When the Chinese decides to change or build something they never think small but always big and long-term. Just look at what this nation have been able to do over the ages from the great wall to building the biggest economy in the world equalled only to the US and this is just a few decades. So when the Chinese proclaim that they are going to ‘go green’ there is real reason to listen and watch what they do.
You can argue that it is easy to change something in a totalitarian state like China were power and decision making is centralised to just a few men, but taking this aside it is quite amazing what they have decided to do. (I think there are a few environmentalists that would like to have similar powers.)
At a resent conference that was covered by the China Brefing Bro Harlem Brundtland congratulated the Chinese leaders for their courage.
“I think the leadership in China know that the pattern of development in China cannot be coal-based, oil-based, transport-based in private cars, so they talk about green economy, because they know they have different energy resources, they have to use solar and they are entering into changing all these technologies and implementing them,” Brundtland said, adding that “the rich world has to change the pattern, the newly emerging economies cannot do what we did because the world will suffocate under the pressure.”
(In this context I guess that China is not considered a “rich” country even though that there is mounting evidence that a very large proportion of the Chinese population can be considered either middle or upper-class based on their relative income. Then again Brundtland was “big” in the 80’ties and 90’ties were china did not have the same role.)
78 percent of the Chinas energy production is still coming from highly-polluting energy sources like coal but in the last decade or so been an rise in the use of alternative energy sources. According to the China briefing is geothermal energy in the lead covering 17 percent of national demand. And although solar is not particularly developed, China is now the world’s largest producer of photovoltaic panels and has recently experienced the construction of record size plants, such as new plant in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, which is capable of producing 26 million kW per hour.
What is interesting is two-fold.
That China starts to move before the US on the Kyoto agreement will make The States look like an environmental dinosaur. (Yet again they are used to this and will properly not rise to the challenge.) But as China is experimenting and getting valuable knowledge about how to handle and work with alternative energy resources, they will also be in a position were the increase in oil prices will have relative less of an impact on their overall economy. It is just another nail in the coffin of US world financial domination.
When a giant like China starts to move it will have ripple effect all over the world. In the few days the stock of alternative energy companies have risen with double digits just on the rumor of the move. (Of cause helped by the prospect that Germany will terminate their nuclear energy program by 2020.) But in an industry that is used to measuring energy in MW is quite something when the prospect raises thousand fold to GW. With this momentum I’m sure that we will see a growth in new small research-based alternative energy companies emerging at campuses all over the world.