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China to Invest $361 Billion in Renewable Energy, Leaving U.S. in the Dust


#1

China to Invest $361 Billion in Renewable Energy, Leaving U.S. in the Dust

Nika Knight, staff writer

While climate activists in the U.S. mount a resistance to the incoming climate-change-denying Trump administration, on the other side of the Pacific, environmentalists have reason to celebrate: China on Thursday announced that it will invest $361 billion in renewable energy by 2020.


#2

This helps to illustrate the role Governments can have in the shaping of energy policy rather then leaving it to the markets. There has to be mandated incentives and disincentives so as to arrive at a given goal.

As it is now Oil Companies and Coal Companies have no reason to want to see industry and peoples using less coal and oil so will actively work to ensure more used. It very much the same reasons there can never be a cure for cancer under the market based model. The Corporations developing treatments (rather then cures) would lose their revenue stream and will actively work to ensure it something that treated at an ever increasing expense rather then something eliminated.

By the same token Governments could mandate much stricter environmental laws that regulate the amount of cancer causing toxins that we are being exposed to. They are lobbied not to do so because some Industry somewhere is making money off this.

The Business of War , as pointed out by Smedley Butler all those years ago , is also a racket where those that profit off the production of arms have a vested interest in seeing conflict between nations.


#3

For all those hoping to see the US remain the world's super power, they are doing everything they can to destroy any possibility. Will they be happy when the US looks like China with the smog and toxicity?
The US has gone down in just about every area, environment, healthcare, elections, education and the rest. With Republicans trying to push us back to the 40's and Dems going along with it we can expect to be a third world country before long. Will they be happy then?
They don't believe in climate change but do they understand pollution?


#4

Of course they've heard of pollution but dismiss it with general and familiar platitudes:

  • it's the price of progress: better to have some and live in the modern world
  • (related) often is the only way to have jobs
  • ill effects on environment are exaggerated by tree hugers, granola types, etc

#5

From Michael Mann:

"Even with innovation and scaling up, we may at some point
have to deploy “direct-air capture” technology, which pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. That would be expensive, but Klaus Lackner, an engineering professor at Arizona State University , is confident that the cost could be brought down to $30 a ton with volume manufacturing." (1)

From Ecowatch & Truthout Point 17 of 18:

"Of great interest in 2016 was the advancement of the "moisture swing" CO2 capture process being developed by Dr. Klaus Lackner, director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at Arizona State University. In 2009, Lackner's work had proceeded to where costs were $16 per ton with $0.05 kWh energy costs. Now that solar is at $0.03 per kWh and continuing to fall rapidly, costs are obviously falling for direct air capture with all technologies. This technology is particularly effective because it does not use high temperature to restore the absorbing materials. Instead, room temperature water is used to "wash" the CO2 out of the process." (2)

=========================

Wallace Broecker, a truly extraordinary man and scientist, picked up on Direct Air Capture immediately - back in 2006/07/08 ("Fixing Climate"), and Klaus Lackner was the reason.

Since reading Broecker - and contemplating other geoengineering ideas, it has been my firm conviction that Direct Air Capture will be an absolute necessity in the years ahead.

Now the idea is maturing - and I want Common Dreams to see this.

1) http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/Mann/articles/articles/MannSciAmDec15.pdf

2) http://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change-tipping-point-2170296371.html?page=3

And to see this - literally just in:

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/


#6

Thanks for the links. Looks like survival is possible, but it also looks like the horse and the barn door.
* We could reduce the catastrophe, but does Homo Sapiens have the will to do so, or will it just be hand wringing? Homo Oligarchicus says "Just give me the biggest short time profit. I want it all before we're gone!"
* And they've been the string pullers for the past century or so.
* Huge numbers of people, worldwide, are mobilizing against fascism, human rights violations, greed and war. Green is growing, alternative power is available and affordable, and the move away from coal, oil and gas is growing to a flood. Somehow, We the People have to wrest control of our Wehrmacht away from the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex, end our wars and get rid of military profits for the Oilagarchy. Then, perhaps, we can look to the stabilizing and rebuilding of the earth and begin caring for people instead of throwing them to the wolves in the name of profit.
* At 79, I probably won't live to see it, but I'd certainly like to see it headed in that direction before I kick the bucket. :wink:
;-})


#7

It sounds like a lot of the money will be going into nuclear power plants which many climate activists would strongly disapprove of. Hopefully none of these plants will experience a nuclear meltdown but there is always a risk. Although some of them might use advanced technology and at least be safer than existing plants. I don't know what China does with high-level nuclear waste, Maybe it is just stored on site as is done in the US.


