Monday, 31 January 2011

Davos meeting

As you may be aware, the Davos group has met and discussed many pressing issues affecting our world today. One topic was the superpower status of China and India. I gathered some information on the energy futures of both China and India in preparation for my geography course, which is very relevant to current affairs occurring at the World Economic Forum. 


Energy Future of China

In the last quarter century, China's breakneck economic growth has lifted over 50 million people out of poverty and tripled energy demand.  At stake are issues of global importance, including climate change and competition over dwindling oil resources. Perhaps more important for China, however, are domestic concerns such as severe urban air pollution, energy security, and sustained economic growth.

China's current energy mix is strongly influenced by resource availability. With 13 percent of global coal reserves--compared to only one percent for oil and natural gas--China meets over two-thirds of its domestic energy needs with coal. As the dirtiest of fossil fuels, coal combustion accounts for the vast majority of domestic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). As a result, China has many of the world's most polluted cities: urban air pollution accounted for 3.4 percent of all deaths in 2001.

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), aimed at fighting global warming. China is part of the Non-Annex I, which means they are not obliged as of yet to comply with the Kyoto Protocol regulations as they are a developing country and economy.

As the Chinese economy grows, power consumption must grow right along with it.
And unlike the U.S., where energy usage peaked in the latest bubble, China's per capita energy usage still has a ton of room to grow. That's because by comparison, the average Chinese consumer burns five times less energy annually than the average American does, leaving nothing but upside as the Chinese workforce consistently consumes more. It's a pattern that will continue, even if the economy begins to “slow.” According to new data from the International Energy Agency, China consumed 2,252 million tons of oil equivalent energy last year — about 4% more than the U.S. It was only 10 years ago that China consumed half of what the U.S did.

China accounts for 15 percent of the world's energy demand, most of which is satisfied by fossil fuels. With less than two percent of the world’s oil reserves, most of China's growing oil needs are going to have to be imported.

China's current path of energy growth is not sustainable - significant opportunities for improvement remain:

  • Improve energy efficiency
    China has set a goal to quadruple GDP by 2020 while only doubling energy consumption, a challenging proposal considering that energy demand has grown faster than the economy since 2001. Reversing this trend will require decreasing energy intensity (energy use per unit of GDP produced) in all of China's economic sectors. Chinese industry, for example, requires 20 to 40 times more energy to create one dollar of goods than does industry in OECD countries (Rosen & Houser 2007). Greater efficiency could be encouraged by pricing energy, particularly electricity generated from coal, to reflect its full environmental and social costs. Other opportunities include installing energy-efficient appliances in homes and buildings and setting rigorous fuel efficiency standards for vehicles.
  • Transition to renewable fuels
    Even with improved energy efficiency, demand for fossil fuels will continue to grow unless alternative energy sources are pursued. China has set a preliminary goal to increase the share of renewable energy in total energy use to 16 percent by 2020. Much of this growth will be achieved via hydroelectric power, although wind power is also becoming cost competitive in some areas and contains enormous potential. The controversial Three Gorges Dam, which displaced nearly two million people, will become the largest hydroelectric facility in the world upon completion in 2009. However, building new dams is also environmentally problematic, especially considering escalating water scarcity throughout the country.
  • Minimize pollution
    For the foreseeable future, China will remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Technologies exist, however, to mitigate some of the worst effects of fossil fuels, and introducing taxes or incentives will facilitate the adoption of such technologies. For example, in 2006, Beijing raised the sulfur pollution tax on power plants and introduced a market incentive to help offset the cost of installing flue gas desulfurization (FGD) equipment, which removes SO2 from a plant's emissions stream. Virtually all of coal power plants built since then have installed FGD systems. This instance reveals the potential of market-based incentives in regulating other pollutants, including NOx and CO2.
    (http://earthtrends.wri.org/updates/node/274)



