Greenpeace China has released a short briefing paper entitled “Polluting Power: Ranking of China’s Power Companies.” Its objective–to provide a balanced analysis of the ten biggest power companies of China across various metrics such as coal consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and share of renewable power. It does a credible job, and provides an interesting picture of how some firms are doing better than others in different regards.
It is a big pity that Reuters has chosen to sensationalize the report, cherry-pick one relatively unremarkable finding, and brandishing it as a headline–”Emissions of 3 big China power firms exceed UK“–as if China represented an ecological apocolypse. Guardian brandishes a very similar headline. No doubt, China’s energy structure is heavily reliant on coal and is the world’s largest producer and consumer of that black stuff, but we’ve known this for a while. But to say that “greenhouse gas emissions from the three biggest Chinese power firms in 2008 were higher than those of the entire United Kingdom” is rather meaningless without context. We need to ask–how big are these firms? We are not saying that China’s biggest three power plants are matching the entire UK in carbon emissions, but that China’s three biggest utility companies, with fleets of hundreds and hundreds of power plants accountable for 30% of the entire power supply for China and its 1.3 billion people (30% x 1.3 billion = 390 million), is matching the carbon emissions output of the entire economy of the UK and its 61 million citizens. Viewed in that context, Reuters headline is decidedly unremarkable, and in fact makes China look good! [The explanation is, of course, a large segment of China's population remains in energy poverty, and that we are comparing carbon missions for 3 chinese companies from the power sector against all the sectors of the UK economy]
This is not to say that we should let the Chinese power sector off the hook. The report underscores some alarming findings and trends: Read the full story
Moon Landing, Solar Eclipse, and now…Solar Takeoff! China launches “Golden Sun” subsidies for 500 MW of PV projects by 2012
This post is dedicated to my “golden son/sun”, Keane, who just turned one yesterday.
It is with interesting irony that China has launched its much anticipated Golden Sun program of incentives for the deployment of 500 MW of large-scale solar PV projects throughout the country the day after the 40th annivesary of the America’s landing on the moon, AND a day before an actual solar eclipse.
The “Apollo Project” of our generation as summed up nicely by my colleague, not out there in space, but right here on Earth:
Our top planetary mission for the foreseeable future must be to stop destroying the one climate hospitable to the one civilization that we know of in the entire galaxy.
China is doing its part, pulling ahead in the race for a sustainable Earth, as it launches its domestic solar industry. It is thus quite ironic that as parts of China experiences a solar eclipse today, what is in fact transpiring in the solar industry is the opposite–a new dawn.
Reuters has actually done a decent job of hitting the main points of the Golden Sun policy (《金太阳示范工程财政补助资金管理暂行办法》; original Chinese document here), so we’ve stolen their summary and reproduced them in the following bullet points: Read the full story
Apologies for the prolonged absence! It’s gotten a little busy at work, but you will be pleased to know that much of that has been related to working on China energy issues. We owe you a backlog of updates on China’s green scene and MUCH has happened…but still no new energy stimulus package yet. In the next few days, some backlogged editions of Green Hops will be unleashed. But to tide you over the next days here are some relevant items that relate to what I have been up to:
1. Yesterday (July 16), I testified at the U.S. Senate Committee for Environment and Public Works in a hearing entitled “Ensuring and Enhancing U.S. Competiveness in Moving Towards a Clean Energy Economy.” I was tasked to share with the committee what China is doing to embrace the clean energy economic opportunity. I did so by relating what China is doing in (i) energy efficiency; (ii) renewable energy, especially wind and solar; (iii) and manufacturing of low-carbon technologies, using Baoding city of Hebei province as an example. The underlying message is that China is moving aggressively in these areas, in large part as a strategy to enhance economic competitiveness, and that the U.S. had better embrace comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation to stimulate investements in low-carbon sectors or risk being left behind.
You may read my oral testimony here, formal written submission to the committee, and a three-hour video of the full proceedings. Coincidentally, an article in the Washington Post that very morning spoke to how Asian countries are leading the global clean tech race.
2. I was interviewed by Public Radio International, also to talk about what China is doing in the energy front, and how to reconcile the green and brown faces of today’s China. Read the article or listen to the podcast here.