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Tag Archives: emissions

China has passed a law requiring power companies to buy-up all the electricity generated from renewable sources. My first thought was, “Damn. Wish I had bought stock.”

Second thought is that this is quite a response to the supposed controversy of the recent Copenhagen climate talks. The new law–

empowers the State Council’s energy department, the electricity regulatory agency and its finance departments to determine the amount of renewable energy available in the country’s overall power generating capacity.Power companies will be obliged to take up all of that capacity, and those refusing to do so will be fined an amount up to double that of the economic loss of the renewable energy company,

I would bet now that this story–sadly–will not get much notice in the US. Even less likely–double sad–is that the US will not be able to make a similar gesture to confirm their commitment to emissions controls.

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The Copenhagen climate talks are reported here to have graduated to the stage where they are negotiating the costs to different countries, the developed world financing most of the cost of reducing carbon emissions. One dispute appears to me to be a bit of resentment over trade balances.

Todd Stern, the special U.S. climate envoy, called the text “constructive” but singled out the section on helping poor countries lower their growth of carbon emissions as “unbalanced.” He said the requirements on industrial countries were tougher than on developing nations and the section was not “a basis for negotiation.”

China’s public stance remained unyielding, and Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei took Stern to task for remarks Wednesday that no U.S. climate money would go to Beijing. In unusually blunt language, He said Stern either “lacks common sense” or was “extremely irresponsible.”

Restrictions are less for developing countries based on the observation that the developed world is mostly responsible for climate change when developing themselves. Perhaps it is sensible though that today–with better technology and cleaner energy available–the undeveloped world can make progress without the same costs to the environment.

I have yet to see comparisons of what emissions were for comparable energy consumption, say 40 years ago compared to today. I do remember living in Long Beach, CA in 1969-1970. There were regular news warnings for people not to exercise outside because of the poor atmosphere. It sometimes hurt my throat and lungs to take a deep breath.

Now in China, the smoggy air is often obvious. It is/was a problem worth avoiding in both times.

gmThe NY Times reports that GM Adds Workers and Shifts as Demand Surges. Due mostly to the Cash for Clunkers program, the US auto industry looks like it is recovering. Cash for Clunkers was sold as a program to reduce emissions, help the economy, and restore manufacturing jobs, but does it really?

Many people in the US seem to think that good for business means good for the economy. That is another fallacy that is fairly easy to understand. Let us take a look at what is really going on.

Cash for clunkers is basically a subsidy to car manufacturers. People get a new car, but industry ends up with the money. Where does the money come from? Ultimately, the taxpayer. Given that the government is already deep in debt, the extra borrowing increases interest rates, and that is a great deterrent to private investment. Emission reduction? New cars must get 22 miles to the gallon to qualify. Sorry, but that is a very low standard to set for a program that comes at the expense of consumer income and potential investment in other areas of the economy.

Cash for clunkers is not a program for emission reduction, not a program for the economy, not a program for jobs. It is only a transfer of income from the worker to industry.

Not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I was happy to see this reported— that China’s  State Council Information Office has done its own assessment of US human rights, and found it lacking.

“The U.S. practice of throwing stones at others while living in a glass house is a testimony to the double standards and hypocrisy of the United States in dealing with its human rights issues,” said the Chinese report.

Not that China has anything to be proud of here, but the US human rights record is far from perfect.

This reminds me of another issue where the US, or many Americans, 13_08_1-chimney-steam-smoke_webseem especially hypocritical of China’s pollution problems. I did read that China had recently overtaken the US as the world’s worst polluter, but they also have five times the population. Per capita, the US pollutes three or four times what China does, and when in a similar stage of economic growth, the U.S. had horrible pollution problems.

It does not sit well with me to hear an American–like Hillary did recently–complain about China’s excessive carbon emissions.