Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: China to lead the way?  (Read 26193 times)

jonthed

  • New ice
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
China to lead the way?
« on: May 14, 2013, 05:43:18 AM »
There have been articles recently highlighting the big steps and big plans that China is making to address their emissions and pollution, suggesting that China is in fact now becoming a leader in the change to renewables.

I also recently watched the "Earth 2100" ABC special from 2009, before the Copenhagen talks. I found it interesting to hear an american expert say something along the lines of "As the most important country in the world, we need to take the lead...but the american people aren't prepared to make the sacrifice"

It struck me that China is uniquely positioned to become the global leader on this issue. Their form of government centres around deciding on a goal, and then asking the nations experts how best to achieve it. They do not need the consent of the people. If they determine that it is in China's interest to switch to renewables, then they will get it done, and get it done at an impressive pace and scale. If the success story that is China makes the shift, this should be a major factor in encouraging other countries to follow suit. Indeed, if China's economy focuses even more efforts and resources into renewables, it will be good for the renewable industry globally surely. The main american argument for inaction will also be obliterated. If China take the lead, it will be a very good thing.

People often mention that it will take a war-like mobilization to do what's necessary, and it does seem to me that some governments will need to be given emergency powers if they hope to get anything done. Not China though, they look at the situation, and do what's best for them, regardless of lobby groups and opinion polls of the mislead masses.

What could have been achieved already if experts were consulted and heeded in policy decisions in America when James Hansen first gave his testimony? So much time squandered making things worse.

So, even if China take the lead, will that be the beginning of a domino run? Will it be sufficient to get action in the US? Or does the US require a China-like government or emergency powers for it to be able to act on what the experts advise? How ridiculous that I can even phrase that question. Who decided to put the uninformed spoon-fed masses in charge?

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 06:28:05 AM »
It struck me that China is uniquely positioned to become the global leader on this issue. Their form of government centres around deciding on a goal, and then asking the nations experts how best to achieve it. They do not need the consent of the people. If they determine that it is in China's interest to switch to renewables, then they will get it done, and get it done at an impressive pace and scale. If the success story that is China makes the shift, this should be a major factor in encouraging other countries to follow suit. Indeed, if China's economy focuses even more efforts and resources into renewables, it will be good for the renewable industry globally surely. The main american argument for inaction will also be obliterated. If China take the lead, it will be a very good thing.
I think China has taken the lead on renewables, and by implication on climate change to some extent - notwithstanding their various questionable large scale engineering projects (which at least show ambition).

Following the White house Arctic policy statement recently, I think there is near zero chance the US will play ball. The US made it clear what their priority was:
Quote
Our highest priority is to protect the American people, our sovereign territory and rights, natural resources, and interests of the United States.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/nat_arctic_strategy.pdf

Basically, they want the oil and to pursue their self interest, rest of the world can go hang. Their highest priority is not to ensure our species enjoys a comfortably habitable planet.

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 07:07:59 AM »
Quote
Our highest priority is to protect the American people, our sovereign territory and rights, natural resources, and interests of the United States.

Jeez, what do you expect a Democratic president to say when Republicans look for every opportunity to start impeachment hearings?

China, Germany and the US are pretty much the current leaders on getting carbon under control.  Does it really matter who is doing the most?

Quote
Basically, they want the oil and to pursue their self interest, rest of the world can go hang.

I find that very offensive.  Few countries do as much for the rest of the world as does the US.  Europe can't even stop its own wars, it has to get the US involved to clean up their messes.

The US takes the lead on many issues that help the rest of the world.  And when we don't take the lead, we generally do our part and a bit more.



Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 07:14:41 AM »
Thanks for writing the piece on China.  That was on my 'to do' list.

China has done a great deal lately toward getting greenhouse gases under control.  I think they do intend to become leaders on this issue.  They've put a cap on coal use, greatly increased their wind and solar targets, started a major push on getting drivers into EVs, established a carbon tax, ...

Quote
A new study finds that China is rapidly assuming a global leadership role on climate change alongside the United States.

"China is accelerating action, China has halved its growth in electricity demand, dramatically increased its renewable energy capacity, and decelerated its emissions growth more quickly than expected.

After years of strong growth in coal use, this has begun to level off. They are beginning to put in place seven emissions trading schemes that will cover quarter of a billion people," he said.

The report added that China, which this month agreed to work with the US to tackle global warming and wanted "to position themselves as the world's renewable energy leader".

The report found that in 2012 alone China invested US$65.1 billion in clean energy, 20 percent more than in 2011. This was unmatched and represented 30 percent of the entire G20 nations' investment last year.

It pointed to new solar power capacity in China expanding 75 percent last year while the amount of electricity generated from wind in 2012 was 36 percent higher than 2011.

The United States, which along with China produces some 37 percent of world emissions, also significantly strengthened its climate change response, pumping US$35.6 billion into renewable energy last year, second only to Beijing.

The report said the impact of the economic downturn and a progressive shift from coal to gas had kept Washington on track to meet its national goal of reducing emissions by 17 percent on 2005 levels by 2020.


http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/climatecommission_internationalReport_20120821.pdf

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 08:15:53 AM »
I find that very offensive.  Few countries do as much for the rest of the world as does the US.  Europe can't even stop its own wars, it has to get the US involved to clean up their messes.

The US takes the lead on many issues that help the rest of the world.  And when we don't take the lead, we generally do our part and a bit more.
I have a totally different perspective on that...

... but it really isn't a debate for this forum.

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 03:43:54 PM »
If you don't want that debate then don't start it.


Apocalypse4Real

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 370
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 06:26:51 PM »
In regard to China:

China has been the largest carbon based pollution emitter, it i snow taking action and the global community is encouraging it to do so. It is not the leader per se, but it is catching up.

Here are some links to demonstrate enhanced US-China cooperation in climate change actions:

April 3, 2013: China Confirms Their Warming is Human Caused:
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/chinas-warming-is-from-human-causes-15865

April 13, 2013: US, China agree climate change working group

https://socialreader.com/?utm_source=editorial&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=twitter#me/channels/2995/content/EpKMV?_p=article

U.S., China joint statement calls for ‘forceful’ climate change action

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/13/us-china-issue-joint-statement-calls-forceful-clim/#ixzz2QTJHImuB

"China is rapidly assuming a global leadership role on climate change alongside the United States, a new study said Monday, but it warned greenhouse gas emissions worldwide continue to rise strongly. The report by the independent Australian-based Climate Commission, "The Critical Decade: International Action on Climate Change" presents an overview of action in the last nine months."

http://phys.org/news/2013-04-china-global-climate-leader.html#jCp

China is in serious trouble with its internal weather and climate impacts and recognizes it has to accelerate what it is doing in response. The US has urged the Chinese to do so for the good of the global community. China and India are slated to be the source of the largest increases in future carbon emissions.

