- NewEnergyNews: CHINA CALLS FOR STOP TO EMISSIONS RENDITIONS

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 30:

  • TTTA Thursday-HOW TO TALK TO CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS
  • TTTA Thursday-WIND AT STAKE IN THE ELECTION
  • TTTA Thursday-THE AESTHETICS OF SOLAR
  • TTTA Thursday-EV MRKT TO MORE THAN DOUBLE BY 2023
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE DIFFERENT WAYS TO MAKE THE TRANSITION TO NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 29: WIND MAY TIP KANSAS ELECTION; YOUNG VOTERS BRING NEW ENERGY; GREEN BUILDINGS BOOMING
  • -------------------

    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE AFFORDABILITY OF THE NEW ENERGY TRANSITION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 28: WIND BOOMS AS ‘MOST AFFORDABLE ENERGY OPTION’; OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR BIG SOLAR; GEOTHERMAL COMING BACK
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THE HEALTH IN EMISSIONS CUTS
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 27: NEW ENERGY OVER 40% OF U.S. NEW BUILD IN 2014; EMPLOYEE BENEFITS NOW INCLUDE SOLAR; WIND BRINGS JOBS TO MICHIGAN
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Talking With The Redwoods
  • Weekend Video: Evangelicals Confront Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: Living The Platinum Rule: Making The Best Invention Of All Time Better
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE- EU UPS THE WORLD’S BAR ON EMISSIONS CUT TARGETS
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-FIRST BIG MOROCCO SOLAR NEAR POWERING UP
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-NORTH SEA WIND-HYDRO INTERLINK TO GROW
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-TURKISH GEOTHERMAL GETS INTELLIGENT
  • --------------------------

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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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  • ---------------
  • Sunday, March 22, 2009

    CHINA CALLS FOR STOP TO EMISSIONS RENDITIONS

    China seeks export carbon relief
    17 March 2009 (BBC News)
    and
    US should consider duties on polluting nations-Chu
    Ayesha Rascoe (w/Jim Marshall), 17 March 2009 (Thomson Reuters)
    and
    China minister rejects U.S. carbon tariff idea
    Paul Eckert (w/Cynthia Osterman) March 18, 2009 (Reuters)

    SUMMARY
    Li Gao, China’s lead climate change negotiator, proposed that importers of goods, not the manufacturers, be held accountable for the emissions generated in the export goods' production.

    China, the world’s biggest emitter, generates 15-to-25% of its greenhouse gases (GhGs) making goods for export to the develped world. If emerging economies did not do this emissions-intensive manufacturing, the nations where the goods are consumed would either suffer the burdens of the GhGs or be forced to change their habits.

    If the coming global emissions-reduction plan holds China solely responsible for GhGs emitted in the manufacturing of goods consumed in other nations, it will likely drive China's power prices up and render a blow to China's economy. China (and other emerging economies such as India and Indonesia) will refuse to participate in such a plan, rendering it impotent against global climate change.

    click to enlarge

    Li announced China's position at a meeting with U.S., EU and Japanese climate change negotiators hosted by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Washington, D.C. They met to prepare for the December Copenhagen world summit at which a new world agreement on global action to fight climate change will be finalized.

    It is hoped the Copenhagen treaty will, unlike the expiring Kyoto Protocol it will replace, include the U.S. and China in active roles in the emissions reduction effort.

    China suggested its exports be exempted from any agreement reached in Copenhagen.

    U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu’s suggestion was to use a tariff to goods imported from China and other emerging economies that would account for the cost of the emissions generated in their manufacture. He said this would keep U.S. goods competitive with those made at a lower cost that did not account for emissions.

    Li called Chu’s proposal protectionist and rejected it, saying the U.S. needs to focus on its own emissions rather than China’s.

    Chu said he hopes nations like China and India, whose emissions are growing much faster than those of the U.S., will be able to participate in the world’s effort to reverse global climate change.

