Looking into my green crystal ball, here’s my bold prediction about the US-China “wind energy race,” if there ever was such a thing.
Around this time last year, I blogged about some misconceptions on U.S. and China’s installed wind capacity and wind energy generation, highlighting that the U.S. was producing 64% more wind energy than China in 2011 with the same amount of turbines. I explained the reasons for this including China’s difficulties with their Renewable Energy Law, grid connection bottlenecks, and performance gaps due to technology and wind resource issues. In this blog, I’d like to provide a quick update on the U.S. and China wind energy development using newly released 2012 data, and then offer up a prediction for the rest of the decade.
“Green Hops,” our periodic newsy updates of energy and environmental developments concerning China resumes. Anora Wang and Jenny Tang contributed research and summaries to this edition.
This guest post is by Michael Davidson, a Masters Candidate and pre-doctoral student in the Technology and Policy Program of the Engineering Systems Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He blogs on energy and climate issues with a focus on Asia at East Winds.
While Washington debates about whether to get serious on our climate and energy policies, Beijing this week released China’s five-year energy development plan, laying out an ambitious “all of the above” strategy that where lacking in specifics more than makes up for in vision (the plan, in Chinese; and Google translated). The wide-ranging proposal builds on a number of previous plans and targets designed to ramp up renewable energy and transition fuels, aggressively consolidate the coal industry, scale up large hydropower, and build a coastal nuclear development zone. I was struck by this map of projected energy bases and import lines:
China comprehensive energy bases
Editors Note: We are pleased to announce that John Romankiewicz, aka Sustainable John, of Low-Carbon Style fame has joined the GLF team as a contributor! This is his maiden GLF post, a video interview / book review.
If Dr. Richard Muller, author of “Energy for Future Presidents” were President of China, he’d get the country to switch from coal to natural gas in a hurry.
In my attempts to catch up on lots of literature published over the past year that I missed, I finally read the 2012 paper China’s Long Road to a Low-Carbon Economy: An Institutional Analysis by Philip Andrews-Speed, one of the first and foremost international commentators on China’s energy economy. Naturally, its stuff worth reading (otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging about it) because it addresses the core factors of whether China will ever succeed in its quest for sustainability – its governance institutions, and more specifically, the tension between the tendency of such institutions to maintain the status quo and their capacity to adapt to change. Andrews-Speed is ultimately pessimistic, but more interesting, I think, is his thought processes in reaching such a conclusion.
Posted by Geoffrey Henderson, Kristin Meek, David Waskow, Athena Ballesteros and Paul Joffe
This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:
Nearly a year ago, the United States and China laid out their national climate action plans for the coming years. These were the first in what is now a substantial list of national climate action plans—plans that will form the basis of a new international climate agreement to be finalized in Paris later this year. Now, the world’s two biggest emitters have taken the next step by cementing their plans, jointly announcing key actions they’ll take to achieve their national goals, and clarifying their views on the upcoming Paris agreement.
The announcement not only reveals the critical climate actions these countries will take domestically—it builds the necessary momentum to ensure that the new international climate agreement is a successful one.
Posted by Valerie Karplus
The latest Obama-Xi announcement sends a strong message: the two nations are acting fast to enable a global low carbon transition. Friday’s joint announcement is an unprecedented step by the world’s #1 and #2 emitters to commit, at the highest levels, to a strong set of domestic policies and to reinforce global mechanisms that will help to engage peers ahead of the upcoming landmark climate change negotiations in Paris
Posted by Deborah Seligsohn
The US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change is a landmark for the bilateral relationship in terms of its specificity and ambition. This is especially true given that many Chinese wonder at the direction of US policy given that none of the Republican candidates in next year’s election support strong climate policy. While those in the administration have told me the subject has never come up in formal bilateral discussions, I suspect that is more in the nature of diplomatic politesse (don’t impugn the other guy’s government) than a reflection of real Chinese analysis. Chinese academics who directly advise the Chinese government have repeatedly raised the issue of the stability of US policy with me. But that means the Chinese commitment is all the more remarkable and is good news. President Xi Jinping has chosen this international “hand-tying approach” – making a formal public commitment where failure to meet it would be an international embarrassment – because he has domestic reasons to want to do more on energy policy and climate change.
Posted by Valerie Karplus
Climate change looms large among the many issues on the table at the upcoming meeting of Presidents Xi and Obama in the U.S. next week. Any new developments at that meeting will build on announced domestic efforts to address the issue, starting with a joint declaration in Beijing last November of what would become the main elements of each country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (or INDC). In its INDC, China has pledged to reverse the increase in its CO2 emissions to peak by 2030 or sooner. It also pledged to increase the share of non-fossil energy in its primary energy mix to around 20% by 2030, and to achieve a 60-65% reduction in CO2 intensity in 2030, relative to 2005 levels. The U.S. has pledged to reduce its absolute CO2 emissions level 26-28% by 2025, relative to 2005 levels. These pledges are cornerstones in the emerging architecture of global climate change mitigation ahead of a landmark round of global climate talks rapidly approaching in Paris later this year.