A4R

CraigsIsland

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 204
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 23
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 07:34:33 PM »
There have been articles recently highlighting the big steps and big plans that China is making to address their emissions and pollution, suggesting that China is in fact now becoming a leader in the change to renewables.

I also recently watched the "Earth 2100" ABC special from 2009, before the Copenhagen talks. I found it interesting to hear an american expert say something along the lines of "As the most important country in the world, we need to take the lead...but the american people aren't prepared to make the sacrifice"

It struck me that China is uniquely positioned to become the global leader on this issue. Their form of government centres around deciding on a goal, and then asking the nations experts how best to achieve it. They do not need the consent of the people. If they determine that it is in China's interest to switch to renewables, then they will get it done, and get it done at an impressive pace and scale. If the success story that is China makes the shift, this should be a major factor in encouraging other countries to follow suit. Indeed, if China's economy focuses even more efforts and resources into renewables, it will be good for the renewable industry globally surely. The main american argument for inaction will also be obliterated. If China take the lead, it will be a very good thing.

People often mention that it will take a war-like mobilization to do what's necessary, and it does seem to me that some governments will need to be given emergency powers if they hope to get anything done. Not China though, they look at the situation, and do what's best for them, regardless of lobby groups and opinion polls of the mislead masses.

What could have been achieved already if experts were consulted and heeded in policy decisions in America when James Hansen first gave his testimony? So much time squandered making things worse.

So, even if China take the lead, will that be the beginning of a domino run? Will it be sufficient to get action in the US? Or does the US require a China-like government or emergency powers for it to be able to act on what the experts advise? How ridiculous that I can even phrase that question. Who decided to put the uninformed spoon-fed masses in charge?

I think this is a great area of discussion simply because policy makers need to focus our energy on what is working (especially for geographical areas of development).

If you really wanted the super simple answer it'd be: Political systems. US has basically two parties and China has one.

It's really difficult to convince a more open society to accept that climate change is happening without having much "evidence" or for what they can grasp as evidence. Ideally, being more proactive when Hansen gave his pronouncement would've helped, but it was unrealistic that society would shift gears. I believe as we see better models and better data (sadly), we'll see more divestment from carbon sources and more investment in clean energy.

While China may look "efficient" in tackling issues, they can do it for so long as their trade is effective (which remains relatively "open"). I would be cautious (I'm referencing USSR) about labelling China as entrepreneurs in their environmental record.

Welcoming dialogue and data is what the world needs to do and then implement more effective solutions. One good example of what I'm trying espouse is how the Brazilian Amazon is slowing down in deforestation while other nations around the globe are speeding up. Whatever is working in the Amazon is going to be relayed to those governments whose forests are getting cleared a lot quicker.

I respectfully disagree with Bob on the assertion that the US does "enough" on its own (if I'm interpreting your statement right?..?) to lower its carbon addiction. It's my opinion but I could be wrong, but that's the kind of thing I'd be glad to be wrong about. ;)

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 09:10:32 PM »
No, I'm not claiming that the US is doing enough.  Not at all.  The US has a very high CO2 per capita ratio, one of the highest.

We, in the US need to do far, far more. 

I object to the mindless US bashing that goes on.  And the mindless President Obama bashing.  Give the US and the President credit for what is being done rather than falsely claiming "nothing".


ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2013, 04:19:28 AM »
With respect to nations that lead the way - I'm not sure if China is necessarily a highlight except by virtue of it's size. Other nations have taken steps I wholeheartedly approve of:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/15/maldives-president-nasheed-carbon-neutral

Unfortunately, I'm not sure where that stands following later political events there when said president was ousted. The demonstration of intent is still pretty good though, particularly coming from a nation that arguably is in the front lines and that didn't do a great deal compared to various other nations to cause the problems.

Certain nations stood up to support a 1.5C target at the Copenhagen summit:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/10/copenhagen-climate-change

These countries typically also have a great deal to lose, are especially vulnerable, and not necessarily particularly at fault.

As for China - well, this article at least seems to suggest they were in part responsible for the murder of the nations wanting a 1.5 C target:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/22/copenhagen-climate-change-mark-lynas

That's hardly leadership, notwithstanding the tricky question of fairness with the US having benefited far more from fossil fuels than China (to pick two of the big players - that comparison can be made between any number of combinations of countries).

Still, some progress is made:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/08/doha-climate-change-deal-nations

Notwithstanding the fact that there should be some legal liability for those nations that have continued to dump immense amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (especially per capita and historically - a list that the UK tops, if I remember right) - especially as the science has become ever clearer over the last few decades (it actually goes back further than that). A pretty fundamental crime against humanity has been committed here.

So it isn't accurate to say no progress it being made - even the affluent nations that are most responsible for incinerating the rest are making some - it's that progress is being made much too slowly to have any hope of seeing a solution to the issue in time (insufficient progress has essentially the same outcome as no progress).

Retreating into nationalistic self interest is an understandable response for nations to take, in the short term at least. It is however likely to fail medium to long term.

People tend to blame governments because it's convenient. The actual behaviour that causes this problem starts with the individual person. Given that people will not let themselves be dictated to (past a point) by the government - at that point responsibility for the issue lies with them as much (or more) than the government.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2013, 08:50:29 PM »
Bob,

No, I'm not claiming that the US is doing enough.  Not at all.  The US has a very high CO2 per capita ratio, one of the highest.

We, in the US need to do far, far more. 

I object to the mindless US bashing that goes on.  And the mindless President Obama bashing.  Give the US and the President credit for what is being done rather than falsely claiming "nothing".

Quote
Our highest priority is to protect the American people, our sovereign territory and rights, natural resources, and interests of the United States.

Jeez, what do you expect a Democratic president to say when Republicans look for every opportunity to start impeachment hearings?

China, Germany and the US are pretty much the current leaders on getting carbon under control.  Does it really matter who is doing the most?

Quote
Basically, they want the oil and to pursue their self interest, rest of the world can go hang.

I find that very offensive.  Few countries do as much for the rest of the world as does the US.  Europe can't even stop its own wars, it has to get the US involved to clean up their messes.

The US takes the lead on many issues that help the rest of the world.  And when we don't take the lead, we generally do our part and a bit more.

I am an American and served my country for 21 years.  I see nothing wrong with the statements that were made which you so strongly objected too.  I consider them factual and, having spent a lot of my life living outside the US and having traveled to about half the countries in the world, I an certain that it is no exaggeration to say that the vast majority of the world's people's would agree with them.