Energy Future of India

India currently owns around 0.8% of known oil and gas resources, and with 17% of the world’s population and a developing economy, this will indefinitely lead to problems. Availability of adequate amounts of energy and water at affordable prices and equitable access to them for all sections of society will be a defining characteristic of life in the 21st century.
The World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) has formulated the “Renewable Energy Act”, which states that they will achieve sourcing 20% of the entire countries energy usage from renewable energy by 2020.
2007 was considered the year to promote green energy in India, where an effort was made to push green technology through the media and raise its awareness and its importance – “Year of the Renewable Energy Law for India”. Not only was this plan drafted for green energy, but also to move India away from “Energy Secure”, to becoming “Energy Independent”, meaning they are self-sufficient in providing energy, and aren’t sourcing externally.
Other reasons for this switch was the increasing effects of climate change as a result of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases; peaking of production, depletion and extinction of fossil fuels and Energy Autonomy/ Independence – constant imports of fuels would destroy the economy.
The draft law proposes to increase the target for electricity generation from renewables to 10 per cent by 2010 (as against 2012 currently) and 20 per cent by 2020, of the total electricity generated in the country (and not as a percentage of installed capacity). To do this, these objectives have been set:
  • Solar water heating to be made mandatory throughout the urban areas of the country by 2012, in a phased manner.
  • A time-bound programme of demonstration of solar rooftop lighting systems in 10,000 government buildings by 2010, also incorporating building integrated photo-voltaics.
  • Conversion of fossil fuel based industrial heating to solar thermal heating using new solar concentrator technology or its hybrids.
  • India has at present about 30,000 MW captive generating units (industrial units), of which about 18,000 MW are diesel based. The draft law proposes time-bound conversion of these captive units to bio fuel based generation. This will save large amounts of diesel.
  • Provision for small biomass based energy systems for rural areas.
  • Indigenous development of small wind power systems upto 25 kW (and hybrids) for stand-alone applications.
  • Widespread application of co-generation concepts (heat and power) for lighting, heating and cooling.
A separate chapter of the law deals with accelerating bio fuel development and transportation energy to displace fossil fuels. A time-bound Renewable Fuel programme covering ethanol and bio diesel has been proposed. Backward and forward linkages of the programme to facilitate employment and rural livelihood improvements are also included.
Time-bound programmes for bio diesel engine production, introduction of hybrid vehicles, fuel cell bus demonstration, increasing railroad efficiency and development of ultra-efficient aircraft technology have been proposed. Most importantly, modern concepts of Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations have been proposed.”
http://www.merinews.com/article/renewable-energy-act-to-meet-indias-future-needs/126343.shtml

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), aimed at fighting global warming. India is part of the Non-Annex I, which means they are not obliged as of yet to comply with the Kyoto Protocol regulations.

38 comments:

level85nerd said...

Interesting, i didnt know that.

my day in a sentence said...

Interesting read; following and supporting! :)

stan said...

very interesting

Fruffles said...

Very informative blog man. It's a change of pace to see someone actually put something intelligent up for once...

Follow and supporting brah!

grace said...

thats amazing to hear about the growth of chinas industry since they do rely on mass energy renewable sources like wind and sun has been of great interest well thats from what i hear on the news

jgsmyth said...

Very Interesting blog, the energy source of the future is quite a fun subject (well to me anyway, i study it :P)

Rant said...

Weird... Following you. :) I like this shit. :)

Kai Drakken said...

It's good to see so much support for alternative energy being put forth by two very major countries. This is the kinda of initiative we need for a clean future.

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shishimaru said...

Woah... well these are growing countries so its to be expected something has to be done about their energy needs for sure... Hopefully theyll come up with something that doesnt rape the planet

>:3

The Latest Movie Trailers said...

great post

AbstractReality said...

China and India are developing so fast...

http://abensouss.blogspot.com/ said...

dude dont forget Brasil ! its could be a major energy problem in this country too.

Ecologist here supporting you and following you.

Rose said...

very informative post. good to consider

Le Coq Bleu said...

very good insight and very detailed. I sense great trolling potential in you.

Nik Mekeena said...

great read man!
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jake7291 said...

Very interesting read, thanks for posting

Following now

Rave Rodrigues said...

Very interesting post, I linked to it from my own blog.

radness4life said...

this was quite an informative post.
following and supporting.

Araita said...

Its good to know, pretty interesting blog you got here man!

trippinkets said...

great post, full of information. following.

Alphalpha said...

I think people underestimate the impact china is having on the environment...

Wild Hunter said...

Wow. What has the world become?

Ben said...

Part of the reason that China can sell things to America so cheaply is their total disregard for the environment. At my job, we can source components landed (that means shipping costs included) for less than raw material costs alone from American suppliers. That cheapness comes a severe price that everyone will be paying for.

PS3 Fnatic said...

very interesting topic.

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Nutcracko said...

Wow. That was a really interesting read. Can't wait to see some more.

Following and supporting!

ForStaar said...

Very fascinating blog, followed you.

Merry said...

I'm intrigued by your understanding of world economics. From here on, I'll be watching with interest, hoping to learn something...

Come At Me Bro said...

Great info!

Icky Ray said...

Wow.. That's a lot of info you have pack in here.

jonwinters said...

nice pasting. maybe india should stop taking all of our jerbs and focus on their own prosperity.

Schla.mp3 said...

its important that we have these kind of future plans
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PvtCarlin said...

Good read mate!

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i like this kind of post, following!

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temptation said...

great facts. but only 16% from renewable sources in china...thats bad

What a wonderful world said...

I hope it will bring us a better future.

Ekrow said...

large text but very very interesting

Hydrax said...

Interesting stuff! looking forward to reading more


-Hydrax
http://dcuodaily.blogspot.com/

GregMitchell said...

WOW interesting read, Supporting and following.