June 21, 2007
China Surpasses US In Carbon Dioxide Emissions
The rapidly expanding Chinese economy now emits more carbon dioxide than the American economy.
BEIJING (AP) - China has overtaken the United States as the world's top producer of carbon dioxide emissions - the biggest man-made contributor to global warming - based on the latest widely accepted energy consumption data, a Dutch research group says.
According to a report released Tuesday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, China overtook the U.S. in emissions of CO2 by about 7.5 percent in 2006. While China was 2 percent below the United States in 2005, voracious coal consumption and increased cement production caused the numbers to rise rapidly, the group said.
What I want to know: how long will it take before China's emissions are twice as much as America's? Might be time to make a long term investment in a tropical Aleutian island.
China's per capita income and population size could grow for many years to come. If rising affluence make Chinese people more opposed to the One Child policy then China's population growth could accelerate and Chinese energy consumption could become a few times higher than that of the United States.
Massive construction in China is a major contributor to Chinese emissions.
Jos Olivier, a senior scientist with the Dutch environmental agency, said those statistics are the most accurate but that he and others wanted to find a way to get more immediate figures. He relied primarily on energy data collected by British Petroleum and added information about cement production, a major source of greenhouse emissions from chemical reactions.
Olivier said he believed his figures were fairly reliable. In a telephone interview from his office in the Netherlands, he said his calculations showed that carbon dioxide emissions by the United States declined 1.4% in 2006 — very close to the official figure of 1.3% released in May by the U.S. Department of Energy.
U.S. emissions declined partly because of mild weather in 2006, and partly because of increased use of natural gas instead of dirtier forms of fossil fuel, the Energy Department said.
My guess is that some of that carbon emissions decline in the US is due to rising energy prices. If we really are approaching "Peak Oil" (watch for news about production peaking of the Saudi Ghawar oil field) then we will shift toward coal in a big way. Total carbon dioxide emissions could rise during the early years after oil production peaks as more coal gets used.
To reiterate my basic argument on this topic: The best way to lower carbon emissions is to develop technologies that make other energy sources cheaper than fossil fuels. Photovoltaics and nuclear power combined with next generation batteries could enable us to shift away from fossil fuels for transportation.
But Kyoto Protocols set no CO2 limits to China.
So, I suppose that the Kyoto Protocols will crumble in the next few years.
Simply, China will not curb its emission, because economic development is its first priority.
And the other countries will find pointless to curb emissions when the bigger do nothing.
More so, many industrial plants emitting plenty of CO2 are simply moved from EU and USA to China and the products reimported in the EU and USA.
The good part is that, IMHO, CO2 is not the cause of the Global Warming.
Mirco, it's more accurate to say that the first round of Kyoto did not put limits on developing nations. China was among the participants in the negotiations of Kyoto, with the implication that Kyoto's second round -- a few short years away -- would require some level of action among the developing countries.
I don't mean to defend Kyoto, mostly because the evidence is suggesting we need far more ambitious CO2 reductions than Kyoto provides.
Also I don't mean to defend China, which seems to be trying to extort the developed countries into footing the bill for China's energy conversion. But if they go ahead with the coal plants they have planned, the climate will change for all of us.
You can't escape the basic physics of atmospheric CO2, which is to say, 1) acidification of seawater and 2) re-emission of infrared. It's physics so basic that it's been known for over 100 years.
But on the bright side: Once we release all of the carbon sequestered by those mean old dinosaurs and their contemporaries, we will once again have nice tropical weather at the poles without all these nasty ice ages with short little warm spells like the one we have been enjoying for the past few millenniums.
The Chinese aren't going to extort us for their conversion away from fossil fuels. We won't even charge ourselves the cost of the conversion. The odds of our paying other countries seem remote.
I keep saying: treaties and international carbon tax regimes will not reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The Chinese and Indians want higher living standards, our living standards. The only way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is to make non-fossil fuels energy sources much cheaper.
