Posts tagged ‘China’

China, U.S. clash over 2010 U.N. climate talks

The United States and China clashed on Friday about how to revive climate talks in 2010, complicating the first U.N. session since the acrimonious Copenhagen summit fell short of agreeing a treaty.

Many delegates at the 175-nation talks in Bonn from April 9-11 urged efforts to restore trust between rich and poor countries but few held out hopes for a breakthrough deal to fight global warming at the next major talks in Cancun, Mexico, in late 2010.

In a split between the world’s top two emitters of greenhouse gases, Washington said it wanted talks in 2010 to build on a non-binding Copenhagen Accord for limiting global warming reached by more than 110 nations at the December summit.

Beijing insisted negotiations should be guided by other draft U.N. texts and said Premier Wen Jiabao had been “vexed” at one point in Copenhagen by the way the meetings were organized in small groups.

“We view Copenhagen as a significant milestone,” U.S. negotiator Jonathan Pershing told delegates. “We believe that the accord should materially influence further negotiations. This was not a casual agreement.”

The accord, backed by about 120 nations, sets a goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F), but does not say how. It also holds out the prospect of $100 billion in aid a year to developing nations.

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April 12, 2010 at 8:41 AM Leave a comment

China to develop new energy source – combustible ice

China’s western Qinghai Province, containing major deposits of the country’s “combustible ice,” will see increased explorations for this emerging clean energy, Provincial Governor Luo Huining said on Saturday.

The plateau province plans to allow large energy companies along with researchers to tap this new source of energy while minimizing environmental threats, Luo said on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.

“Combustible ice,” or natural gas hydrate, is mainly found in deep seas and atop plateaus. Approximately one cubic meter of “combustible ice” equals 164 cubic meters of regular natural gas.

At a time of energy bottlenecks, the new energy resource has drawn interest from many countries. Additional attention has focused on the “ice” having a low proportion of impurities, resulting in it generating almost no pollutants when burned.

More than 100 countries around the world have found deposits of “combustible ice.” The deposits in Qinghai Province, home to one-quarter of China’s total reserve on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, were discovered in September 2009.

“Combustible ice” reserves on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are estimated to equal at least 35 billion tonnes of oil, which could supply energy to China for 90 years.

Luo said tapping this new energy resource should be given high priority in China’s energy strategy.

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March 8, 2010 at 9:48 AM Leave a comment

China outpaces EU and U.S. with new wind turbines

China nearly doubled its wind capacity in 2009 with 13 gigawatts of new generating capacity, compared to 10.5 gigawatts in Europe and 9.9 gigawatts in the United States.

Overall, the global industry employed around half a million people as it boosted capacity by 31 percent to 158 gigawatts.

“The continued rapid growth of wind power, despite the financial crisis and economic downturn, is testament to the inherent attractiveness of the technology,” GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer said.

China has been criticized in many countries for its cautious stance at unsuccessful U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen in December, but it has not slowed its development of green power at home.

“The Chinese government is taking very seriously its responsibility to limit carbon dioxide emissions while providing energy for its growing economy,” said Li Junfeng, secretary general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

The prospect of fossil fuel prices soaring as industry hauls itself out of the current economic crisis has bolstered the investment case for wind energy, said Christian Kjaer, chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

“Oil at around $75 in the middle of an economic crisis is unprecedented,” he told reporters. “If I were an investor, I’d want to limit my exposure to uncertain fuel prices.”

In a normal year, European wind farms will meet around 4.8 percent of total power demand, EWEA said. Spain installed the most new turbines in 2009, with 2.5 gigawatts, followed by Germany, Italy, France and Britain.

Spain’s lead may be eroded in 2010, when it reviews its system of subsidies, but Kjaer said subsidies were not the main force driving growth.

He said with oil in the $70-80 range, new onshore wind power was roughly cost-competitive with new gas-fired power stations, and just marginally more costly than new coal.

But from 2013 onwards, the EU’s carbon market will force all power producers to buy permits for each tonne of carbon they emit — giving green energy a further competitive advantage.

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February 3, 2010 at 10:27 AM Leave a comment

Europe: U.S., China too weak on climate

As delegates worked long hours in search of a climate compromise by Thursday, the European Union on Tuesday added fuel to the diplomatic fire between China and the United States — saying that neither country’s climate targets are aggressive enough.

“We expect them both to raise ambition level,” EU environment spokesman Andreas Carlgren said of the U.S. and China. “Otherwise we won’t be able to reach the 2 degree target.”

The U.S., for one, signaled that would not be happening. It was, however, dispatching Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a State Department source said Tuesday. She is expected to arrive Thursday shortly before President Barack Obama.

Many scientists have warned that the commitments so far fall short of what is needed to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels and head off the worst of global warming.

The Obama administration has set as its target a 17 percent reduction from 2005 emissions levels by 2020. That amounts to a 3 percent to 4 percent cut from 1990 levels — the baseline year used by many other countries.

China has pledged to cut “carbon intensity” — a measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of production — by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.

Since China’s economy is expected to double in size in coming years, that pledge means China’s emissions will still increase, but instead of doubling they’d be checked at a nearly 50 percent increase.

The European Union, on the other hand, has promised to reduce its emissions by at least 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2020 — and go up to 30 percent if others make comparable commitments. Japan and Russia have already promised 25 percent cuts.

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U.N. chief should stop pointing fingers and the

U.S. vs. China

December 15, 2009 at 2:46 PM Leave a comment

China calls for more emissions cuts from U.S.

