Jason Barton

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The US and China Can Collaborate on Energy Innovation without Losing Competitive Edge, or National Sovereignty

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This article reminds me of conversations I’ve had with a friend who was an electrical engineer in Silicone Valley. He talked about meeting with colleagues, usually people who worked with other companies, even competing companies, over dinner or drinks. The conversation would often turn to a certain circuit or other piece of technology one had been working on, and they would draw models on cocktail napkins, brainstorming ways to meet their objectives.

Look at my buddy Matt Raible’s website (www.raibledesigns.net) and you will see how computer programers work together to solve their problems as they work to accomplish goals like bringing TV to our computers and the internet to our TVs.

These people are all competitors. They are also innovators, capitalists (regardless of their particular political stripe), and collaborators, and they work together to solve problems while also protecting their respective niches, and making a lot of money in the process.

It’s encouraging to see the US and China work together on clean energy innovation. Done wisely, this will work for the betterment of each country, and the rest of the world, without either one sending jobs overseas or compromising our respective national sovereignty.

Obama, Hu Jintao have clean energy opportunity

S. Julio Friedmann,Orville Schell

San Francisco Chronicle January 16, 2011 04:00 AM

Pool / Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (left) and China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi meet at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.

Among the many difficult issues Presidents Obama and Hu Jintao will confront when they meet this week stands one possible bright spot: collaboration on clean energy technology. It represents a critical, urgent need, an enormous market opportunity for both nations and an area of potential common interest – if we can just avoid being our own worst enemies.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 16th, 2011 at 8:28 pm

China Meets Energy Efficiency Goals, Improves Economic Edge

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Moves like this could only be achieved by a command economy, or by handing over the electricity grid to a company like Enron, so I’m not arguing for rolling blackouts to increase efficiency.

The point is that China has pushed its economy towards wiser use of energy, reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20% in just five years. That means those firms, and the economy as a whole, is spending less money and expending fewer resources while continuing to grow.

Smart.

China improves energy efficiency 20 pct in 5 years

(AP) – Jan 6, 2011

BEIJING (AP) — China met a five-year target to improve energy efficiency by cutting power to industry and imposing rolling blackouts, even though a massive economic stimulus increased energy use.

Energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product was reduced by 20 percent from 2005 levels by the end of 2010, said Zhang Ping, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission. It is China’s top economic planning body.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 8th, 2011 at 8:08 am

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Parenting in China vs. The US

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This has nothing to do with other articles on this site, but I found it so interesting that I wanted it saved.

There’s also an interesting response here.

  • JANUARY 8, 2011

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?

By AMY CHUA

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

Erin Patrice O’Brien for The Wall Street JournalAmy Chua with her daughters, Louisa and Sophia, at their home in New Haven, Conn.

• attend a sleepover

• have a playdate

• be in a school play

• complain about not being in a school play

• watch TV or play computer games

• choose their own extracurricular activities

• get any grade less than an A

• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama

• play any instrument other than the piano or violin

• not play the piano or violin.

I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

December 18th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Should China Award Subsidies to US Clean Energy Firms?

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One way for us to boost domestic clean energy production is to enact protectionism that excludes foreign firms from receiving U.S. government grants, as was discussed in a post earlier this year. Another way is to urge others, namely China, to open their economies further so that U.S. firms can earn Chinese government grants.

US wants China to reciprocate green energy subsidies

(AFP) – Nov 15, 2010

SHANGHAI — US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday China should allow foreign companies to qualify for its subsidies aimed at encouraging renewable energy projects.

Chu said foreign firms, including Chinese companies, qualify for US clean energy subsidies but barriers, such as Beijing’s local content requirements, exclude US companies from receiving government help in China.

“The United State recognises the right of China to give subsidies just as we use subsidies… but in the United States, we make a point of including all industries,” Chu told reporters on a visit to Shanghai.

“We would ask China to consider the same reciprocity, namely if a foreign company wants to come to China to set up manufacturing and production that it would be open to the same kind of help,” he said.

Read the entire article here.

China, Oil Will Dominate Energy Matrix for Decades

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These are predictable, and not necessarily disappointing. Petroleum is an abundant (for now) and relatively inexpensive energy resource. China is also leading the charge in research and development of clean, renewable energy technologies.

Our best bets here in the U.S. are to increase our efforts in energy innovation so that we can maintain our current position as global leaders in such positive and economically advantageous efforts. Foremost among these objectives should be increasing our efficiency, especially in transportation. This will give us a competitive edge as we are less dependent on imported petroleum, improving our balance of trade as well as environmental health, and will ensure that petroleum is available for generations to come.

A final point on petroleum, as we saw this past summer, is that more and more of petroleum reserves are in places that are difficult to access safely. As we reduce our dependence, we allow time for further innovation, meaning the technologies to access those reserves are less expensive and more reliable.

