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United Nations Environment Programme: China #1 in adding renewable energy, more than any other country

The United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) recently reported “Global Trends in Green Energy 2009: New Power Capacity from Renewable Sources Tops Fossil Fuels,” and one of the highlights it gave was:

Growth of wind power in China a key feature of 2009

There are a number of interesting facts about China and the U.S. in the report:

China surpassed the US in 2009 as the country with the greatest investment in clean energy.
New private and public sector investments in core clean energy leapt 53 per cent in China in 2009.
China added 37 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity, more than any other country.


In this post, “China Reported to be # 1 Energy Consumer – Why the Dread & Gloom?” by Allen couple of weeks ago, he discussed how disingenuous the WSJ article was in casting doom and gloom on the “news” of an recent IEA report citing alleging China is now the #1 energy consumer, surpassing the U.S..

I mainly want to take this opportunity to further highlight the double-speak and literal lying the U.S. media engages in on a regular basis. In the WSJ article it said:

Beijing has refused to agree to cap its overall growth in its consumption of fossil fuels, or reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. That frustrated President Barack Obama’s efforts to forge an international climate agreement at a United Nations summit in Copenhagen last December.

The fact about China’s stance on carbon cap is strictly true. But, it is also true with that of the U.S. stance. In fact, the world is disappointed with the fact that the U.S. as a developed nation not vowing on a cap as other developed nations have done. WSJ said China’s stance “frustrated” Obama’s efforts sounds as if the U.S. was the leader in the climate talks. The truth is that the U.S. is not. The U.S. has been a rogue state on the Kyoto Protocol and ever since.

China instead set a target to reduce emissions intensity—the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of gross domestic product—by 40% to 45% from 2005 levels by 2020. That meant China was agreeing to make its economy more energy efficient—boosting its competitiveness—but not to consume less energy overall.

The fact above is again strictly accurate. But, the way WSJ has written about this fact is misleading. The typical American’s take on what is written is that China is going to increase overall energy consumption. WSJ has conveniently left out the fact about the need for fairness and per capita emissions as Allen discussed in his post.

Allen wrote:

But the same force that could be moving factory jobs away—rising incomes—could also underpin even greater energy needs as richer Chinese start consuming more. The question is whether China will adopt a low-energy pathway pioneered by places like Japan and Europe or follow a high-energy life-style of big houses and big cars pioneered by the U.S.

China’s population density will demand a much lowered emissions intensity, more so than Japan or Europe.  As reported by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), China is already working towards that trajectory.  I actually think China will blaze a new path for energy efficiency that the developed countries will eventually be pressured to match.

Doing that, China will lead the world in renewable energy in the future. I don’t understand why the U.S. media such as the WSJ do not take a responsible stance and encourage the U.S. to do the right things. Why does it instead try to mislead the American public on gloom and doom and casting others in negative light.

[Update]

China Daily has an article out today: “China may give electric cars, hybrids $15b jump start.” Here is a snippet:

The state may subsidize purchases of at least 4 million energy-efficient vehicles by 2012, the National Development and Reform Commission said June 3.

On a trial basis since June, the country is also giving out as much as 50,000 yuan toward the purchase of plug-in hybrid models and up to 60,000 yuan in the cities of Shanghai, Changchun, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei for vehicles that run only on batteries.

China, which became the world’s biggest auto market last year, aims to increase annual production capacity of alternative-energy vehicles to 500,000 by next year as part of efforts to cut oil imports and rein in pollution.

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