The American president (party is irrelevant) is honor and duty bound to protect the interests of the US and its relative position in the world.  Obama is doing his best to do that just like his predecessor did.  Over the last 100 years the prime goal of all US presidents (as well as the federal bureaucracy) has been to increase the scope of our empire via control of resources and the world's economy.  This is especially true of the last 65 years.  Our colonies have been milked for their wealth and resources just like the British did theirs and other empires before them.  I have studied history for most of my life and I do not think a good case can be made on the past or present existence of any major altruistic activities by the US government.  Everything of scale that we have done was largely motivated by self interest.

Saying the above does not make one unpatriotic and, in my opinion, finding it offensive implies that one is either not very well informed or they are  confusing what is in the best interests of the US with what is best for the rest of humanity.  There is going to be a big argument if one tries to maintain that they are the same thing.

When posters complain that the current US president is basically just paying lip service to environmental and climate change issues the facts are there for everyone to see.  Does this means that he does not think that they are important or does it mean that he sees his job in the traditional sense that what his prime duty to perform is keeping the US in the best position possible (the view point of what that position is is, of course, debatable).  When the US acts to manage conflicts or intervenes in other countries affairs it largely does so because we have a strategic or financial interest at stake.  This is to be expected of our leaders. Any large expenditures of taxpayer monies for anything else will be strongly opposed by the majority of Americans as one would also expect.

I will state again, as I have in many posts, that the rich and powerful, be they individuals, corporations or countries, are not going to willingly give up what they have accumulated.  Not now, not ever.  The US consumes some 6 times the resources as would be available should those resources be apportioned by population.  This ratio has existed for decades.  In light of that figure and many others like it we in the US should be a little quieter in our protestations of altruistic behavior (gving exception to the propaganda personnel of the govt). 

Those posters who long for true human cooperation for the long term good of humanity are asking for something that is foreign to human culture, evolution and our basic DNA.  I believe very strongly that the rich and powerful will, in the end, do their best to maintain their positions and they will facilitate the further weakening of all the rest.  And I mean what that implies. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2013, 01:00:50 AM »
Jim, I'm just going to say that you and I don't agree on some things.

We don't agree that the former president did his best to protect America.  I don't agree that the US has colonies which we are milking.

I certainly do not believe "the current US president is basically just paying lip service to environmental and climate change issues the facts are there for everyone to see".  Anyone who makes only a slight effort can see that the facts you claim do not exist.

I do agree that the rich and powerful will attempt to hang on to what they have even when it harms others.  I've also been around long enough to have seen rich and powerful lose their stuff.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 05:13:25 PM »
Bob,

If you do not understand that America is an empire and has colonies there is no way to have a meaningful conversation on that subject.  That is just willful misunderstanding.

A belief that the current administration is serious about climate change and protecting the environment strikes me as naivety.

I never voted for Bush and I did not like him or the pseudo-president Cheney.  But I have no doubt that they were doing their best to maintain US dominance and access to resources.  The same can be said for Obama and Clinton.  It is a mistake to confuse intent with ability. Bush/Cheney did not intend to make things worse.  Within their capabilities they were trying hard. They were elected to protect the interests of the US and that is what they tried to do and are still doing. 

The argument  is over what is in the best interest of whom one happens to be talking about.  Americans, everyone, the rich, corporations, the poor, etc.  Short-term or long-term.  Feed your kids now or feed the world later.  There is no end to the permutations and no consensus on what it the right answer.  Most of the people who come to blogs like this one would give their right arm if all people and countries would just follow the science and work together for a long-term solution.  Others, especially those among the rich and powerful, will look at the same data (and they have the same data we do) and come to very different conclusions on what is the best course to pursue.  Americans, Europeans and other rich countries populations will never acquiesce to giving up 80% of their lifestyle so that resources can be shared equitably.  Not that that would solve our problems in any case. 


We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 07:31:33 PM »
Jim, this is not the place for a political argument.  If you wish to pick a more appropriate place I will explain what  the words empire and colony mean and we can hash that over.

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 08:45:43 PM »
Jim, this is not the place for a political argument.  If you wish to pick a more appropriate place I will explain what  the words empire and colony mean and we can hash that over.
Given you apparently took personal offense at my original statement (you are the only person to do so, every other American I've voiced the opinion to has agreed, or at least managed not to take it as a personal insult), I'd like to add a few notes (while having no intention of getting into a wider argument about America - in any location).

1. I am not anti-American (or anti any other nationality come to that). I used to be married to an American. I've spent time there. I have friends there (and from there). Having issues with the policies of the government there is not the same thing as having anything against people there. I am anti the behaviour that is ensuring the future of my species is in serious question, and this behaviour may be reflected in the social norms of many westernised societies.

2. I am equally critical of my own government/society, if not more so - it is after all, my government/society.

3. In my view a case can be made for some measure of intelligent/informed debate about America and it's policy/solution stances in this section of the forum, especially given the importance of America as a world stage actor - in relation to both activities that cause climate change and in terms of the affluence/military power of the US in wielding global influence. There is even an Arctic link in this instance (the Arctic strategy document).

4. That of course does not mean it is a productive use of anyone's time (or forum space) to get into a mud slinging match driven by emotions.

All that said, I'm sorry you took offense with my statement.

Laurent

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 2543
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 12
  • Likes Given: 43
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2013, 09:00:46 PM »
cgwebmaster can you tell me (us) what is your country !?

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2013, 09:11:29 PM »
cgwebmaster can you tell me (us) what is your country !?
UK, nominally - though where I live now depends where my boat is (not currently the UK, nor likely to be soon).

Laurent

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 2543
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 12
  • Likes Given: 43
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2013, 10:07:38 PM »
So we join together as the most powerful nations with previous colony (i am French)!
The word colony is not anymore appropriate ! Sure there is still something that looks like it !

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2013, 11:06:37 PM »
Quote
1. I am not anti-American (or anti any other nationality come to that). I used to be married to an American. I've spent time there. I have friends there (and from there). Having issues with the policies of the government there is not the same thing as having anything against people there. I am anti the behaviour that is ensuring the future of my species is in serious question, and this behaviour may be reflected in the social norms of many westernised societies

We call that the "Some of my best friends are..." defense.    ;)

I have absolutely no problems with someone criticizing the policies of my country as long as their criticism is based on fact.

I recognize that the US is very far from being perfect, that we are one of the highest CO2 emitters on a per capita basis.  I readily admit that we should be doing more than we are doing.

But at the same I've put a little effort into understanding what the US, and what President Obama in particular, has done toward moving us toward being better world citizens.

I recognize that the US has been the wind and solar pioneer.  That we are producing most of the advancements in storage.  That we have led in geothermal.  That we have installed about as much wind and solar generation as any other country.  That we have pushed for efficiency.  That we have done the majority of research on biofuels.  About the only thing we have not led in is tidal and offshore wind.