    Rendition is the practice getting somebody else - like China - to do the dirty work. (click to enlarge)

    COMMENTARY
    - China enters the climate change debate with a slight moral advantage over the U.S. because it participated in the Kyoto agreement, though with a developing economy exemption allowing it to ignore emissions reductions. The U.S. is one of the few nations in the world that did not participate in the Kyoto agreement.
    - China’s suggestion reflects its attitude that it should not be limited in its economic development by climate change considerations.
    - Chu’s suggestion reflects his commitment to the market-based GhG-reduction program incorporated in the EU’s cap&trade system and expected to be part of the climate change legislation pushed by the Obama administration.
    - The U.S. cap&trade legislation is expected to put a cost burden on emitters that will generate federal revenues with which (1) New Energy and Energy Efficiency programs and infrastructure can be built and (2) the burden of higher short-term power prices can be offset for taxpayers.
    - Pointing out that the GhGs now in the atmosphere and causing global climate change were generated as economically developed nations amassed wealth and power, China has repeatedly stressed that its reluctance to participate in the global effort against climate change is because it wants the opportunity to likewise develop its own economy and amass its own wealth.

    click to enlarge

    - Representatives of developed economies that import inexpensive Chinese goods believe it would be extremely challenging logistically to enact China’s suggestion of applying the GhG burden of China’s exports in consuming nations.
    - The bookkeeping logistics of applying emissions costs to imported Chinese goods would, it should be pointe out, likely be more convenient than dealing with the worst impacts of global climate change.
    - Secretary Chu’s proposal (made at a hearing of the House Science and Technology Committee and not in direct negotiation with the Chinese representative) makes it clear that the point of an international agreement is to put a price on emissions to discourage consumption of goods whose manufacture is GhG-intensive.
    - The 2 questions: Would tracking Chinese imported goods and applying a price burden on consumers exert economic leverage to reduce Chinese emissions? Does China want to give up control of that economic activity?
    - A Chinese expert has suggested the issue of import tariffs and the issue of emissions be worked out separately. This is exactly counter to Secretary Chu’s argument that they are inextricably intertwined.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Li Gao, lead climate change negotiator/director of the Department of Climate Change, China: "About 15 percent to 25 percent of China's emissions come from the products which we make for the world…These products are consumed by other countries... This share of emissions should be taken by the consumers but not the producers …”
    - Li, on the parameters of the Copenhagen agreement: "It is a very important item to make a fair agreement…We are at the low end of the production line for the global economy…We produce products and these products are consumed by other countries, especially the developed countries. This share of emissions should be taken by the consumers but not the producers…"

    China's New Energy ambitions are admirable... (click to enlarge)

    - Li, on the proposed U.S. tariff on goods imported from nations that have no restrictions on emissions: "If developed countries set a barrier in the name of climate change for trade, I think it is a disaster…"
    - Artur Runge-Metzger, climate change negotiator, EU, on the Chinese proposal: "[It] would mean that we would also… have jurisdiction and legislative powers in order to control and limit [China’s emissions]…I'm not sure whether my Chinese colleague would agree on that particular point…I think the issue here is we take full responsibility and we... regulate all the emissions that come from our territory…"
    - Shinsuke Sugiyama, chief negotiator, Japan: "Japan will not repeat Kyoto…At Kyoto we were not able to involve the biggest emitters in the world by now - and that means the United States of America and China…"
    - Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy: "If country X doesn't do this then I think we should look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost…"

    ...But something has to be done about the coal. (click to enlarge)

    - Xie Zhenhua, Climate Change and Coordinating Committee head, China: "Climate change and charging carbon taxes in imports ... are two issues in two areas…I oppose using climate change as an excuse to practice protectionism on trade…"
    - Xie Zhenhua, Climate Change and Coordinating Committee head, China: "China is not a country that does nothing…On the contrary we have done a lot…The United States is in the same boat. They just talk about it but there are no actions, and we don't even know whether Congress will pass it…"

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