Latest from ChinaFAQs
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.
The BASIC Countries (Brazil, China, India and South Africa) have set their next climate coordination meeting for January 24 in New Delhi, and that looks like just part of an environmental relations thaw between India and China, countries that still have territorial disputes dating from their 1962 border war. What better way to win friends than to increase tiger protection, especially right before China ushers in the Chinese zodiac Year of the Tiger, which would likely even increase the demand for the popular Traditional Chinese Medicinal use of tiger bone. The animals are hunted illegally in India and smuggled to China, and for many years Indian conservationists have asked China for help in combating the trade.
Since the Copenhagen Conference the Chinese government has engaged in international debate on the meeting’s meaning, but the external tumult does not appear to have affected its efforts to move forward on policies to reduce carbon intensity.
Your ChinaFAQs team has been in the swirling currents of the Copenhagen climate change negotiations for over a week, attending press conferences and listening in the corridors, but now the negotiators are running out of time. Before dawn today, the BBC World News led with the story that the sticking point in the negotiations is whether China will allow intrusive review of its progress on slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, the media can’t resist a food fight, and all week the press has been filled with reports of verbal missiles supposedly being hurled by American and Chinese negotiators. We’ve also seen exaggerated portrayals of the supposedly-huge chasm separating the U.S. and China on questions like whether the U.S. will provide funds to China for clean technology and the extent of monitoring and review of China’s action.