China is America's favorite global warming whipping boy. It's reason number one that the USA didn't join Kyoto. And well, everyone knows, they're putting up a coal fired power plant every week over there! Heck.
So it might come as a surprise that there's another face to China's dirty energy profile -- and that face is clean. Cleaner, in fact, than the USA's clean energy profile. Well, I'll be!
Dip into on the Energy Foundation's web site, and you can get all the details. Here are some highlights:
Renewable energy mandates
- China's Renewable Energy Law, effective since February 2005, has set the world's most aggressive and legally binding target. By 2020, 15 percent of all energy is to come from wind, biomass, solar and hydropower energy, compared to its present 7 percent.
- China is to have 137 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power generation by then, plus vehicle fuels with at least 15 percent renewable energy content.
- Estimated total investment needs for realizing these target amounts to nearly U.S. $270 billion.
- The U.S. has yet to establish a national renewable energy platform. Congress is tussling over a two year extension to vital tax credits for clean energy companies, which if extended for a full decade, would cost $5 billion.
Fuel Economy Standards
- By 2008, average Chinese passenger vehicles will be required to meet a 36 miles per gallon (mpg) requirement.
- Currently U.S. passenger vehicles are meeting a 27.5 mpg standard, which must now rise to reach 35 mpg by 2020.
- China is also in the process of setting fuel economy standards for trucks and agricultural vehicles. These policies combined are going to reduce China's GHG emissions by 488 million tons of CO2 by 2030.
Closing Small, Inefficient Coal-Fired Power Plants
- In 2006, China announced plans to decommission hundreds of smaller, older coal-fired power plants.By the end of November 2007, China had closed 365 small plants with a total capacity of 11,000 megawatts, according to statistics from the National Development and Reform Commission.
These moves are turning China into an even fiercer global economic competitor. By 2009, it will be the #1 maker of wind turbines in the world.