Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Respect for China’s Energy Policies

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

china-energyUnited States energy secretary Steven Chu recently gave an interview with an editorial team from the Financial Times (registration required).  I’ve clipped a bit more of the interview below, but the key point is made early on when Secretary Chu says: “I think what China has done in the last few years is also a little bit of a wake-up call.”

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Richard Behar on China’s March into Africa

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

rbeharVeteran journalist and overall China-skeptic Richard Behar gives an interesting overview of China’s rapid economic ascent across Africa in this January 27, 2010 speech at the University of Nebraska.  Behar is best know for writing an excellent 24-page special report on China in Africa for the U.S. business magazine “Fast Company.” If you have not read this report, it is highly recommended as it provides a comprehensive overview of the changing geopolitical landscape. Furthermore, this Nebraska speech may also be worth an hour of your time.  Although he is a bit heavy on the cliches, he lays out an interesting perspective on the declining influence of Western powers in Africa and China’s meteoric rise.  Watch the full interview here.

Among his key points:

  • African governments prefer to deal with China who does not lecture them on political transparency or human rights.
  • China does not impose arduous restrictions on aid.
  • Memories in Africa are long, remembering back to the Cold War era where the West supported brutal dictators.
  • Chinese aid to Africa is now believed to exceed World Bank assistance.
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo and its vast natural resources is the big prize for China in Africa.
  • There are more Chinese embassies in Africa than any other nation.
  • More Chinese citizens are believed to live in Africa than any other foreign country.
  • Half the supermarkets in Lesotho are owned by Chinese merchants.
  • There are more Chinese in Nigeria than there were Britons at the height of the British empire.
  • China’s corrupt business culture meshes well with much of the culture of corruption in African business.
  • Africa is now the number one transit point for Chinese counterfeit products going to the West.
  • The effects of counterfeit Chinese pharmaceuticals across Africa will never be known.
  • American presidents have been misguided in thinking that increased trade with China will lead to more freedom there.
  • Chinese timber operators are decimating Mozambican forests.  Locals call it the “great Chinese take out.”
  • China is now the world’s top consumer of timber and is looking to Africa as a new source of raw timber.
  • Any African nation that accepts money from Beijing must sever ties with Taiwan.
  • 1-2 million DR Congolese workers are “indentured” to Chinese mine owners earning $3 per day (“on a good day.”)
  • China now obtains a 1/3 of its oil from Africa and Equatorial Guinea is central to their oil strategy in Africa.
  • China is getting most of the new oil contracts at rates U.S. and other international companies cannot match.
  • Africans and Chinese see Western hypocrisy in their talk of political reform while funneling World Bank money to dictators.

CTP Podcast – China’s Environmental Future

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

environment1In a wide ranging discussion, we hit on a number of points in this podcast.

Looking across key topics of industrial pollution, energy production, and material consumption, Michael finds reasons to be optimistic because of the recent impact of certain environmental policies and a new generation of concerned citizens.

Eric counters with some hard-nosed reality regarding the barriers presented by China’s regulatory system and framework.  This led to a disucssion about the relationship Chinese citizens have with nature and how collective will can manifest in a society where the right to organize is not clear cut – to say the least.

Have a listen and tell us if you think we’re off base with our ranging commentary and how you see China’s environmental future.

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Energy Consumption of Chinese Households

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

energy1The China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently concluded that the positive impact of recent conservation policies will be negated by the modernization of the Chinese household.

I find it interesting that we commonly talk about the problem of Chinese materialism (often without looking at our own), but the real issue appears to stem from comfort:  water and space heating consumed 59% of residential energy use in 2000.

Excerpt from summary:

“Chinese residential energy consumption will more than double by 2020, from 6.6 EJ in 2000 to 15.9 EJ in 2020. This increase will be driven primarily by urbanization, in combination with increases in living standards. In the urban and higher income Chinese households of the future, most major appliances will be common, and heated and cooled areas will grow on average. These shifts will offset the relatively modest efficiency gains expected according to current government plans and policies already in place.”

The report goes on to call for even more aggressive conservation strategies, which may be adopted, but as vast as this topic is, it is only part of China’s energy picture.  Overall, I remain optimistic that China’s nuclear energy, wind power, solar cell, and electric automobile innovation will keep constrain problematic emission growth.

Here is an illuminating graph of historical emissions from a presentation by one of the report authors, Mark Levine:

energy2

Download the full text of China’s residential energy consumption assessment.

Energy & Environment in China

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

This Thursday’s podcast will present points of view on China’s prospects for a clean and green future. There are many points of view on this topic, and we will cover these, but also attempt to do so in a manner backed-up by facts.

In this NY Times article, Jad Mouawad, reports on new data that show how clean energy efforts may impact broadly assumed trends about China’s future emissions.

Wind turbines in Xinjiang, China. An analysis by the International Energy Agency showed that China could slow the growth of its emissions at a much faster pace than is commonly assumed because of its huge investment in wind and nuclear energy.

via www.nytimes.com

CTP Podcast – China’s Resource Driven Diplomacy

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

diamondsWe just put to bed a podcast on China’s recent deals to secure access to needed raw materials.   Prompted by the NYTimes article on Iraqi sentiment toward a recent oil deal, we looked at other recent deals and diplomatic activity and explored possible trends and implications.

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At the end of our discussion we find ourselves focused on emerging deals in West Africa and South America as we ponder these talking points:

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China’s Race for Raw Materials

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

WASIT PROVINCE, Iraq — When China’s biggest oil company signed the first post-invasion oil field development contract in Iraq last year, the deal was seen as a test of Iraq’s willingness to open an industry that had previously prohibited foreign investment.

via www.nytimes.com

Today’s article in the New York Times about the new role China is playing in Iraqi oil politics is very similar to the challenge Beijing is facing in other parts of the developing world where it is scraping up as many raw materials as possible. Nowhere is this more evident than across Africa where China’s oil and mineral interests are now becoming vital to its overall foreign policy.  Just as in Iraq, though, China is struggling to come to grips with how to engage the local political class and interact with civilians.

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