We’ve gone more than a month without a “Green Hops” update…what a crime! We atone for that oversight here…
Climate Change and International Cooperation
A “high level” summit in Beijing on international technology transfer and climate change held on November 7 and 8 provided a preview of the international climate change negotiations that have kicked off in Poznan, Poland today. A blogger’s review of the Beijing summit can be found at China Green Space (the young author of which is a personal friend and has been getting some recognition lately). Basically, it is more of the same–China wants free capital and free technology from developed countries. This is the same position as what can be found in the recently released China Climate Change White Paper, which we previously reviewed. A thorough background paper on the topic is also available here.
While the political rhetoric continues at the international table, there has been more progress in bilateral avenues. Rather than emulate Japan, China will extend its cooperation with Japan in energy conservation after entering into 19 separate commercial agreements between government institutions and companies from both countries, in sectors ranging from sewage treatment to garbage recycling and emissions reduction.
Speaking of Japan, Japan’s Toray Industries has entered into a joint venture with Beijing’s China National BlueStar (Group) Co. to open a ¥7.5 billion water filtration membranes factory. The factory will start producing membranes in April 2010 and that can treat 3.5 million cu. meters of water a day, enough to meet the needs of 14 million people.
The Ministry of Science & Technology has announced a major policy push to deploy 60,000 “new energy vehicles”-including fuel-cell vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles, and battery-electric vehicles-on a pilot basis in 11 cities by 2012. The intended beneficiaries of this policy will be public transportation, public serves & facilities, including the postal services. Chinese enterprises are hearing the government’s clarion calls for an electron economy loud and clear; SAIC Group will spend RMB 2 billion to develop hybrid and electric cars. The SAIC announcement come just a few weeks after ChangAn Auto Group said it is partnering with Canadian battery maker Electrovaya to roll out 30 electric cars to be sold in Canada by the end of the year. And of course, we’ve previously reported on BYD Auto, which aims to be “the world’s largest car company by 2025.“ Speaking of BYD, it seems like BYD is branching out into making solar panels by setting up a production line in Shanxi province.
The National Development and Reform Commission has hinted at revised transportation fuel taxes are with tax rates as high as the 30 to 50% region. It is not surprising that Chinese automakers are lobbying against this.
In Beijing, policymakers find their hands tied and are not willing to restrict auto sales or enact any sort of quotas in recognition that the auto industry remains a pillar industry for the national economy.
As part of the financial industry’s government led green credit program, China’s Industrial Bank will adopt the Equator Principles, a voluntary set of guidelines, which require signatory banks to consider environmental and social issues when financing development projects. Industrial Bank will become the first Chinese financial institution to join the Equator Principles.
London-based boutique investment bank Climate Change Capital will set aside RMB 5 billion (US732 million) for clean tech and environmental investments in China, reports Cleantech Group. It is unclear how that funding, which will come in over the next three years, will be allocated between their separate carbon and private equity teams in Beijing. The report also indicated that CCC plans to establish a RMB-denominated fund during that period.
Around the Blogosphere
The green brothers at China’s Green Beat are back with a quality video clip on hydropower along the Nu River.
Cleaner Greener China is definitely on to something as it points out the lack of consideration of citizens and public health in clean tech investments. While it is more understandable that the private sector would be less appreciative of citizenry and health as clean tech drivers because they are less likely to be able to capture the economic gains of such social benefits of cleaner energy use, governments have no excuse. The job of policy makers are not only to directly protect the health of its citizens, but to also enact regulations that spur private actors, including corporations and financial firms to behave in ways that promote such social goals. The public health factor is one reason why low oil prices do not spell the death of clean tech, but policy makers need to recognize this.
Finally, no Green Hops post would be complete without references to CELB, which has in the past month reported on internal reforms at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and some new and not so new statistics on China’s environmental progress.