The cost reductions in the non-fossil fuels such as photovoltaics, wind, and nuclear will happen. But if we made those cost reductions happen sooner we could shift the whole world away from coal sooner. Otherwise coal consumption will keep rising at rapid rate.
why is nobody address this issue: polar cities?
read my blog and weeeP: climatechange3000.blogspot.com
danny bee | Homepage | 06.22.07 - 11:56 pm | #
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Polar cities are proposed sustainable polar retreats designed to house human beings in the future, in the event that global warming causes the central and middle regions of the Earth to become uninhabitable for a long period of time. Although they have not been built yet, some futurists have been giving considerable thought to the concepts involved.
High-population-density cities, to be built near the Arctic Rim with sustainable energy and transportation infrastructure, will require substantial nearby agriculture. Boreal soils are largely poor in key nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, but nitrogen-fixing plants (such as thevarious alders) with the proper symbiotic microbes and mycorrhizal fungi can likely remedy such poverty without the need for petroleum-derived fertilizers. Regional probiotic soil improvement should perhaps rank high on any polar cities priority list. James Lovelock's notion of a widely distributed almanac of science knowledge and post-industrial survival skills also appears to have value.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_Cities"
danny bee | Homepage | 06.22.07 - 11:57 pm | #
Randall, you're still stuck on "research" as the snake-oil cure for all ills.
You should know better. Too many technologies have gotten stuck between lab and market for research to be the bottleneck. There's a lot of work that has to be done to actually bring production costs down, and that work can only be done as part and parcel of production. Wind power is a prime example. Wind electricity cost 30¢/kWh in the 1970's. Research was on-going, but it had nothing to do with the production aspect of the business. Tax credits and RE portfolio quotas kept the sales going (albeit intermittently in the USA) and costs kept falling. Eventually it got big enough that heavy industry got involved (e.g. GE's acquisition of Enron's wind division brought all its plastics, gear trains and generator experience to bear) and costs have fallen to less than natural gas.
Would wind be attractive compared to NG-fired turbines if we hadn't had the production experience and volume to run down the cost curve? Doubtful.
How does this relate to Asian coal consumption? China and India will go whichever route is cheapest. That route is still coal, but the world can't endure a tripling of the industrialized population of the world going the classic route. Carbon taxes have to be used to push the cost of coal up above wind (and conservation, and eventually solar). China and India have to accept that coal has costs that its users must pay, whether those users are local or overseas buyers of industrial output. And the West has to go first, or it will never happen.
What wind needed to become cheaper was qualitatively different from what photovoltaics needs to become cheaper. Photovoltaics needs lab discoveries on materials. Refinement of production processes will not help because existing production processes start out with materials that are too expensive in the first place.
India and China are not going to accept carbon taxes. Europe has them but the resistance to carbon taxes in the United States is stiff. Americans are upset by the recent increase in gasoline prices caused by shortages of oil. That increase is far larger than any carbon tax we can expect to see as a result Congressional decisions.
The most politically feasible way to increase economies of scale on fossil fuels alternatives is probably to require a rising percentage of all electric generation to come from non-fossil fuels. California is doing that already. I think some other states are as well.
yeah this just shows that any eforts to curb emsisions in the wesst are futile, and have no meanithings waht soo ever,
tahts why monkey bucsh dcihethes kioto and such,
plus he knows that we have zero point, and antigravity devices already, taht can solve the fosil fuel problem
once for all if it were the situation to turn worst,
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The west must go first? Over the cliff first, to set a good example? Ha! Good one!
China's CO2 emissions are exponentially rising, and India's will try to match if it can.
Instead of being brain dead morons stuck on CO2, let's instead focus on genuine pollutants and environmental threats. Fear of CO2 is for people who no longer can think clearly.
(Everyone: Please don't feed the crank.)
Photovoltaics don't need anything new. SRI claims that their sodium reduction process can produce polycrystalline silicon from Na2SiF6 for under $15/kg (usage is dropping to less than 1 kg/m^2). What they need is the sort of automated production, from e.g. casting polycrystalline ribbons directly from melt to assembly of finished panels, that electronics have. (Seriously, can you imagine the difference in cost between hand–soldered components and SMC boards using vapor reflow?) Today's PV panels are largely assembled by hand. If volume increases to a point justifying the machinery to build panels from casting silicon to applying the edge strips without being touched by human hands, costs will drop like a rock. We can build that machinery now, but we don't have the demand now. We need to jump-start that demand.
