimulus loans, grants and tax incentives this year, compared to $7.1 million by the U.S., according to an analysis by Zpryme, a Texas-based research firm.
“They’ve got a strong economy to push forward,” said Jason Rodriguez, director of research at Zpryme.
Monday, February 1st, 2010
Tom Friedman spent most of 2009 beating the China-is-winning-the-green-race-drum, and he has started 2010 with the same focus.
In Sunday’s New York Times, the news side of the house joined their editorial page colleague, writing in a front page story that Chinese “efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the West may someday trade its dependence on oil from the Mideast for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines and other gear manufactured in China.”
To his credit, Friedman’s push has been all about policy. He wants the United States to go all-in in a space-race-like push to match Chinese innovation in energy technology (“E.T.,” as he has glossed it). But, what has eluded his attention – and is absent again in Sunday’s news piece – is the recognition that in order to match Chinese innovation, the policy changes that would be required in the U.S. electricity markets would necessarily have to go far beyond decoupling, one of Friedman’s personal causes.
Friday, January 29th, 2010
A ranking of 163 nations based on environmental public health and the vitality of their ecosystems places Iceland, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Norway in the top five, with the U.S. trailing in 61st place and China and India ranking 121st and 123rd respectively.
The Environmental Performance Index, compiled by researchers at Yale and Columbia universities, ranks countries based on 10 main categories such as environmental health, air quality, water management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, and climate change. Iceland ranked at the top because of its excellent environmental public health and reliance on renewable sources of energy such as geothermal and hydropower.
Friday, January 15th, 2010
Chinese manufacturers of photovoltaic solar panels have secured an increasing hold in California, the United States’ largest solar market, doubling their market share in the last year alone, according to a new report.
In the last three years, China’s share of the market increased from 2 percent to 46 percent, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research and consulting firm.
The share of U.S. manufacturers in the California market dropped from 43 percent to 16 percent during that same period.
“The ascendancy of Chinese manufacturers would be noteworthy regardless of market conditions, but is particularly telling in a time when purse-strings are still tight,” the report said. (more…)
Monday, January 11th, 2010
China has launched what is being called the world’s fastest rail line, a high-speed train that can reach speeds of 245 miles per hour (394 kilometers) over long distances, and will cut the 601-mile commute from Wuhan, in central China, to Guangzhou, on the southeastern coast, from 10.5 hours to less than three hours.
The “WuGuang” line trains, a variation of Japan’s Shinkansen and Germany’s InterCity Express, have reached speeds that far surpass France’s TGV, which had been the world’s fastest train, with an average speed of 169 miles per hour.