Tag Archive | "global warming"

China Takes a New Interest in Energy Efficiency

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The following New York Times article written by Keith Bradsher can be found here.

SHANGHAI — The Chinese government is considering plans to subsidize the use of energy-efficient materials and renewable energy technologies in new buildings and is encouraging provincial and municipal governments to impose stricter efficiency standards than the national minimums, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

China’s heightened interest in saving energy — a response to electricity shortages and blackouts this year as well as longer-term security worries about dependence on energy imports — comes as the country’s construction industry continues to barrel ahead at a breathtaking pace. Last year, China consumed eight times as much cement as the world’s second-largest consumer, India, and it now leads the world in consumption of steel and other industrial materials by wide margins.

With 13 million to 21 million rural people in China migrating to cities each year — a number comparable to the 18.9 million people in metropolitan New York — the real estate industry has been putting up office towers and apartment buildings at a brisk pace but often with little regard for energy efficiency.

Chinese estimates show that the country’s commercial office buildings use 10 to 20 percent less electricity per square meter than comparable Western buildings. But the savings tend to come not from better designs but from thermostats set as high as 26 degrees Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) in summer and as low as 18 degrees (64 Fahrenheit) in winter.

Senior executives in the glass manufacturing and other material industries said that Chinese construction companies had long chosen low-cost, less insulated materials because buildings in China tended to change hands so frequently that owners seldom looked at long-term paybacks from electricity savings.

The construction boom is a central reason China passed the United States last year as the world’s largest consumer of electricity. China has also passed the United States as the world’s largest emitter of global warming gases, although it lags far behind in emissions and electricity consumption per person, because it has more than four times as many people as the United States.

Hao Bin, the building energy-efficiency director at the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said Wednesday that the ministry had already adopted an energy labeling system for new commercial and government buildings but wanted to create fiscal incentives for developers to use more efficient materials and adopt renewable energy. The most effective course seems to lie in subsidies for materials, as government studies have suggested that tax credits would be less effective, he said.

Some Chinese cities and provinces, from Beijing in the northeast to Yunnan in the southwest, already have limited subsidies for construction supplies, including insulation and rooftop solar water heaters. The heaters have water-filled steel tubes that zigzag in front of a reflective surface, which concentrates the sun’s rays on the tubes.

The Chinese central government has begun taking preliminary steps to subsidize the installation of rooftop photovoltaic solar panels, but the Finance Ministry has moved slowly because of concerns about the potential cost. China already manufactures more than half the world’s solar panels, but exports almost all of them.

Mr. Hao declined to provide a date for the introduction of a national incentive policy for energy-efficient construction materials and did not specify what materials would qualify. But he said that it was a focus of policy planners.

The question that policy makers are asking themselves, he said, is, “How can we have a carrot policy which is supplemented by our labeling system?”

Provincial governments have already begun subsidizing the construction of factories that produce energy-efficient products like triple-layer insulated glass.

Hongda Vacuum, a manufacturer of glass-coating equipment for solar panels and insulated windows, bought valuable land next to a large road six years ago on the outskirts of Changsha in Hunan Province for a third of the cost at the time for industrial land, said Huang Le, a marketing executive for the company. Surging land prices since then meant that the property soon became worth 10 times as much on the market as the price the company had paid for it, with a discount, in 2005, he said in an interview last year.

“We got the discount because we are a good project, something the government really wants to promote,” Mr. Huang said, adding that the company could borrow against the value of the land to finance expansion.

The central government has already renovated nearly 5,000 of its own buildings in northern China to install more insulation. It has subsidized similar renovations for buildings owned by provincial, municipal and village governments.

A complication for China is that the latest five-year plan, starting this year, calls for a sharp increase in the construction of low-income housing — traditionally an industry with low profit margins and a bias toward inexpensive materials — together with further curbs on the construction of high-end housing.

But Zhou Jiang, a policy researcher for the housing ministry, said Wednesday that energy-efficient materials added only 5 to 10 percent to the cost of a building.

“It is possible we build our low-income housing as green buildings,” Mr. Zhou said.

He and Mr. Hao were speaking at the opening of the Global Green Building China Focus 2011 conference in Shanghai.

One point that they did not address was how long it might take for energy-saving materials to pay for themselves in electricity savings. The Chinese government has been holding down electricity prices as an anti-inflation measure even as spot prices for coal, the country’s dominant fuel for power generation, have doubled in the last five years.

Chinese electricity companies have responded by limiting the operating hours of coal-fired plants in the last two years and slowing construction of new power plants, causing blackouts that have focused more public attention on the energy efficiency of buildings.

Residential electricity rates in China are half to two-thirds of rates in the United States. Industrial electricity rates in China are officially higher than those in the United States, but large or politically connected users frequently receive discounts.

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Fun energy facts

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Where is oil consumption increasing and decreasing?  There are the top ten gainers and top ten losers by barrels per day.


Casey Research says China is enjoying staggering growth rates for car ownership.