Energy in 2035: China and oil dominate

By Aaron Smith, staff writerNovember 9, 2010: 8:05 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — China will continue lead the charge as the No. 1 energy consumer over the next quarter-century, and oil will remain the dominant fuel despite huge investment in alternatives, according to a International Energy Agency report released Tuesday.

The agency forecasts that China’s demand will soar by 75% between 2008 and 2035, compared to an overall surge of 36% in international energy use. While Americans still lead the world in per capita energy use, China overtook the United States last year as the primary energy user.

Read the entire article here.

World,China Oil Demand To Slow;Plenty Of Capacity-IEA

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This is great news, unless it drives shortsightedness in investors and researchers who would otherwise drive innovation.

  • JULY 13, 2010, 4:54 A.M. ET

UPDATE:2011 World,China Oil Demand To Slow;Plenty Of Capacity-IEA

 
   By Spencer Swartz 
   Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

LONDON–The International Energy Agency said Tuesday it expects oil demand to slow next year in China and most other parts of the world, indicating that crude prices are likely to trade at subdued levels well into next year.

In its first assessment of 2011 global oil trends, the Paris-based agency forecast world oil demand to grow by 1.3 million barrels a day, or 1.6%. That increase rate is below the 2.1% rise in global crude consumption expected this year, although it is in line with 1.7% growth seen on average annually from 2000 to 2007.

Despite a higher rate of global economic growth projected next year, the IEA said the dual impact of improving energy efficiency in industrialized nations and a gradual phasing out of economic stimulus in emerging markets like China–the fastest-growing oil consumer globally–would slow the pace of oil consumption.

[…]

“Whisper it quietly, but we might, just might, be in for some market stability for a while longer,” the IEA said.

[…]

Consumers are still bent on maximizing energy efficiency in places like the U.S. and oil traders have lingering doubts about the health of Europe’s and America’s economic recovery and the knock-on effect in emerging markets.

[…]

There are some potential problems ahead. Non-OPEC oil supply is forecast to grow by just 400,000 barrels a day in 2011, half the growth rate expected this year and far below recent historical averages, due to aging oil fields.

Read the entire article here.

Should the U.S. compete or cooperate with China on clean energy?

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Here’s an editorial following up on and article posted earlier regarding Secretary Chu’s announcement that the U.S. invest US$37.5 million to cooperate with China on clean energy research.

Wind turbines are seen at the Da Bancheng Wind Farm in Xinjiang, China, last year as Beijing pushes companies to produce more renewable energy.
By Elizabeth Dalziel, AP

Amid recent studies suggesting the United States is losing the clean energy edge to China, the U.S. Department of Energy is helping fund a joint research center.

On Monday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $37.5 million in U.S. funding over the next five years for the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, to be located at existing facilities in both countries. The Center will focus on energy efficiency, clean vehicles and carbon capture from coal plants.

Read the entire article here.

China tops USA in spending on clean energy

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No surprises here. They have 4 times as many people and their economy is in much better shape. Still, if we want to continue to be the world’s leader, we’ll have to set a much better example.

Updated 3/25/2010 3:53 PM
By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY
China is emerging as the world’s clean-energy powerhouse, according to a new study by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Last year, China spent more than any other major country on clean energy, including wind and solar, toppling the U.S. from the top spot for the first time in five years, the Pew report says. The U.S. is also on the verge of losing the top spot in terms of installed renewable energy to China.

Read the entire article here.

Earth Policy Release — China’s Changing Energy Economy

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In his book, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, much of which is continually published and updated on line, Lester Brown focuses great attention on China, the world’s largest carbon emitter. While I don’t disagree with the facts he presents, and have much respect for the work he has done, both with Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute, I don’t agree with focusing on the problems of other countries. As an American who loves my country very much, more than any other, even more than fabulous Brazil, where I have lived and continue to work, it seems most appropriate to focus on my own actions and my own house, on my own country. Though China may be the world’s most profligate polluter, that is due in large part to their status as the world’s most populous nation. Switch the criteria to pollution per capita, and the U.S. suddenly surges towards the top.

Yes, China has much to do to get their own house in order, but, as the current global leader, our ability to stay in that top spot depends in large part on our ability to lead by example.

In Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Lester Brown presents a plan to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by increasing energy efficiency and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. In the push to reduce emissions, all eyes are on China, the world’s most populous country and now also the world’s top carbon emitter.

Read and download other portions of the book here.

Written by Jason

March 3rd, 2010 at 10:19 pm

China drafts 10-year ‘green energy’ plan

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The Associated Press March 2, 2010, 1:14AM ET

Click here to find out more!

SHANGHAI

China plans to have “clean energy” account for 15 percent of its total consumption under a 10-year renewable energy promotion program soon to be made public, a state-run newspaper cites the head of the country’s National Energy Administration as saying.

The government will spend billions of dollars on building nuclear and solar power plants, wind farms and on research into renewable energy technology, Zhang Guobao said in Tuesday’s edition of the China Daily.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

March 2nd, 2010 at 12:37 pm