I understand that we came out of World War II with very little damage, with massive brand new manufacturing capacity and we trained a new and large generation of 'serous men' who took the US from an agricultural country to the world's major manufacturer.

We became rich and that wealth allowed us to own "more stuff".  And all that stuff used a lot of energy.  We had a lot of coal and oil, it was cheap, so we burned a lot.

I also know that most of the climate research that has warned us about what is happening has come from the US.  The CO2 measurements which so alarm us all are taken in the US and have been taken for over a half century.

You want to criticize the US and it's climate actions/policies?   Fine.  Just be accurate and put your criticism in context with what the rest of the world is doing.

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2013, 11:25:16 PM »
Here's a list of the 30 countries whose CO2 per capita measurements are higher than the world average. (2009, the latest I found.)

Island nations and oil countries aren't surprising.  #11 Australia, #12 US, #14 Canada.  A few European countries made the list.  Lots of us have work to do....

1   Qatar
2    Trinidad and Tobago
3    Netherlands Antilles
4    Kuwait
5    Brunei
6    United Arab Emirates
7    Aruba
8    Bahrain
9    Luxembourg
10    Falkland Islands
11    Australia
12    United States
13    Saudi Arabia
14    Canada
15    Oman
16    Gibraltar
17    Faroe Islands
18    Nauru
19    Kazakhstan
20    Montserrat
21    New Caledonia
22    Estonia
23    Russia
24    Saint Pierre and Miquelon
25    South Korea
26    Czech Republic
27    Taiwan[2][3]
28    Netherlands
29    Greenland
30    Libya

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2013, 03:44:59 AM »
Here's a list of the 30 countries whose CO2 per capita measurements are higher than the world average. (2009, the latest I found.)
Part of the problem here, I suspect, is that a fair number of countries have reduced their emissions on paper by offshoring their manufacturing (eg to China). Now, one can argue the toss about the Chinese benefiting from doing the manufacturing and rightfully owning the emissions - but the real problem is that in the end the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere is the same (or worse, as China is still industrialising and may well not be running as efficiently) - and a false impression of progress has been conveyed to the people living in the nations proclaiming the reductions (ie they have been misled to believe that their country has magically reduced carbon dioxide emissions, where really they've just been shunted around a bit, and cost jobs to boot).

That illusion of painless progress is convenient for political arguments (eg climate summits) but arguably obstructive to seeing the sort of fundamental reforms needed.

Unfortunately as a truly global problem, we (all) have to step away from the nationalistic approach to get a proper solution. All our efforts to fight our little corners at the expense of the rest simply tend to waste time and obstruct sufficient solutions (and raise the risk of large scale conflict). With many issues we can muddle through (eg eliminating world poverty/hunger, nuclear disarmament, etc) as the problem domain lies entirely in human hands. With this issue - the earth system itself dictates the schedule and hubris lies in thinking humans are masters of the planet.

In my opinion, we (the species) are still genetically essentially cavemen - but with atomic bombs and combustion engines. Technology has run far ahead of evolution, we are like a child playing with matches - we're liable to get burned (especially when we find a can of gas/petrol). I find it disappointing but rather predictable.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3342
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 601
  • Likes Given: 409
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2013, 03:57:53 PM »
Historically, the US has been responsible for about 28% of all ghgs, higher than any other single country, iirc. We were at the forefront of research on solar in the '70's then pretty much dropped the ball. Recently our (and EU's) official carbon use has been going down, but some of that is because we export coal and manufacturing. Without going into more off-topic discussion, Jim is mostly on target, but note that no one is saying that the US has never done anything important on the environmental front.

As A4R pointed out, China is now the highest emitter as a country (but not per capita--thanks for that list, Bob. What the hell is going on with Luxemburg??).

China built thousands of coal-fired power plants in the last couple decades, and whatever "leadership" they may take now, unless they rapidly close these, they are going to continue to be major contributors to the problem. They are also greatly increasing their meat consumption, mostly through huge industrial operations that are major sources of CO2 and methane.

There are certainly people near the top of the power structure there that want to start moving in the direction of doing something more like the right thing. They took serious steps toward incorporating environmental considerations in their computation of their GDP, but then this effort was suddenly dropped, probably as they realized that incorporating environmental damage would take a big bite out of their much-touted growth rate.

Cheap solar is a major part of what China is offering the world, but even here, many think it would ultimately be better and lower-carbon for different areas to develop their own solar manufacturing capacity and supply their own local areas.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2013, 05:46:58 PM »
Are you certain that the US "pretty much dropped the ball" with solar research?

China has built a lot of coal plants.  What they have built are supercritical plants which are 'state of the art' efficient and they've closed about 1,000 inefficient plants.  (Along with getting rid of coal powered steam engines.)

China has capped coal use from 2015 forward, the cap is set at 2011 use levels. 

China has stated that they expect to hit peak CO2 output levels before 2030 and then see reductions.  China's record to date with hitting wind and solar targets is that they have reached those goals early and then set much more aggressive goals.

China has moved from a quite undeveloped country to a major economic force in an amazingly short amount of time.  They had enormous energy needs and a need for cheap electricity in order to build a modern economy.  Unfortunately coal was cheap and available so China used a lot.

It seems that the Chinese government fully recognizes the problems of climate change, their contributions to it, and the role they are playing in driving it.   China does seem to have made a firm decision to clean up their grid.

Europe and the US had an easier time hitting peak CO2.  We had our dirty plants on line so as we replaced the ones that wore out we got "credit".  We exported some of our dirtiest manufacturing. 

China seems to be taking responsibility for itself.  We need to be doing the same to a greater extent than we currently are. 

I think we need to recognize the role played by those opposed to renewable energy in countries #11, #12 and #14.  How about we focus our anger on those who are actually slowing our progress? 

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3342
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 601
  • Likes Given: 409
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2013, 06:03:29 PM »
"Europe and the US had an easier time hitting peak CO2.  We had our dirty plants on line so as we replaced the ones that wore out we got "credit".  We exported some of our dirtiest manufacturing.

...

I think we need to recognize the role played by those opposed to renewable energy in countries #11, #12 and #14.  How about we focus our anger on those who are actually slowing our progress? "

Well, we can certainly agree on these points. I did not intend to express any anger in my last post, and I apologize if it came off that way.

China's environmental problems are certainly gargantuan, and, as I said, there are certainly people high up in the power structure that recognize crucial features of these problems and have been trying to come to terms with them. There, like here, they are facing powerful competing interests.