China’s top climate envoy called on President Barack Obama to increase a U.S. offer to cut greenhouse gases, and said it would discuss a 2050 emissions goal only if rich nations offered more cash and carbon cuts.

Xie Zhenhua said developed nations must commit to cuts of “at least 40 percent” by 2020 from 1990 levels. He said Beijing was aiming for a legally binding treaty from the December 7-18 talks, although hosts Denmark have said that will be impossible. A successful outcome from the summit largely depends on agreement between the United States and China, which together generate 40 percent of global carbon emissions.

But negotiations have been bogged down for months by rifts between developed and developing nations over who should cut emissions, by how much, and who should pay. “I do hope that President Obama can bring a concrete contribution to Copenhagen,” Xie said in a rare interview. Asked if he meant something more than Obama has proposed so far, a 3 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2020, Xie said: “Yes.” “The whole world is watching the United States, and as long as they take on a good leadership role, then I think that we can make a large step forward in combating climate change.”

The head of China’s delegation, who is deputy chairman of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), called for stronger action from rich nations a day after a senior member of his delegation slammed their existing commitments as unambitious and deceptive. Xie initially told Reuters rich countries should make emissions cuts of 25-40 percent versus 1990 levels by 2020, but clarified later that China was sticking to its past insistence of cuts of “at least 40 percent.”

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December 10, 2009 at 10:18 AM Leave a comment

Renewables To Supply One-Third Of China’s Energy By 2050

China’s renewable energy strategy through 2050 envisions renewable energy making up one-third of its energy consumption by then, the China Daily said, as the upcoming Copenhagen conference on climate change highlights the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Coal-dependent China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, last month said it would cut the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each yuan of national income by 40-45 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.

Depending on economic growth projections, total emissions will still rise.

By 2020, renewable energy should account for 15 percent of national primary energy consumption, supplying the equivalent of 600 million metric tons of coal, the China Daily said this weekend.

It cited a renewable energy blueprint laid out by Han Wenke, director-general of the Energy Research Institute under top planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission.

By 2030, renewable energy’s share should rise to 20 percent of the national energy mix, displacing 1 billion metric tons of coal, Han said, and by 2050, it would supply one-third of China’s energy, displacing two billion metric tons of coal, the paper said.

China’s drive for renewable energy to mitigate the health and environmental costs of coal has brought its own challenges.

Wind power generating capacity has surged so fast that policy planners now warn of severe overcapacity in the sector, and dam after dam piled on Chinese rivers distorts water flow, endangers fish and poses a potential earthquake hazard.

China’s installed wind power capacity is now 12.17 million kilowatts, up from 350,000 kw in 2000, and large-scale solar energy facilities are planned, the paper said.

China is focusing on non-grain bioethanol and biodiesel, to avoid diverting grains from food and feed supply.

December 7, 2009 at 10:26 AM Leave a comment

Green Ink: Global Cooling and Chinese Nukes

Crude oil futures hovered near $80 a barrel after strong U.S. GDP growth in the third quarter, Bloomberg reports.

Exxon is shifting its strategy to jumpstart profits after years of spending to boost its share price. And Repsol’s roll continues, with another big find in the Gulf of Mexico, both in the WSJ.

Barbara Boxer

The Senate environment panel will vote on climate legislation Tuesday, Barbara Boxer said, threatening greater tensions with Republicans who are still considering a boycott, in the WSJ.

The political tensions over how or even whether to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions are running high; the WSJ profiles the Chamber of Commerce and its climate stance.

Europeans are trying to figure out how poor European countries should pay poor countries in the rest of the world to fight climate change, in AP. Oh, wait–U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown says they’ve found a formula, in Reuters.

What was that about the science being settled? The global cooling, global warming debate gets back into gear. “That has led to one point of agreement: The models are imperfect,” in the WSJ’s Power Shift.

There’s plenty of hand-wringing in the U.S. over Chinese energy competition. When it comes to wind, don’t forget the Europeans, notes the FT’s Energy Source: “If the US wants to win the clean energy race it is so preoccupied with, some long-term industry support would seem in order.”

German companies indeed are excited by the direction the U.S. is taking on clean energy, in Spiegel. And more on the U.S.-China trade talks, including clean energy, in the WSJ.

Okay, so 2009 has been a rough year for solar power. But solar executives are bullish on earnings for next year, in Reuters.

The DOE doles out more than $300 million for more geothermal projects, at Greentech Media.

Does the U.S. government have a double standard on auto emissions? Drop the free ride for carbon emissions from electric vehicles, says Geoff Styles.

China outlines plans for a fast, fourth-generation nuclear power plant, in the WSJ: “The project underscores how China is trying to take a lead in developing cutting-edge nuclear technologies at a time it is planning a massive buildup in its fleet of civil nuclear reactors.” But the need for uranium “is likely to intensify its buying of foreign assets — a scenario already playing out with its other energy sources: oil, gas and coal.”

Ribbon-cutting day for a pioneer clean-coal plant in West Virginia. “This is the ultimate step to make certain that coal stays in the equation in the U.S., because it absolutely has to,” American Electric Power boss Michael Morris tells Bloomberg.

Why not just focus more on natural gas and be done with it?, wonders Robert Bryce.

Finally, Canadian researchers say they may have hit on a cheaper and easier way to turn salt water into drinking water, in The Economist.

October 30, 2009 at 1:27 PM Leave a comment


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