CHINA DRAGON, MELTING WORLD
Facilitating China’s economic growth while restraining its presently furious generation of climate change-driving greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions is the conundrum puzzling the world.
So far, the best the world has come up with is engaging with China to improve efficiency, build New Energy infrastructure and develop carbon-capture-and-sequestration (CCS) technology for its coal plants. Facing the enormity of China’s coal dependence is humbling for western anti-CCS purists.
While China’s leaders demand the right to grow and compete with the west, they know climate change is a threat. They recognize that dramatic sea level rise will impact 3 major Chinese coastal industrial regions. They know drought could cut their agricultural output 5% to 10%.
One of China’s solutions is to monitor and reduce its industries’ energy intensity (energy consumed per unit of gross domestic product) 20% by 2010.
There is good news about China’s forests: They grew 50% in the last quarter century and could grow another 40% by 2050.
China is dramatically improving its energy efficiency, its energy consumed per unit of GDP. (click to enlarge)
These are important measures but the challenge of a China caught between the need for economic growth, increasing competition for diminishing world energy supplies and the urgency of climate change requires the same “great leap forward” need in the west: New Energy infrastructure and more New Energy infrastructure. And more New Energy infrastructure…
China’s carbon dragon
February 22, 2008 (Christian Science Monitor)
China UN Ambassador Yu Qingtai;
China's dilemma: It has too many people to allow per capita energy consumption to rise too high - but affluent societies encourage consumption. (click to enlarge)
China again stated its position with respect to greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions reductions, asserting that the main problem is consumption in developed nations and declaring its main priority to be economic growth.
- If it does not curb its present level of GhG emissions, China will by 2030 generate as much as the entire world now generates.
- China famously is building 2 coal-fired power plants weekly.
Affluent populations buy cars. In China, that will soon be a lot of cars. (click to enlarge)
China’s forests: They were 12% of China in 1980, are now 18% and could be 26% in 2050.
Affluent societies also buy appliances and electronics - and that means a lot of electricity consumption. In China that means coal. (click to enlarge)
The focus on growth at the expense of environmental and climate change concerns by China’s leadership is due to their determination to maintain a stable hold on power by increasing their people’s standard of living.
The good news: China has an ambitious New Energy plan. (click to enlarge)
Comments by China UN Ambassador Yu Qingtai as described by the Monitor: “China made clear at a discussion of climate change at the United Nations that it considers itself a ‘victim’ of global warming rather than one of the ‘culprits’ causing it – i.e., the world's rich nations…While China promises to play a positive role in battling the problem…it should not be expected to be bound by the same caps on emissions as a ‘developed country.’"