My brother (head of a major international env/ag/trade organization) is on his way to China to interview leaders and academics about many of these issues, so I may have more to report on their plans and progress soon.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2013, 06:08:22 PM »
Historically, the US has been responsible for about 28% of all ghgs, higher than any other single country, iirc.
[snip]
As A4R pointed out, China is now the highest emitter as a country (but not per capita--thanks for that list, Bob. What the hell is going on with Luxemburg??).
One is mixing statistics here though - total historic emissions vs per capita. If you take total per capita historic emissions:

From http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/21/countries-responsible-climate-change
"Of course, it's also possible to look at historical emissions per person, which turns things around yet again. In this view, the UK shoots close to the top of the rankings, while China drops towards the bottom.

1. Luxembourg: 1,429 tonnes
2. UK: 1,127 tonnes
3. US: 1,126 tonnes
4. Belgium: 1,026 tonnes
5. Czech Republic: 1,006 tonnes
6. Germany: 987 tonnes
7. Estonia: 877 tonnes
8. Canada: 780 tonnes
9. Kazakhstan: 682 tonnes
10. Russia: 666 tonnes"

As a member of both the G8 and permanent UN security council the failure of the UK given historic responsibility to lead on climate change is nothing short of despicable. The excuse trotted out tends to be "but we only cause 1% of global emissions" which is irrelevant - the question is one of example, not excuse making and nationalistic self interest.

So "who goes first" to break the deadlock? I'd argue for the countries heading that list above, especially the ones in dominant positions in terms of global influence.

China built thousands of coal-fired power plants in the last couple decades, and whatever "leadership" they may take now, unless they rapidly close these, they are going to continue to be major contributors to the problem. They are also greatly increasing their meat consumption, mostly through huge industrial operations that are major sources of CO2 and methane.
Given where they started from and their lack of historic responsibility and the aggressive and unhelpful negotiating stances being taken by the nations with historic responsibility, I think China is doing pretty well overall. Their meteoric rise up the total emissions table is extremely concerning, and yet with 1.4 billion people - by no means equivalent to the western nations (yet).

Their people just want the same dream that was sold in western nations - the fact that it's a nightmare doesn't alter the desires of the populace. Their leadership seem to have a good grasp on the issues facing the nation - even if their policies sometimes leave things to be desired.

I can't help but feel the Chinese would come into line pretty quick in terms of further improvement if the historically responsible and affluent western nations would reach further across the table.

A decade ago one might have said the western nations should help China with knowledge and funding - but now it's pretty clear they've helped themselves rather efficiently (and are an ascendant superpower). Now, all one could say is that the westernised nations should lead by example to show they are equally committed to action on climate change. This would accelerate progress on these issues anyway as more funding would be available (and the price of solutions would fall as production scale and maturity rose). A sustainable future is the only cost effective long term future anyway, unless you don't value future human life (which I often think pure free market capitalism doesn't really).

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3342
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 601
  • Likes Given: 409
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2013, 06:23:43 PM »
"yet with 1.4 billion people - by no means equivalent to the western nations (yet)"

I'm pretty sure they surpassed EU percapita emissions sometime last year, but I'd have to do some searching to verify that.

What we all have to learn from places like China is how pre-modern (and some current) farmers there and elsewhere sustained productive fields for over four millennia (see see the excellent book:
Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan).

This, to me, is the main truly amazing achievement of the East, and an astounding example of real-world, long-term sustainability (even if intensive early farming in China did probably wipe out some local eco-systems at first). That book, by the way, has just recently been translated into Chinese, and may, somewhat ironically, help the Chinese themselves recognize the value of these earlier practices, and perhaps help move them away from the worst practices of industrial farming.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2013, 06:39:17 PM »
I'm pretty sure they surpassed EU percapita emissions sometime last year, but I'd have to do some searching to verify that.
You're right, I may have poorly worded my statement. However - even if they're now comparable to EU per capita on current emissions, they still don't have the historic liability. It is a malicious misdirection and excuse for inaction that results in the frequent finger pointing at them by other nations with far greater historic liability (who then continue business as usual).

I'd also be rather curious to see how the numbers change around if you view them as per capita carbon dioxide emission consumption to reflect that a lot of the manufactured products end up in western nations playing political games with the numbers instead of moving their own energy sector onto a sustainable footing.

I'm pretty sure when you do that all the emission reductions shouted about by the UK (and I suspect the US) quietly evaporate (this is where Kyoto was so ineffective in impacting the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide).

The UK is at a stage where they've made various vague promises on behalf of future governments to cut emissions by whatever year - with no concrete and aggressive action, this is meaningless. A later government can just as easily come up with some excuse to unwind that. In the UK right now, we are patently governed by idiots.

Certainly, one cannot be sanguine about China and their emissions - but the biblical quote comes to mind - "first remove the plank from your own eye, to see clearly to remove the splinter from your brothers eye".

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2013, 07:03:23 PM »
Quote
Their people just want the same dream that was sold in western nations - the fact that it's a nightmare doesn't alter the desires of the populace.

I think we might be wise to question this 'truth' which is so quickly stated by so many.

What is the "western nation dream"?  Good comfortable housing, personal transportation, good food in amply amounts, some electronic gadgets?  And enough energy to make all of it work.

Can we not supply all that for everyone?  Perhaps not the McMansions with Olymipic pool sized hot tubs that some are so fond of criticizing, but not that many people live in over-sized houses with over-sized lifestyles.  Not many people have $30,000 ski boats and $200,000 airplanes.

People already have houses for the most part.  Many are not well built, some incredibly poorly built.  But do we lack the sustainable materials to house everyone decently?

Is there a problem with allowing people to own cars if the cars are built from sustainable materials and powered by renewable energy?

It there some reason we can't feed everyone a decent diet?  We have poorly used agricultural land, we have tremendous food wastes.  Fix those problems and there should be food for all.

I'm not addressing the economics nor the time to implement.  I'm simply talking about the ability to provide.  If inputs are sustainable/renewable why can't we all have comfortable lives?

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2013, 07:24:31 PM »
Bob,
Funny.  Not the place for political argument?  This DOES happen to be the Policy and Solutions section of the forum.  And let's not forget that you were the one who caused this chain of posts not me.
Re: Empires and colonies.  Like I said, you are in the realm of willful misunderstanding.

