Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘China’ tag

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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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.

Soil is essential, non-renewable, and disappearing

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The headline on the article below borders on yellow journalism (I hope I sufficiently toned down my own headline above), but the problem of soil erosion is very, very real. If there’s any doubt in your mind, head to the rural Midwest and take a look at a church yard nestled amongst the corn and soybean fields. The churchyard will be six to ten feet higher than the surrounding farm fields.

Why? Modern industrial agriculture, the methods widely practiced around the world, too often leads to massive amounts of erosion. The soil simply blows away or is washed downstream.

Deforestation leads to more erosion as plants that would have held the soil, and the water essential to healthy soil, are removed for timber or to make way for agriculture. The crops may be beneficial to the soils, a nice symbiotic relationship common in systems untouched by humans, but if the soil is left bare for months at a time, as is usually the case in the Midwestern US during the winter, that soil is still highly vulnerable to erosion, hence the church yard phenomenon.

Civilization’s Foundation Eroding

September 28, 2010

Lester R. Brown

The thin layer of topsoil that covers the planet’s land surface is the foundation of civilization. This soil, typically 6 inches or so deep, was formed over long stretches of geological time as new soil formation exceeded the natural rate of erosion. But sometime within the last century, as human and livestock populations expanded, soil erosion began to exceed new soil formation over large areas.

Sinai Desert
Credit: iStock Photo/stevenallan

[…]

In a section of his report entitled “The Hundred Dead Cities,” he described a site in northern Syria, near Aleppo, where ancient buildings were still standing in stark isolated relief, but they were on bare rock. During the seventh century, the thriving region had been invaded, initially by a Persian army and later by nomads out of the Arabian Desert. In the process, soil and water conservation practices used for centuries were abandoned. Lowdermilk noted, “Here erosion had done its worst….if the soils had remained, even though the cities were destroyed and the populations dispersed, the area might be re-peopled again and the cities rebuilt, but now that the soils are gone, all is gone.”

[…]
During the late nineteenth century, millions of Americans pushed westward, homesteading on the Great Plains, plowing vast areas of grassland to produce wheat. Much of this land—highly erodible when plowed—should have remained in grass. This overexpansion culminated in the 1930s Dust Bowl, a traumatic period chronicled in John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath. In a crash program to save its soils, the United States returned large areas of eroded cropland to grass, adopted strip-cropping, and planted thousands of miles of tree shelterbelts.

Amazon Deforested

Credit: iStock Photo/Brasil2

During the late nineteenth century, millions of Americans pushed westward, homesteading on the Great Plains, plowing vast areas of grassland to produce wheat. Much of this land—highly erodible when plowed—should have remained in grass. This overexpansion culminated in the 1930s Dust Bowl, a traumatic period chronicled in John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath. In a crash program to save its soils, the United States returned large areas of eroded cropland to grass, adopted strip-cropping, and planted thousands of miles of tree shelterbelts.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

September 29th, 2010 at 7:56 am

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.

Secretary Chu Announces $37.5 Million Available for Joint U.S.-Chinese Clean Energy Research

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Washington, DC – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the availability of $37.5 million in U.S. funding over the next five years to support the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center.  Funding from the Department of Energy will be matched by the grantees to support $75 million in total U.S. research that will focus on advancing technologies for building energy efficiency, clean coal including carbon capture and storage, and clean vehicles.  The Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) will be located in existing facilities in both the U.S. and China and will include an additional $75 million in Chinese funding.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

March 31st, 2010 at 4:11 pm

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.

Lawmakers decry energy grants that create foreign work

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Ai ai ai, one of many, huge problems with our current energy system is our reliance on other countries for resources. Especially if these are government dollars, spending them overseas seems an unwise use of scarce dollars.

By JENNIFER A. DLOUHY Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle

March 3, 2010, 10:06PM

WASHINGTON — Four Democratic senators on Wednesday implored the Obama administration to stop spending federal stimulus dollars on renewable energy projects whenever the bulk of solar cell and wind turbine manufacturing is done overseas.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

March 5th, 2010 at 3:32 am

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