India and China are not going to accept carbon taxes.
Then they're going to be faced with tariffs on all their goods. The US public is not going to accept unchecked rapid climate change (we've got rapidly worsening drought across the south and southwest already), and this is bound to create a new trading bloc (successor to the WTO) which demands adherence to environmental standards for admission. Non-members won't be able to export to members without stiff taxes.
US taxpayers are already angry at China for job losses due to currency manipulation. A little shot of populism with the environmentalism is all it will take to get China's goods taxed, if not totally embargoed (the leaded paint on Thomas the Tank Engine toys may have been the last straw). The futures of China and India rely on success in this effort too, so they'll go along in the end no matter how much of a show of reluctance they put on for domestic consumption.
Helen, if you can't accept the conclusions of the IPCC report despite:
- Its process delays which make the reports 2+ years behind the data, and
- The politicized, consensus nature which waters down conclusions which powerful interests dislike,
you're not in any position to talk about fear.
The people who cannot accept the fact of AGW are obviously scared stiff of the consequences. They're either frightened of what they'll have to give up (like their favorite 15-MPG SUV) or frightened of admitting that those people were right about something, and giving them credibility and authority (fallacy of argument from consequences). After all, who is most responsible for the failure of carbon taxes as a policy response? It is the free-marketeers, who chose to deny AGW instead and are rapidly losing crediblity because of it.
If you want to be taken seriously, you have to come to the table with something which is obviously a constructive proposal instead of a delaying tactic. Quit being frightened of it and start doing what needs to be done.
Gratuitous insults are not a substitute for argument with facts.
So then your theory is that the PV makers lack sufficient volume to automate manufacturing enough to lower costs? Have you looked recently at the size of the PV market? The PV market looks big enough that PV makers can afford to automate themselves.
Germany's grid connect PV market grew 16% to 960 Megawatts in 2006 and now accounts for 55% of the world market. While Japan's market size barely advanced last year, Spain and the United States were the strong performers. The Spanish market was up over 200% in 2006, while the US market grew 33%.
World solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 2,204 MW* in 2006, up from 1,656 MW a year earlier. Japanese producers lost ground over the past 12 months, dropping from 46% to 39% share, to the benefit of Chinese cell manufacturers.
Polysilicon production rose 16% in 2006, which, when combined with aggressive PV industry procurement, allowed a marginally higher market growth rate than projected twelve months ago. Nonetheless, polysilicon supply issues will still constrain cell production in 2007.
In respect of industry pricing, 2006 was a year of transition. In the first six months, prices rose through the PV chain in most markets. However, by mid year, customer response led to falls particularly at the module factory gate in Europe.
Global industry revenues were $10.6bn in 2006, while capital investment through the PV business chain totalled $2.8bn. The industry raised over $4bn in equity and debt financing, up from $1.8bn the previous year.
A $10 billion a year industry can afford to automate itself.
Tariffs on Chinese imports due to Chinese CO2 emissions: I'm not expecting to see that in the next 10 years at least and probably not for much longer. Climate change would have to get bad enough for Americans to want to tax their own carbon emissions before they'll think about tariffs and I do not expect to see that happen on a national scale in the foreseeable future - at least not without a much more dramatic change in local climates.
Interesting points, all.
Some recent revelations about rampant corruption within various agencies of the United Nations causes concern about whatever contributions the UN may be making to climate science ideology currently. Like most people who believe strongly in global warming, I am concerned that the science behind the ideology be sound and not corrupted by politics and capitalist interests.
Alexander Cockburn's recent article about capitalist infiltration into carbon trading and global warming theory has to make anyone wary who has experienced the numerous corruption scandals in government and industry.
I will delete any more posts you make in this thread. I know you aren't going to provide any data. Your assertions prove nothing.