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2013, 07:28:44 PM »
Wili,
China's past agricultural practices were indeed the closest any large group of people's have come to sustainable agriculture.  their current ones..not so much.  They are using too much marginal land and over working it as well.  But China's current emphasis is oriented towards industrial farming techniques.  By the current standard of counting (i.e. sustainable not being a factor) Chinese agriculture is very inefficient.  China wants to move ever more people out of agriculture as it has during their economic expansion.  As they do this industrial techniques will be utilized as much as possible to replace  that human labor.  Over the last 20 years there has been a significant degradation of large amounts of farm and grazing land there due to the pressure of feeding so many people.  Aquifer's are being drained at very unsustainable rates, desertification is a big problem, use of large amounts of industrial fertilizers is happening, CAFO operations are being created, etc.  One could make a pretty strong argument that  the long-term results of these trends there will make things worse for them.  One thing I would expect is that, when this industrialization of their agriculture runs its course, is that it will be very difficult to get back to sustainable practices.
It would be interesting to hear what your brother has to say.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2013, 07:46:58 PM »
Bob,
Funny.  Not the place for political argument?  This DOES happen to be the Policy and Solutions section of the forum.  And let's not forget that you were the one who caused this chain of posts not me.
Re: Empires and colonies.  Like I said, you are in the realm of willful misunderstanding.

Fine, Jim.  You start a thread on how the US is an empire milking its colonies and I'll join you there. 

This thread is about China and its role in fixing the greenhouse gas problem.

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2013, 07:51:46 PM »
Quote
China wants to move ever more people out of agriculture as it has during their economic expansion.

I believe its the case that young people have moved themselves out of agriculture and to manufacturing zones looking for better incomes.  Best I recall China is facing a labor shortage on farms as the remaining farmers are aging and there are not enough younger people left to take their place.

Quote
One thing I would expect is that, when this industrialization of their agriculture runs its course, is that it will be very difficult to get back to sustainable practices.

Large scale agriculture can be sustainable agriculture.  Agriculture does not need to be labor intensive in order to be sustainable.  One simply has to use agricultural practices that do not harm the land and use sustainable inputs.

Lewis C

  • New ice
  • Posts: 62
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2013, 08:12:58 PM »
Bob's list of countries per capita emissions is badly bent, in that it includes territories that are not independent countries or member states of the UN. Wikipedia shows the same bent list with, for example Aruba (7th) which is part of Netherlands Antilles (3rd) which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (28th). To give a major state like the USA a lower ranking, both New York State and Long Island could be included under this misleading system. For clarity's sake I've put a line through the inappropriate territories

         Wikipedia 2009 data
Actual   Per Capita CO2
Rank    "Rank per country"

1   1   Qatar
2   2    Trinidad and Tobago
-   3    Netherlands Antilles
3   4    Kuwait
4   5    Brunei
5   6    United Arab Emirates
-   7    Aruba
6   8    Bahrain
7   9    Luxembourg
-   10    Falkland Islands
8   11    Australia
9   12    United States
10   13    Saudi Arabia
11   14    Canada
12   15    Oman
-   16    Gibraltar
-   17    Faroe Islands
13   18    Nauru
14   19    Kazakhstan
-   20    Montserrat
-   21    New Caledonia
15   22    Estonia
16   23    Russia
-   24    Saint Pierre and Miquelon
17   25    South Korea
18   26    Czech Republic
19   27    Taiwan[2][3]
20   28    Netherlands
-   29    Greenland
21   30    Libya


The scientifically rational measure of nations' responsibility for the CO2 problem is, as CCGWebmaster points out, the scale of their cumulative emissions - to which their current per capita emissions are but an annual addition. Given the 100yr residence of CO2, the table below shows 100yrs of nations' cumulative emissions alongside their 2009 per capita emissions, using WRI and World Bank data respectively.

WRI data      UN World bank data      
1909 - 2008     2009      
Cumulative   Per capita      
GtsCO2  Rank  TsCO2 Rank Country
258.64    1   17.3    9   US America
111.41    2   5.8    57   China
90.15     3   11.1   15   Russian Federation
53.89     4   9.0    27   Germany
46.87     5   8.6    29   Japan
33.89     6   7.7    36   United Kingdom
28.26     7   1.6   114   India
24.03     8   5.9    55   Ukraine
22.08     9   15.2   11   Canada
21.80    10   5.6    59   France
18.14    11   6.7    45   Italy
17.68    12   7.8    35   Poland
12.13    13   18.4    8   Australia
12.04    14   10.1   19   South Africa
11.96    15   4.0    77   Mexico
10.72    16   10.4   16   Korea (South)
10.30    17   6.3    52   Spain
10.07    18   14.0   13   Kazakhstan
9.93     19   1.9   105   Brazil
9.27     20   8.2    33   Iran
7.94     21   10.3   18   Netherlands
7.80     22   10.3   17   Czech Republic
7.18     23   16.1   10   Saudi Arabia
7.04     24   1.9   107   Indonesia
6.62     25   9.6    24   Belgium
6.58     26   3.7    83   Romania
5.87     27   3.9    80   Turkey
5.76     28   4.2    76   Uzbekistan
5.61     29   10.9   20   Taiwan
5.57     30   4.4    74   Argentina


In terms of the allocation of national emissions rights under a declining global carbon budget, there is plainly no point in conflating the cumulative with the current emissions liability. The former are in some cases so massive that their inclusion in the calculation would leave no significant allocation at all, thereby maximizing the opportunity for demagogues to gain power on the promise of reneging on their nation's treaty commitment. That rather punitive approach, favored by CAN and the "greenhouse development rights" crew could be highly counterproductive.

As a practical matter the recovery of nations' cumulative emissions will take over 100yrs, even with the advantages of a partly self-funding means like afforestation for biochar and co-product methanol. The current emissions are a distinct issue and it makes more sense to treat them as such, with the allocation of tradable emissions permits starting at nations' current levels and converging over an agreed period to per capita parity. Allowing an additional annual allocation to perhaps the least-developed third of nations - which they can trade for clean energy tech, desalination plant, etc, - would seem both humane and also rational in preventing the increase of failed states.

Regards,

Lewis

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2013, 08:40:18 PM »
In terms of the allocation of national emissions rights under a declining global carbon budget, there is plainly no point in conflating the cumulative with the current emissions liability. The former are in some cases so massive that their inclusion in the calculation would leave no significant allocation at all, thereby maximizing the opportunity for demagogues to gain power on the promise of reneging on their nation's treaty commitment. That rather punitive approach, favored by CAN and the "greenhouse development rights" crew could be highly counterproductive.
This is a good point - and I wasn't arguing that historic emissions should be used to moderate any sort of ongoing allowance/quota in quite that way. I think they can however provide a reasonable metric one can use to settle important questions over responsibility and accountability as well as identifying who should break the impasse and "go first" and show leadership on the issue (especially where the nations in question hold key positions on the global stage!).

There is a slimy hypocrisy in any nation willing to justify it's perpetuation of a long history of carbon dioxide emissions by pointing at nations that are newcomers to the club.