Assuming that the 7.3 million new car owners in 2008 each drive 5,000
miles a year, and they achieve 40 miles per gallon, the result would be
an additional 45.6 million barrels of crude demand, equivalent to
125,000 bbl/day. In other words, new Chinese drivers will devour 25-30%
of the recently promised Saudi production increase in a single year. 

And don’t forget the Chinese brown cloud.


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Paul Krugman on China

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Krugman is sane.  A rare attribute for a pundit.

He says today that foreign policy must focus on the Far East rather than the Middle East. 

Even now, China accounts for about only 9 percent of the world’s
demand for oil. But because China’s oil demand has been rising along
with its economy, in recent years China has been responsible for about
a third of the growth in world oil consumption.

As a result, oil at $100 a barrel is, in large part, a made-in-China phenomenon. …

Why is climate change a China issue? Well, China is already, by
some estimates, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

China has 50 times the population of Iraq.

This is a good comment.  Not China bashing, but recognizing the dynamics.

The truth is that China is too big to be bullied, and the Chinese
are too cynical to be charmed. But while they are our competitors in
important respects, they’re not our enemies, and they can be dealt with.

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China Grabs West’s Smoke-Spewing Factories

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The article was a few days ago.  I want the link documented in this blog for ease of reference.

The point:  Our China trade deficit is probably the biggest
global warming problem the world faces.  This is not the
1850’s.  Smokestack scrubbers now exist.  But our outsourcing
increases pollution, China’s currency manipulation provides them 11.5%
growth… too fast.  It is very bad.

But for China, its America’s fault.   

China Urges US On Climate Control
December 20, 2007
Associated Press      

BEIJING — The United States should take a more positive role in
tackling climate change while developing nations improve their own
domestic energy efficiency, China’s chief climate change negotiator
said Thursday.

The best defense is a good offense… however offensive.  I
must say it is our fault in a way.  We need to change trade
policy.  Reasonable growth, a level playing field, and continuing
environmental advances.  Then we have a better shot at keeping
Manhattan out of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Trade and the environment

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"More trade" is the number one policy of our federal government,
even trumping national security as we can see with the
multi-dimensional China issue.  "More Trade Agreements" is the
questionable method of pursuing the Prime Directive – despite the lack
of quantifiable link between those bulky trade documents and actual
increased trade (see the WTO study on this).

safety has been an irritating pebble in the shoe of the
globalists.  The environment could be the next pebble, conflicting
with the Prime Directive.  (Of course there are many potential
pebbles, amounting to a load of gravel).

We know that every
smokestack the U.S. outsources to Asia increases CO2 pollution by up to
eight times.  Scrubbers and efficient energy methods are not the
enforced norm in Asia.

But the transportation pollution itself is
astounding.  Supply chains that are several thousand miles long
have fossil fuel burning engines humming in aircrafts, ships and ports
that would not otherwise be humming as much. 

Thomas Friedman, a NY Times regular op-ed columnist who has not resolved his green-ness with his I-like-all-trade-agreements-but-don’t-read-them position, points out that a single transworld route for a major European delivery company has major environmental consequences.

“We operate 35,000 trucks and 48 aircraft in Europe. We just
bought two Boeing 747s, which, when fully operational, will do nine
round trips every week between our home base in Liège [Belgium] and
Shanghai. They leave Liège only partly full and every day fly back to
Europe as full as you can stuff them with iPods and computers. By our
calculations, just these two 747s will use as much fuel each week as
our 48 other aircraft combined and emit as much CO2. [says Peter
Bakker, the chief executive of TNT, the biggest express delivery
company in Europe].”

Friedman says this is because the world is becoming "Americans" in
the bad sense of resource consumption, but does not connect the issue
to his trade lust.


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Stunning NYT article on China pollution

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China pollutes.  A lot.  Chinese citizens are
victims of the pollution.  So are we. The environmental
degradation of trade is a very big, untold story.  But it is
increasingly being told.

Every smokestack factory we outsource
to China increases CO-2 emissions because U.S. companies produce
products with 8 times less pollution per unit of production. 
Thus, outsourcing to China is like exporting nuclear waste, only worse,
because China’s waste gets distributed across the Pacific into
California.  And the waste expands, getting eight times bigger than it was here.

The New York Times today has a major multimedia layout on China pollution
The only picture they are missing is the satellite images of China’s
brown cloud blowing across the Pacific.  See it  at the NASA website.

are some of the images from the NY Times slide show.  They are
truly stunning.  This is the pollution we cause when buying at

1.   Chinese steel is as suspect as the food.  But it has not hit the press yet.  6,000 bridges
in China are deemed unsafe.  The Oakland Bay bridge is reputedly
being built with Chinese steel.  This is how they make it. 
They drag the molten steel out the furnace door onto the ground. 

Hit "read more" for more photos from China’s industrial complex. 

Here is how they mine and store the coal to make the electricity for their booming economy.





And here is the water runoff from coal storage.  The water is black with coal dust.


Here is the safety conditions of coal miners.

And here is a cement factory.


International trade, without enforced rules, is great.  Right Henry Paulson?  What spin do you have on this?


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