You didn’t think The Green Leap Forward would go on to celebrate its first birthday (next week, folks! December 2nd!) without commenting on the recently announced RMB 4 trillion (US$586 billion) pump-priming package did you?
Of course not.
The basics of the package is that a total of RMB 4 trillion will be spent by the central government, local governments and state-owned enterprises in ten major areas, mostly infrastructure related. It is not clear to what extent part of the package is simply a repackaging of already existing budgets or expenditure plans in order to provide a psychological lift to the sagging stock markets. The more important question to readers of this blog, however, is to what extent the package addresses China’s environmental and energy (E&E) needs? Read the full story
China is not going to solve its energy problem if it does not solve is water problem (see previous post on “China’s Water Torture“). It is as simple as that.
The fact is, the exploitation of just about every energy resource (including renewables, but especially fossil fuel) requires water. Conversely, the purification of water for drinking requires energy, and some purification methods, such as desalination, require a lot of it.
Click to enlarge. Source: “Energy Demands on Water Resources” a December 2006 report by the Sandia National Labs to the U.S. Congress on the interdependency of water and energy that remains the definitive report on the topic.
In energy resource and water scarce China, the energy-water nexus, or watergy, is a twin threat. Power production in China has to compete with agriculture, industries, and environmental flows for an already scarce resource. China relies heavily on coal for electricity, is pushing hydro power and nuclear as major alternative sources of energy. Coal-to-liquids (CTL or coal liquefaction) has also been cited as a way to reduce China’s dependence on oil imports. According to the Pacific Institute, there have been Read the full story
Yesterday, The Green Leap Forward took to the road to Tianjin again, this time as part of a US-delegation organized by the US-China Green Energy Council (UCGEC) exploring the green tech potential of Tianjin. One of the stops was a visit the site of the proposed Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city. Not much more to report from our previous post, but we got some cool visuals. Upon arrival, we were quickly ushered into an enclosed building, only to be shown poster exhibits that is basically a rehash of the master plan already available on their website. The saving grace was a large model of the city that we took some pictures of: Read the full story
China has become an international capital and laboratory for eco-city projects. The unprecedented scale of rural-to-urban migration is creating pressing demands on existing urban infrastructure, but also the opportunity for city planners to create new cities based on more sustainable, and even ecological patterns of development.
Rising from above the fray of the multitude of eco-city proposals is the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city project (sketch drawing pictured), which is the first of any of the proposal, as far as The Green Leap Forward knows, to have actually broken ground. This blog first mentioned this project back in February. On September 28, ground was broken and municipal regulations (hereinafter, the “Regulations”) governing the development of the project came into effect. The remarkable speed at which this project moved from concept (in April 2007) to groundbreaking, while other projects which have been planned and talked about for years remain mired in bureaucratic standstill, can be best be explained in the context of Singapore’s long term economic relationship with China. This is not the first time both countries are collaborating on a township-scale development project in China; Suzhou Industrial Park was the first in 1990s and just last month, China and Singapore also entered into a bilateral free trade agreement. Read the full story
The following is the complete transcript, modified and supplemented for completeness and readability, of the closing speech that the author of this blog (pictured below) delivered on November 11 at the JUCCCE Clean Energy Forum in Beijing.
We are at war. A world war. But unlike World War I or II, this is not a war about military tanks, but it’s a war about gas tanks. This is not a war about military strength, it’s a war about political strength, and innovation. This is not a war about conquering territories, its about conquering our addiction to fossil fuels. And unlike the first two wars, we are all fighting from the same side. We are engaged in a global energy and climate war. We have essentially, through our reckless consumption of the earth’s natural resources, provoked an unanticipated response in the world’s climatic system. We have essentially pitted Mother Nature against Mother Nature, and we are all caught in the middle.
So what now?
We need a serious restructuring of the way we organize our energy system, implement new rules and policies, and adopt new ways of using energy. We need to, as Rob Watson says, change transform “ego-nomics” into “eco-nomics,” and we do this by appropriate adapting human laws to the immutable laws of nature.
So how do we get there? How do we achieve the innovation to meet the energy-climate challenge? We need an smart and well informed mix of regulatory and market mechanisms. There is no single silver bullet, but I believe that over the past two days of discourse, we have collectively started forming a framework for the array of solutions, a full complement of many green bullets to get the green revolution under way. I see three themes emerging from our discussions: Read the full story
Despite the dire international financial straits and the tightening of credit markets, the consensus at a CEO panel at the Global/China Wind Power conference two weeks ago (Oct 29) is that China’s wind industry will continue its torrid growth in the long term. China’s installed wind capacity has grown rapidly in recent years, doubling roughly from 3 GW at the end of 2006 to just under 6 GW at the end of 2007. There are estimates that as much as 7 GW will be added by the end of this year alone. The government’s 10 GW by 2010 target will easily be shattered, as will, by all indications, its 30 GW by 2020 target. But here at The Green Leap Forward, we’d like to dig a little deeper beneath the rosy predictions of the wind industry CEOs.
Seated from L-R: Arthoures Zervous of Global Wind Energy Council; Zhang Dingjin of China Composites Group; Wu Gang of Goldwind; Andreas Nauen of Siemens Wing; Hang Junliang of Sinovel; Thomas Rochterich of Nordex China; and Lin Junfeng of CREIA.
Both Andreas Nauen, CEO of Siemens Wind, and Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the China Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA) agreed that wind is a long term priority for the government and a temporary financial crisis should not pose much problems for the wind industry over such a time horizon. Read the full story
This is the second post of two covering an interview with Dr. David Tyfield (pictured) on the topic of international collaboration in low carbon innovation. The Green Leap Forward had the opportunity to interview Dr. Tyfield before a live audience of about forty attendees at an event hosted by the Beijing Energy Network on October 29 in Beijing. The first post focused on questions posed by The Green Leap Forward, and this second post summarized Dr. Tyfield’s responses to questions posted by the viewing audience.
GLF would like to especially highlight his response below on intellectual property protection in China.
Q: Have you done any thinking on the relationship between low carbon innovation and the aspirations of the middle class, because what I see and a lot of us see is that the middle class in the West aspires to cars and we’re seeing the same thing happen in China.
DT: We haven’t done any size of work or research on it. My thoughts in particular would be on the issue of mobility rather than energy as far as the most obvious example of aspiration and the aspiration to cars and holidays. What I would say is that this goes back to what i was saying about the biggest obstacle being, in a sense, political will. Political will doesn’t just come from government; its a much more dispersed phenomenon. I don’t think I’m a pessimist, perhaps I call myself a realist. The people don’t look for alternatives until they are forces to. Arguably, another positive to come out from the recession is that people from the West start to actually question the standard of living, the extremely indulgent, the highly carbon consumptive standard of living they have enjoyed for twenty, thirty years, in particular. And therefore they will start to look for alternative. Of course that is going to take a long time and the first inclination when someone loses something is to try to get it back. So that the initial political pressure will be to do everything they can to preserve their high carbon standard of living. But if that proves impossible, and I think it will prove economically impossible, then they will start to look for alternatives, and that is when aspirations will start to change.
In terms of the middle class situation in the west, they are in many ways the greatest culprits for high carbon standards of living. But its when an electric car actually comes on to the market and becomes someting that peopel rush out to buy, just like when the new Apple iPhone came out. When that kind of thing happens, this will be the forerunners for developing these markets more widely in the West. I dont; think we will see struggling single mothers on housing estates leading the way on green consumption. Read the full story