China’s insatiable energy needs have made headlines. One of its worst consequences is an increase in the burning of dirty coal. (This is not to imply there is clean coal; there isn’t. Clean coal is just a coal industry marketing term.). Coal is said to supply 70% of China’s energy needs compared to 25% in the US. So if the Chinese don’t choke themselves to death first, they may help drown the rest of us by their contribution to global CO2.
But China is also doing something the US isn’t: putting substantial money into the search for and development of clean energy:
China is leaving the US in the dust in its spending on clean energy – but it still has plenty to do if it is to shake off its sooty reputation.
According to a study released last week by the Washington-based think tank, Worldwatch Institute, China will invest more than $10 billion on renewable energy this year – double the amount invested by the US in 2006. China is on track to hit its goal of 15 per cent energy from renewables by 2020, up from 8 per cent today, the authors say. “I think the targets are realistic, even conservative based on what they have done so far,” says Eric Martinot. (New Scientist)
There is plenty to criticize in China’s energy policies. But the US can’t do so without incurring the proper retort they are the pot calling the kettle black.