Everyone else: Please do not respond to him. He just pulls otherwise productive discussions into petty content-less arguments.
I think in many ways china is among the leaders the world going to cleaner energy tech.
Over half of the 630 GW of power China will be adding by 2020 is planned to not be coal.
Generating 600 GW in 2006 and planning 1230 GW by 2020
155GW of hydro power to be added from 2007-2020.
Gas fired power plants to have risen to 85 GW, or 6.9 per cent of total installed capacity.
30 more GW of nuclear capacity by 2020
Trying to add 120GW of renewable power (mostly wind)
china is doing some stuff with biofuels as well, but concerns about food security
By 2020 they want green energies to account for 15 percent of all transportation fuels.
They made only one million tonnes of ethanol fuel in 2005 but by 2010 China's ethanol-fuel production may reach as high as 10 million tonnes, local press reports say.
China has agreed to invest in a $5.5 billion biofuels project on the islands of New Guinea and Borneo.
According to The Wall Street Journal, one million hectares (2.5 million acres) have been reserved for the eight-year plan, which would convert tropical forest for oil palm, sugar, and cassava plantations. China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), Indonesia's Sinar Mas Group, and Hong Kong Energy (Holdings) Ltd. are funding the project.
Suntech's revenue and profits are following a similar path. Sales in 2006 rose to $598.6 million, more than doubling 2005 revenue, while net income rose by from 30.6 million in 2005 to 106 million last year. Revenue this year will likely hit $1 billion.
Suntech, longer term, is going to be the Honda Civic of the industry," said Jeff Osborne, an analyst at CIBC World Markets. "My fundamental belief is that 80 to 90 percent of the market, long term, will be a commodity product and the Chinese and Taiwanese are going to dominate that (commodity) sector."
Alternative energy is becoming big business in China. In the past two years, several Chinese solar companies--such as Nanjing's Sunergy, JA Solar Holdings and Solarfun Power Holdings--have held initial public offerings in the U.S. Suntech did it first, in late 2005; because of the IPO, founder Zhengrong Shi is one of the richest men in the country.
Chinese manufacturers have also begun to expand into the market for solar water heaters. Meanwhile, The Jiangsu province has linked up with the Cleantech Network and Tsinghua University to create a clean-tech industrial park.
I do not think a trade war will happen.
1. Neither democrats or republicans are dominated by trade war advocates. Each may have a few but not a majority
2. A trade war would not be one sided.
3. China would trade and do stuff with Europe, Canada, Japan, Russia etc...
China has agreed to invest in a $5.5 billion biofuels project on the islands of New Guinea and Borneo.
Everybody, wave and say goodbye to the last two large islands with largely unspoiled jungle and unique ecologies. The environment would be sooooooo much better if the goddamn environmentalists would shut the fuck up and mind their own business.
E-P: Good to see you pointing to some facts about solar.
The myth that solar is stuck until new materials are developed or the science makes some magic giant step is widely believed. The silicon based technology now available is good enough and still improving. And costs are falling fast. Granted, the technology could be better. So could cars, planes, razors, and medicines. And no one says we have to wait before they can benefit our lives.
As to the objection that a $10B solar industry is big enough to automate on it's own. Yes it is. So if you want to wait thiry years for substantial benefits around the world don't help solar. At 15-20% it will double output in about 4 years. Solar is producing less that 1% of our energy, and certainly less than .5% of electricity. Readers can do the math.
$10B is output. It is not profit. It is not sufficient for meaningful internal financing. Solar industry profits would not build one nuclear plant. Fortunately some deep-pocket companies are investing. And some venture capital. But serious incentives from government are going to be needed unless we prefer solar potential noy solar fact until roughly 2030.
E-P: you wrote "The people who cannot accept the fact of AGW are obviously scared stiff of the consequences."
Reading minds is a notoriously unreliable art. Yet it is widely practiced. People who disagree have all sorts of reasons - and some are obviously crazy or inept. But some are very well trained and have not been completely convinced.
Chinese biomass in Borneo amounts to a huge amount of money to replace rain forests with agriculture. That's bad.