#8

Perhaps the frackers and tar sands extraction moguls would do a turn-about and embrace the future profits of "direct-air capture." Some energy corps have branched into solar power manufacturing and windmill production. If China severely curtails their coal imports from the US and Canada, it will make a big difference in how these (US & Canadian) companies do business in the future.

One can hope and pray!

Thanks for the info!!!


#9

They did in the 70's with the creation of the EPA. The problem now is that the Republicans have been conscripted by money.


#10

All this is predicated on the assumption that we won't wait until it is too late. Once the methane hydrates start exploding of the east Siberian ice shelf in gigatons I'm not sure we can move enough air to scrub out the methane.


#11

If people won"t consider a reduction in their energy lifestyle to make up the difference between fossil and wind/solar/hydro I'm not sure how many other alternatives there are. My guess is that unless the world is willing to take an energy haircut, nuclear will have to make up a significant part of the energy mix. So far no one even mentions taking an energy haircut.


#12

The technology for direct air capture does not exist in a form that can compete with even nuclear power. Tar sands and fracked oil already cost more to develop and exploit than the economy can afford. Add on the cost of direct air capture and it is not going to happen. Most of the greenhouse gas generation from fracking comes in the form of methane releases and transport and direct air capture doesn't even address these contributions. Yes it releases less CO2 when burned but the methane losses prior to burning more than offset any gains.


#13

The country that leaves fossil fuel behind and invests in renewable energy on a grand scale, that is the country that will rise while others fail. China just made a "huge" investment in their future and consequently in the quality of air for all the planet. What has the US done?


#14

I was surprised that Sheldon Whitehouse is advocating nuclear. It seems politically risky for a Democratic senator who has been speaking out on climate change to advocate nuclear but that is his position.


#15

Maybe he lets logic and common sense override politics.


#16

The US is a leader at reducing coal burning. Coal burning now accounts for about a third of electricity whereas it used to account for about half. Almost 80% of China's electricity comes from coal burning and after coal burning decreased in China it recently increased. Another problem with China is that Chinese companies throughout the developing world are building coal burning power plants. The US gets quite a bit of electricity from wind power. Texas and Iowa have a particularly large number of wind turbines. And the first off-shore wind farm is now operating off Rhode Island and a larger one is planned off Long Island. Hillary Clinton advocated large investments in green energy but unfortunately voters chose to go with Donald Trump who advocates an energy policy based on increasing production of fossil fuels.


#17

Have to start somewhere, wouldn't you agree? Climate change denial is and will be a huge obstacle to any and all sustainable technologies/advances, especially when the deniers are beholding to the monetary prizes offered by the polluters as tokens of their appreciation for their (deniers) loyalty.


#18

I agree with that. It is my belief though that any solution that doesn't consider a reduction in both population and per capita energy consumption will ultimately fail. Those should come first but of course the won't come until the four horsemen bring them.


#19

Reduction in per capita energy consumption has been at the center of the strategy for years when it comes to fighting climate change. This is what improving fuel efficiency of motor vehicles, more energy efficient appliances, improvement in energy efficiency of homes, etc is all about. This has always been assumed to be necessary. It has been a big part of Obama's agenda. It isn't usually phrased in per capita terms but it could be. I would say population reduction is not something that will be considered. US population is expected to continue to grow for some time.


#20

"The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar, and nuclear "

Interesting how nuclear is now considered renewable. Apparently they have "21 new reactors under construction, and more about to start construction.". Here in the US we've been wringing our hands for the past 30 years and building coal and gas power plants and whining about carbon emissions.