Latest from ChinaFAQs
GE Chair Jeff Immelt Criticizes Outdated US Energy Policy, Urges Better US Regulatory Structure and Support for Innovators to Expand Clean EnergyPosted by Deborah Seligsohn on Sep 28, 2010
The U.S. energy regulatory system is “a relic of the 1860s”, according to Jeff Immelt, Chairman of GE, one of the World’s largest manufacturers of new clean energy technology. In a conference in Washington, DC last week, he urged the U.S. government to take positive action in the United States to support clean technology. Yes, said Immelt, China is a competitor, but not just China. Countries such as Canada and Australia also “have much simpler regulatory structures for energy and are moving more quickly.”
- In 2004, China adopted its first nation-wide fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles. They are considered to be the world’s third toughest, behind Japan’s and Europe’s.
- The standards – which called for average auto efficiency to improve by 15% by 2010 over 2003 levels – have produced significant gains, even though Chinese cars have become heavier, more powerful, and are more often equipped with automatic transmissions and pollution-control devices that can reduce efficiency.
- China has since expanded the standards to cover light-duty trucks, and is eyeing further measures to improve the fuel economy of its motor vehicles.
The biggest energy-related news out of China this week has involved transport – the mega-traffic jam in Inner Mongolia, leading to Beijing. After more than ten days, extra police did manage to redirect traffic and clear the jam. While this story has played mainly as a global human interest story with many suggesting visions of futuristic nightmares, the actual causes, well outlined in Shai Oster’s Wall Street Journal blog are far more complex than just the number of vehicles on the road.
ChinaFAQs Expert Ed Steinfeld on China’s Technological Development and the West in the Wall Street JournalPosted by Luke Schoen on Aug 23, 2010
ChinaFAQs Expert and Director of the MIT China Program Ed Steinfeld recently discussed his new book “Playing Our Game: Why China’s economic rise doesn’t threaten the West” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
The big news this week is that China is removing outdated equipment from another 2000 plants, and they are moving quite rapidly – the equipment is to be phased out by the end of September. These closures are part of the tougher measures Premier Wen Jiabao announced in April. While some have expressed skepticism about this move, because equipment rather than whole factories are being phased out, in fact, this looks to be a positive move. While China has made significant efficiency advances by closing whole factories, there is a limit to how many such highly inefficient factories actually exist. As the very oldest, least efficient have been phased out, more sophisticated policies that pinpoint problematic equipment are needed.
China has passed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest energy consumer, according to new data from the International Energy Agency. And while many expected China to overtake the U.S., most thought it wouldn’t be for another 5 years.
- Macroeconomic forces – often unpredictable or poorly-understood – are crucial drivers of China’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Booming investment in heavy industry, mainly for domestic infrastructure development, as well as rapid growth in China’s export manufacturing sector, are the two most important factors driving China’s energy consumption.
- As China’s middle class demands more goods like air conditioners and cars, domestic private consumption could be in the future (but is not yet) a major driver of energy use and emissions.
- These economic trends are rooted in fundamental political and social factors. Reform will require concentrated attention to these considerations; fortunately, Chinese leaders have indicated that creating a more energy efficient economic structure is a high-level priority.