Ideally the nations with the greatest historical culpability would exercise the appropriate moral responsibility by leading the way away from fossil fuels, and assisting the rest of the world in some measure as appropriate to do the same (and I don't just mean by finance and knowledge, but also legislating so that products from carbon intensive nations were mitigated against to reflect their true cost to the environment).

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2013, 08:52:01 PM »
Quote
Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

Quote
The Netherlands Antilles (Dutch: Nederlandse Antillen [ˈneːdərˌlɑntsə ɑnˈtɪlə(n)] ( listen), Papiamentu: Antia Hulandes[2]), also referred to informally as the Dutch Antilles,[3] was an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although the country has now been dissolved, all of its constituent islands remain part of the kingdom under a different legal status and the term is still used to refer to these Dutch Caribbean islands.

Quote
As a British Overseas Territory, the (Falkland) islands enjoy a large degree of internal self-governance with the United Kingdom guaranteeing good government and taking responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs.

(All this and "my" list from Wiki.)

I really don't think it important to spend much time worrying about what is a country and what is not.  Let's just call them "distinct geographical locations under a single government",  shall we?

It seems to me that CO2 per capita is much more important than CO2 per "country".  A country with a billion people might be doing a much better job controlling it's CO2 production than one with a million people, over one thousand times better, yet have a higher CO2 output.

What we have to do is to get CO2 emission per capita for the world down.  Looking at CO2 per capita per country tells us where work is most needed.

And I don't think we gain anything by worrying about who pumped how much CO2 into the environment in the past.  The past is past.  The important thing, IMHO, is to work on getting greenhouse gas emissions down going forward.

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2013, 08:48:23 PM »
Quote
China, the world’s biggest polluter, is proposing to set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions as early as 2016 in a move that is being hailed as a potentially transformative step in the fight against climate change.

According to news reports from China, the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has proposed setting absolute caps that would divorce the growth on emissions from growth in the economy, and will also set a peak in its overall emissions in 2025, five years earlier than planned.

China has already pledged to cut its emissions intensity – the amount of Co2 it emits per economic unit – by up to 45 per cent by 2020. The significance of an absolute cap is that it promises to reign in emissions even if the economy grows faster than expected.

Furthermore, Point Carbon reports, at a recent NDRC meeting, its vice director Xie Zhenhua said China should set long-term emission targets for 2030 and 2050 in a bid to decarbonise its economy.

....

The implications for Australian business in abandoning carbon pricing as its biggest trading partner embraces its own are enormous. And so is the move to limit coal production. Deutsche Bank, for instance, estimates that China will cease to be an importer of coal within a few years – reducing a major source of demand for Australian coal and causing a slump in international thermal coal prices that will make even these new investment uneconomic. Over half of Australia’s thermal coal mines are already losing money, according to a recent survey.


http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/china-emissions-cap-proposal-seen-as-climate-breakthrough-40529

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3342
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 601
  • Likes Given: 409
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2013, 03:20:13 PM »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2013, 04:36:36 PM »
In regard to China:

China has been the largest carbon based pollution emitter, it is now taking action and the global community is encouraging it to do so. It is not the leader per se, but it is catching up.

China is in serious trouble with its internal weather and climate impacts and recognizes it has to accelerate what it is doing in response. The US has urged the Chinese to do so for the good of the global community. China and India are slated to be the source of the largest increases in future carbon emissions.

A4R

While China's CO2 emissions are rising rapidly, U.S. per capita emissions dwarf China's and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The U.S. and other western nations are dishonest when they suggest that China is the problem. It is imperative that the wealthy west take the lead in alternatives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita

Meanwhile, China is leading the way on wind power installations, accounting for nearly half of the world's increase in 2012. They have also built the largest wind turbine industry and are currently the largest exporter of wind turbines.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_by_country

In 2012, China produced 7 GW using solar power while U.S. production was only 4 GW.

There is absolutely no way the U.S. can be seen as a leader in alternative energy unless, of course, you'd like to include fracking and tar sands as alternatives.

One wealthy western nation that could be considered a leader is Germany which has plans to have 50% of energy production be from alternatives by 2050.

Just to avoid those who would like to make this a political discussion, I am a citizen of the U.S. and my comment is intended to provide some numbers for discussion.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 10:41:36 PM by Shared Humanity »

SATire

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 34
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2013, 03:11:22 PM »
One wealthy western nation that could be considered a leader is Germany which has plans to have 50% of energy production be from alternatives by 2050.
Germany is currently ahead of its plan but still well behind wealthy countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden. China seems to be on a good road to follow Europe on the long run (wind, water and solar), that gives a lot of hope here for a new leader in future.

But there is some wind of change in Germany - plans to build more power plants burning brown coal are growing and poeple want to save money. Due to paving the way for solar electricity in Germany is now nearly as expensive as in Denmark. We would now need some action in USA to stay on track. Otherwise poeple would consider all the costly efforts as in vain and as economically unfair, if e.g. USA stays on the cheap-energy drug regardless. The AGW problem can only be addressed globaly and all wealthy nations that are able must be in the boat and must try hard together. So - we trust on you to join the band soon.

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #39 on: June 02, 2013, 06:35:31 PM »
Germany's new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned. These new plants were planned and construction was started prior to the decision to close nuclear plants.

By 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.

Furthermore those plants will be more efficient, releasing less CO2 per unit electricity produced than are the ones they are replacing.  And the new coal plants are partially load-following.  That will also cut the amount of CO2 produced by coal.

SATire

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 34
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #40 on: June 02, 2013, 06:53:26 PM »
Bob Wallace - I was talking about "brown" coal - that means burning of 50% water. That is about as efficient in respect to CO2 as tar sand. And those new plants really make no sense at all - it is only possible because CO2-emission certificates are very cheap these days in Europe (due to the success of the renewables!).

I only want you to consider that my homeland is not "leading the world" in any way, a lot of mistakes are done here, too. A joined effort is, what we need. And we should also learn from the mistakes of our international partners. That is at least a point taken really serious in China.

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #41 on: June 02, 2013, 07:51:02 PM »
You stated -

Quote
Germany - plans to build more power plants burning brown coal are growing

Do you have information that shows that Germany is planning to build more coal plants than the 11.3 GW which are already under construction?  Or that they have decided to not shutter the 18.5 GW scheduled to close as the new plants come on line?



SATire

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 34
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #42 on: June 02, 2013, 08:53:27 PM »
Those things are decided by some administrations and company RWE but not final - there are still some demonstrations and occupy-things going on.  There is some hope but the CO2-argument is not worth so much anymore :-( And with certificates beeing so cheap, they probably will not shut down paid-off plants.

But please do not expect a new plan before election in September - it may change this way or the other.

