Latest from ChinaFAQs
A December 2009 report on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Coal in the United States and China, published by the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thorton China Center, authored by ChinaFAQs expert Kelly Sims Gallagher, Associate Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.
One of the most striking commonalities between China and the United States is that both countries are blessed with large coal reserves,and naturally, both rely heavily on coal for their primary energy supply. U.S. coal reserves are estimated at 243 billion tons (29% of world total), and Chinese at 115 billion tons (14% of world total). China’s reserves-to-production ratio, however,is much shorter than that of the United States with only 41 years of currently-estimated economically recoverable coal compared with 224 years in the United States at current production rates (BP Statistical Review 2009). As the most abundant fossil energy resource in both countries, it is virtually certain that both will continue to rely heavily on coal due to its relatively low cost and the energy security benefits related to not having to import substantial foreign supplies of primary energy. The utilization of coal will be increasingly limited by the climate change problem, however, unless advanced coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies can be developed, demonstrated, and rendered cost-effective within the next 5-15 years.
The second meeting of Ministers of the four BASIC Group countries took place in New Delhi on January 24th 2010. Earlier, the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh met with the four Ministers on the evening of January 23rd. The Ministers who participated in the meeting were H.E. Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission from China, H.E. Carlos Minc, Minister for Environment from Brazil, H.E. Buyelwa Sonjica, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs from South Africa and H.E. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Environment and Forests from India. The current G-77 Chair – Yemen – had also been invited but could not attend because of other commitments.
The four BASIC countries, India, China, South Africa and Brazil, met in New Delhi on Sunday, January 24th and announced that they intend to submit their “voluntary mitigation actions” to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat by January 31st, the deadline set in the Copenhagen Accord.
Investing Big in Concentrating Solar
If you’d asked us a few weeks ago, we might have said that China was charging ahead in wind and in solar photovoltaics, but was not a big player in the emerging technology of concentrating solar power. That has now changed dramatically. Last week U.S. company eSolar announced a $5 billion, 2 GW deal with Chinese company China Shandong Penglai Electric Power Equipment Manufacturing Co. If eSolar and partners succeed this will be the largest set of concentrating solar plants anywhere in the world.
In a new article in the Guardian, World Resources Institute President Jonathan Lash discusses the Copenhagen Accord and what it means for the future of international cooperation on climate change.
From the Guardian: Spin is the political language of Washington, but I have never encountered such conflicting currents of hype as those that have swirled around the globe since the gavel fell on the Copenhagen climate summit. Depending on whether you live in Beijing, Berlin or Boston the assessment ranges from catastrophe to success to somewhere in between. But what lies ahead?
China’s Biggest Earth Day Ever
On a lighter note, news is out that China’s enormous Bird Cage Olympic Stadium will host a free concert for peace and green right before Earth Day on April 17 this year. Organizers have not explained how they are financing a free concert or how the tickets will be distributed. As others have noted, big concert events like this have run aground in the past in China. Earth Day has been increasingly popular in China in recent years, with numerous conferences as well as public awareness events. Global Village Beijing launched its anti-plastic bag campaign on Earth Day a few years ago, and ultimately that effort resulted in Beijing’s ban on free shopping bags.
China seems finally to be emerging from a very cold spell, but not before struggling to cope with the increased energy demands associated with extreme cold. The Chinese press reported rationing of both gas and power in a number of Chinese cities and suggested the problems stemmed from coal shortages after the closure of 1000 coal mines in the past year for safety and environmental reasons.