As for Chinese wind plans: A lot of wind plants get quoted at peak capacity rather than average capacity. It is hard to tell whether China's wind plans amount to much.
China's nuclear plans: 30GW isn't much in the bigger scheme of things.
Still looks like China is going to add many hundreds more GW of coal electric, maybe as much as 20 times more than their nuclear plans.
We need to stop building coal electric plants and shift to nuclear electric.
I know that some of China's plans are not great. But compared to where they currently are it will be big improvement.
From 2007-2020, hydro is the biggest cleaner energy play that they have.
5 times more than the nuclear.
Ideally they should add more nuclear. But the US is not really adding any nuclear yet and
is building 12 coal plants.
The new US nuclear plants are still in the approval filing process.
So the US could add 150GW of coal (pulverized) and zero new nuclear.
It looks like China will add 11 times more coal (330GW) versus nuclear (30GW).
The US will be lucky to do better. Add only 10 times as much coal as nuclear by 2020.
So both the US and China need to do better with cleaner energy.
China has another 30 some reactors in the pipeline after 2020 and Tsinghau university has floated a
plan for 300 reactors by 2050.
China will probably add another 100GW of hydro after 2020.
I would definitely prefer genetically engineered (synthetic bio) biofuels that do not take out or displace existing
plants, but no one has plans to scale that up as far as I can tell.
Wind. China should be the world leader by 2020
China is leading the world in renewable energy investment
pdf of China's renewable energy
30 million households have solar hot water, nearly 60% of the worlds’ installed capacity
But the US is not really adding any nuclear yet
We're restarting some old white-elephant plants, though. Browns Ferry Unit 1 (yes, the one that had that fire in the cabling tray) recently came back online after a long mothballing and a five year refurbishment effort. TVA has another semi-finished plant they're likely to decide to finish. The driver here is the spike in the price of natural gas and continued growth in demand for electricity.
Sorry, Randall, but anyone touting "zero point energy" is a crank or a troll. They are disrespecting all persons of reason by spouting off, so they have lost any claim on respect in return.
As for the $10 billion industry: The USA could easily use 50 GW of PV per year, perhaps more like 100 GW. At $2/peak watt, that is $100-$200 billion per year in the USA alone (figure 4-10 times that worldwide). It has taken decades for PV to get to the 2 GW point. A great deal of the delay has not been from lack of knowledge, but lack of investment; the PV market has only recently been big enough to justify significant automation, or even a silicon supply beyond the chip industry's scrap and excess. SRI had the sodium-reduction process for silicates working more than 20 years ago, and that technology languished along with many others. You can't invest when your market can be wiped out by the scrap from another industry.
SRI's process costs about $14/kg for raw silicon. A square meter of 1 mm silicon is about 2.8 kg worth, so figure under $50/m^2. At 14% efficiency a square meter will yield about 140 watts, so make that roughly 35¢/watt for the silicon. Thin-film amorphous cells would be much cheaper. High-volume manufacturing drives costs down to a small multiple of the cost of the inputs, so $2/watt is likely in the near term and $1/watt or less at the end.
We'd be there already if we were making even 20 GW/year of cells, but we're just breaking the 2 GW/year barrier. Had we pushed production for the last 15 years, we'd be ready to tell OPEC to kiss off and our response to AGW would be to increase our orders. Ironically, we have the likes of sun-starved Germany to thank for what little progress we've enjoyed, because their demand is the main driver pushing the production technology.
Plate glass production is a fully-automated process, continuously sliding a cooling layer off a bath of molten tin and into cutters. Had we enough volume, we'd be pulling silicon ribbons or depositing thin films in processes just like the glass plants — maybe even at the glass plants, for e.g. photovoltaic semitransparent shade glass. We are still quite some ways from being able to justify the investment to do that, which is a crying shame; with our best fuels running out, we could use the results yesterday. All it would have taken is a sustained program to encourage installations, and the languishing laboratory advances would have found their way into production processes by now.
What is "zero point energy"?
