Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Making China green

Dennis Hayes throws down a lot of fat knowledge on China, energy and environmentalism:

China uses twice as much coal as the United States does. Eighty percent of China's electricity and two-third of all its energy come from coal. This is a planetary problem because coal produces more greenhouse gas than any other fuel.

Twelve years ago, China was a net oil exporter. Today, it imports 45 percent of its oil and is the second-largest oil consumer in the world, after the United States.

China uses nearly five times as much energy per unit of GDP as the United States does, and almost 12 times as much as super-efficient Japan.

China's national leaders -- most of them trained as engineers -- strongly support efforts to improve efficiency. No top Chinese leader would dismiss energy efficiency as merely "a sign of personal virtue" of no relevance to national policy -- as did U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

China's national energy efficiency improvement targets are four times as ambitious as those of the Bush administration.

China is implementing tough efficiency standards for appliances.

China's vehicle fuel efficiency standards are also stronger than ours. Most new U.S.-style sports utility vehicles will be illegal in China by 2008. China passed a national law calling for all utilities to obtain at least 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020 -- a proposal that has been rejected repeatedly by our Congress, most recently two weeks ago.

Strong, consistent policies to support wind energy development are leading to skyrocketing growth in Mongolia and the western provinces.

China is responding to the energy challenge much as the United States responded to sputnik. More than three times as many Chinese as Americans will earn Ph.D.s in engineering and the sciences this year. Bright young Chinese scientists who were sent abroad to study with the world's leading researchers of solar electricity and biofuels are returning home to build new industries.

Last year, President Hu Jintao announced that China is entering a new stage of development, which he termed "scientific development." His much-reported talk placed great emphasis on the need for environmental balance and social equity.
What a sad state of affairs when the Chinese government is a better model of environmentalism than the US government. Where the geo-green's idea of an Apollo project for sustainable energy independence is occurring, but not in the US but in China. Fortunately this is a global game and it makes no difference what side of the Pacific the energy breakthrough discoveries happen on, just as long as they happen. But it does feel kind of odd to be rooting for Chinese scientists to come up with solutions to solve America's energy issues.

Via Seattle PI

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