Some information:
BUND: http://www.bund-nrw.de/themen_und_projekte/braunkohle/
DIW: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.412252.de/12-48-4.pdf

The problem is not the installed power but that the power plants burn brown coal (lignite) and not stone coal (anthracite). Brown coal burning must shut down. But it is hard these days to get poeple on the streets to reduce CO2 when nobody else reduces, too. They feel got fooled.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 09:17:18 PM by SATire »

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #43 on: June 03, 2013, 07:41:33 AM »
Well, Germany says that they are going to shut down those plants.  So far they've been pretty aggressive about getting their CO2 levels down.  If you want to believe that they won't close the plants they say they will close, that's your decision.

Perhaps it would help to think a bit about Germany's position.  They have little to no natural gas of their own.  Their supply comes from Russia and the Russians have been known to jerk other countries around by threatening to cut off their gas supply.

Chernobyl was a Soviet-built reactor that melted down next door to Germany.  And when Japan melted down a few German citizens decided to get all nuclear shut down ASAP. 

Many of Germany's reactors are Soviet-built and in what used to be Soviet-controlled East Germany.  And the coal in East Germany is soft coal.

Germany probably won't be quite as successful at cutting their CO2 as they would have been had they decided that nuclear meltdown was a more immediate risk and one they did not want to live with.

I'll bet Germany stays ahead almost every other country in cutting CO2 levels, even if they burn some coal during the transition.

SATire

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 34
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #44 on: June 03, 2013, 01:38:52 PM »
It does not mean anything, what I believe. What I know is that brown coal is one of the worst energy source CO2 wise - that is the reason why I say: Germany is not leading the world towards a CO2-free energy by installing new brown coal power plants. We have still one of the highest per capita CO2 emission in Europe due to that shit (while of course doing much better than USA). If you ask for a leader - look at Scandinavian countries: They allways try harder than anybody else.

When you talk about Germanys decision to get out of nuclear power plants - are you talking about the nation wide (including electric industry) excepted nuclear exit from 2000 or Merkels double-U-turn from 2010 (exit from exit) and 2011 (Fukushima driven exit from exit from exit without consent)? The 2000 plan was the same that boosted renewables. That 2000 "energy reversal" could be a possible blue print for USA and others - the 2011 double U-turn would not, of course.

And since renewables grow faster than planned, there is no real need for brown coal. Also economically brown coal would make no sense, if emission certificates would still have some price.

Tschernobyl did trigger something in Germany - especially helped the "green party" to grow. But reason for the exit is not existing ultimate disposal of waste. And when green party finaly became part of the government in 1998 - it was clear that the 2000 energy reversal was their primary goal next to Agenda 2010 (foster and challenge poeple for sustainable growth). These two roots make Germany looking strong today - but new things are missing badly.

So please: Look at Scandinavia or Germanys 2000 energy reversal and try harder for sustainable wealth.


Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #45 on: June 03, 2013, 06:01:36 PM »
Quote
And since renewables grow faster than planned, there is no real need for brown coal.

My assumption is that their coal use will be as minimal as necessary.  But countries do need ways to back up their grids and natural gas is not an option for Germany.  If, in a few years, Germany can have its coal plants sitting idle but available in the event of a major grid need, well, we can live with that.

SATire

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 34
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #46 on: June 03, 2013, 07:54:22 PM »
Many of Germany's reactors are Soviet-built and in what used to be Soviet-controlled East Germany.  And the coal in East Germany is soft coal.
Sorry, the Soviet-built reactors in GDR were shut down 1990. And what you call soft coal is exactly the brown coal I am talking about (lignite). Most of the brown coal power plants are in the west - between Cologne and Netherlands and belong to the most poluting plants in the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_least_carbon_efficient_power_stations

I can understand that poeple think tar sand is ok if one calls new brown coal plants the leading way. But instead I think you just missunderstood my wording "brown coal". Here a picture of the stuff I am talking about: http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/de/59998/rwe-power-ag/standorte/braunkohle/garzweiler/

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #47 on: June 03, 2013, 08:15:44 PM »
The term "brown coal" is used differently in different parts of the world.

Quote
brown coal, broad and variable group of low-rank coals characterized by their brownish coloration and high (greater than 50 percent) moisture content. These coals typically include lignite and some subbituminous coals. In Great Britain and other countries, the term brown coal is used to describe those low-rank coals (lignite and subbituminous coal) that generally have a brown colour. In Germany lignite, subbituminous coal, and some high-volatile bituminous coals are classified as brown coals (Braunkohle). In the United States and Canada, the term brown coal is not used.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/81675/brown-coal



There are, I think, two separate issues.  Amount of CO2 produced and the amount of water vapor produced.

  Bituminous coal produces 2.03 Lbs CO2 per kWh
  Sub-bituminous coal produces  2.10 Lbs CO2 per kWh
  Lignite produces   2.13 Lbs CO2 per kWh

Perhaps Germany has a type of coal that produces even more CO2 per kWh than generic lignite but I find nothing to that effect.   If the CO2 production range above holds for Germany then we're talking a 5% higher rate of CO2 production.  (And don't forget, a much larger cut in CO2 due to an overall capacity drop, more efficient plants and load following.)

Water vapor.  Perhaps Germany's coal does have a higher moisture content and that will result in more water vapor.  But that would be only a localized event.  The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is controlled by atmospheric temperature.  If Germany pumps in more water vapor then the result should be that less intake via evaporation will occur. 

SATire

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 514
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 34
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #48 on: June 03, 2013, 11:08:25 PM »
Bob, it is so inefficient, because the energy for water vaporization is lost and 50% of mass transport is for nothing, too. And it includes a lot of dirt heated for nothing and sulfur needed to be removed from exhaust gas. 1.200 Mt CO2 per TWh, 28.100.000 T CO2/year only in Niederaußem.
I think the list of worst power stations should be enough. Or do you want to follow us for an other reason? An excuse to stay lazy?

Bob Wallace

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3855
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 41
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: China to lead the way?
« Reply #49 on: June 03, 2013, 11:27:40 PM »
Yes, brown/lignite does produce less energy per ton.  So that amplifies the CO2 per kWh difference.

Quote
Young coal is called lignite, and is soft and brown, not much different than dried peat. Lignite has a low energy content, typically about 13 million Btu per ton. The carbon content is low also, around 40 percent. Lignite is typically used only when higher grades of coal are not available or affordable, such as in Poland.   In the US, only North Dakota and Texas use lignite.

Subbituminous coal is common in the US. It has an energy content of about 18 million Btu per ton, and is used mostly in coal-fired power plants.

Bituminous coal is the most widespread form in the US. It dates from the carboniferous era, about 300 million years ago, and is high in energy content, averaging 24 million Btu per ton. Bituminous and subbituminous account for most coal use in America.

Why the attack on me being lazy?