You say "The USA could easily use 50 GW of PV per year". Um, the US could easily use 50 GW of nuclear power too. But there's the question of cost. People generally do not want to spend as much as you do in order to switch away from fossil fuels usage.
Germany bought over half the PV sold in 2005.
I agree that the costs of photovoltaics (PV) will fall a great deal. PV has much more potential to fall than almost all other energy sources (maybe all).
PV as a replacement for Middle Eastern oil: Not without better battery technology. Our main problem with oil is that we need liquid fuel for transportation. If we can use electricity for transportation then many energy sources could replace oil.
What is "zero point energy"?
Ask the crank, "morpheus". That is, if you still take him seriously after clicking through the link he gave.
the US could easily use 50 GW of nuclear power too. But there's the question of cost.
PV has a very short lead time for installation (weeks, if available), is far easier to site and almost completely non-controversial. At $2/peak watt and 20% capacity factor, a dollar invested in PV would create 876 Wh/year of power. It would have a warrantable lifepsan of 25 years and a useful life of perhaps 50 years. At 7% interest-only, it would cost about 16¢/kWh (.876 kWh/$0.14).
This is highly competitive with electricity in many places, including California. It is highly competitive with afternoon peak rates in much of the world. And as the price fell toward $1/watt and 8¢/kWh, it would be even more competitive.
Nuclear's fine, but the 10-year lead time makes it late to the party. Neither is it any good for peaking generation. PV's output matches the A/C load curve very nicely, and would be of great use for displacing liquid fuels via PHEVs (it provides power when people are actually using it). Nuclear can pick up the remaining base load post-2015.
People generally do not want to spend as much as you do in order to switch away from fossil fuels usage.
What will they pay for energy security? Environmental security?
We're spending $200 billion/year in Iraq for the sake of a few mmbbl/d of oil... which we may never get. Spending $100 billion/year on $2/W PV could create an additional 87.6 billion kWh/year of electricity, with zero fuel usage for the generation. If it takes 7 kWh to replace one gallon of gasoline, that 87.6 billion kWh displaces 12.5 billion gallons/year. That's about 9% of US gasoline consumption every year, and it would accumulate and accelerate as the PV got cheaper.
This is impossible, of course. We couldn't build out the EV/PHEV fleet fast enough to displace gasoline at that rate. But we could use the power to slash coal and gas consumption for electricity, cutting fuel prices and pollution while boosting our energy security. We would be able to address climate change far more easily because our economy would no longer depend on GHG emissions.
PV as a replacement for Middle Eastern oil: Not without better battery technology.
We have that. A123Systems is shipping product, and Firefly Energy is licensing manufacturers in multiple markets. These aren't the ne plus ultra, but they are more than good enough to get started. All we have to do is standardize on form factors and electrical interfaces, and we can build vehicles today that will be able to upgrade their batteries for as long as they're on the road.
You need to write a post on what you see the benefits are from switching away from fossil fuels. People are more persuaded by short and medium term benefits. I just responded to you on Limited Hydrocarbons Mean Little Global Warming? thread with a list of benefits from shifting away from fossil fuels. You could use that as an outline for a post and add in information about health harms of particulates, mercury, and other details about how a shift away from fossil fuels would be good.
A123 Systems: Well, we are certainly getting close. But right now I can't take my car to a business that'll convert it into a pluggable hybrid or a pure electric car for any cost is remotely affordable. Also, I can't go to a dealer and buy a pluggable hybrid or pure electric car.
So when will pluggable hybrids and pure electric cars show up at the average Chevy or Ford dealer? Or the average Honda or Nissan dealer for that matter?
Once the pluggables show up then we can handle Peak Oil.
Well, actually, if you look at the amt. of emission per capita (per head), China actually produces less CO2 than the US. Just wondering about your response to that, though I do agree that developing technologies that would make fossil-free energy sources more viable is the way to go.
100 years ago white Europeans were one quarter of the world's population. Now whites are a tenth of the world's population and dropping. Should countries that have had more babies in the mean time get larger allocations of CO2 emissions rights? If they have even more babies and add another 3 or 4 billion people to the world should they get even more CO2 emissions rights?