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“Green” China: Big PR vs. King Coal (move over dung, primitive biomass, and Waxman-Markey)

By Donald Hertzmark -- June 24, 2009

In a previous post, CO2 Cap-and-Trade Meets the (China) Dragon, I described China’s rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a “one-country negation” to the Waxman-Markey climate bill (HR 2454). “The expected growth of coal-fired generation in China over the next 20 years will result in a net increase in CO2 emissions from their power sector of more than ten times that of reduced U.S. emissions due to coal constraints,” I concluded. This is good, not bad, insofar as dung and wood are terrible things to burn.

Given China’s path, unilateral U.S. actions like Waxman-Markey are futile, symbolic measures. Indeed, U.S. industry would move to China to transfer emissions (called “leakage“) under a stringent U.S. carbon-dioxide regime.

A PR Moment from China

The Chinese government recently announced its intent to reduce the energy efficiency of its economy (GJ/$GDP) by 20%, invest something like $586 billion in renewable energy technologies, improve the power grid and other infrastructure by 2020, and phase out its older, less efficient coal-fired power plants with newer models, including supercritical (higher pressure boiler) technologies.…