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Towards a new energy economy

How would China fare if “carbon tariffs” were introduced in the rich world? Dou Guanyi and Jiang Gaoming argue such tariffs would be unfair, but government action in the Chinese countryside could plant the seeds of green renewal.

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Steven Chu, the United States energy secretary, has said that if other countries do not impose carbon dioxide emissions reductions, then the US would be open to introducing a carbon tariff – an import tax specifically imposed on energy-intensive products. If the US, the European Union and Japan, were to introduce such a tariff, China’s products would no longer have their low-cost advantage, and China would lose out economically to rich nations. This might appear fair for the sake of global competition, but in reality it would strangle China’s economic development. The size of the levy – and the consequences for Chinese development – would be the decision of rich nations. China would only be able to reduce its prices.

This would be unfair. Developed nations have polluted the environment and released carbon dioxide for two centuries, compared to China’s five decades of modernisation. Capital accumulation in the west was a dark period, from the Inclosure Acts, the plunder of the Americas and Africa, the slave trade and the exploitation of coolie labour, to the Opium Wars and the invasion of China by the Eight-Nation Alliance. History shows that the rich nations’ development was built on plunder. Now China is expected to fall in line with the environmental policies of the developed world.

China cannot support carbon tariffs or a carbon currency: no manufacturing nation in the process of industrialisation could. An American carbon tariff would be disastrous and would spark a trade war.

China should now increase domestic market demand to reduce the over-reliance on export markets, and put in place the new energy systems that the country urgently needs. China has two options for addressing the problem: a comprehensive reordering of domestic energy prices to increase the adoption of energy-saving and environmentally-friendly manufacturing methods; or the acquisition of cheap raw materials from overseas to act as a hidden subsidy for our leading manufacturers.

Over the past three decades, Special Economic Zones have been established to trigger and pioneer economic development. But to date, these zones have all been “high-carbon economic zones”; China does not yet have any real “low-carbon economic zones”. There is no time to waste in pushing forward this low-carbon development. The example of clean-energy vehicles, presented below, is one way that China can face the challenge.

China produced 1,000 megawatts of solar photovoltaic cells in 2007, more than any other country. But the industry’s reliance on overseas markets, both for sales and the acquisition of raw materials, mean there is no real domestic market for solar power. Nine-tenths of the solar photovoltaic sector relies on overseas markets; the global financial crisis has therefore dealt the industry a heavy blow.

At the same time, rural China has 20 million agricultural vehicles and tractors, and 40 million motorcycles, far higher than the numbers in urban areas. These “five small vehicles”: lorries, tractors, diesel-powered three-wheelers, small trucks and motorcycles, are all heavy polluters. The most effective way to break the carbon stranglehold would be to develop solar energy plants to power electric replacements for these fossil-fuel-burning vehicles.

This year the Chinese government has allocated five billion yuan (US$732 million) in subsidies for rural residents to discard their three-wheelers and low-powered trucks, in favour of light trucks or passenger vehicles with engines of 1.3-litres or smaller. But true popularisation of vehicles in rural areas will only start when they are an agricultural necessity, rather than a luxury. Light electric-powered vehicles have taken off in China; 50 million are on the roads today. A huge industry has been created in only 10 years. This can be the foundation for an electric vehicle manufacturing sector, producing vehicles costing 20,000 yuan (US$2,927) that can reach speeds of 50 kilometres per hour, which weigh less than 500 kilograms and use 10 kWh (five yuan) of electricity to travel 100 kilometres.

Vehicle-related industries employ 17% of China’s workforce. Strong growth in electric vehicles will spur domestic market demand and job creation; it is thus a crucial way to help China come out from the global financial crisis into the lead. China’s ministry of science and technology plans to have 10% of the country’s vehicle output powered by new energy in the next four to five years. Policy support for replacing agricultural vehicles with a new generation of transport will increase sales and spur the domestic market. Replacing 10 million agricultural vehicles with green vehicles that can be used in both rural and urban settings could provide 20 million jobs and create 200 billion yuan (US$29 billion) in spending.

Currently, China’s electric vehicles run on coal-fired electricity, and electric vehicles charged with coal power are even larger sources of carbon emissions than traditional vehicles. According to the EU’s Joint Research Centre, running electric vehicles on coal power would result in double the greenhouse-gas emissions of petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles. China’s ministry of finance currently plans to invest 20 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion) in manufacturing one million electric vehicles by 2010, but today these would be high-carbon “coal-powered” vehicles. Not only are solar and wind power clean forms of power, but also wind farms can provide large amounts of surplus electricity overnight, which is suitable for charging electric vehicles. The key to the large-scale use of electric vehicles – and the development of a low-carbon economy – is the use of wind and solar power to replace coal-powered electricity generation.  

The Obama administration’s US$787 billion stimulus package includes investment in smart power grids, more efficient vehicles, wind and solar power. This recognises the potential in a new energy economy to end economic decline, create employment and take the lead in strategically-important industries of the future. Meanwhile, the most important matter for China is the countryside: using rural demand to drive the economy, instead of American consumers. The first task in the development of electric vehicles is to replace dangerous and polluting agricultural vehicles with green electric equivalents. Congestion in many cities means that electric bikes can be banned. Urban residents may be able to afford a 20,000-yuan electric car, but not every household has somewhere to charge it. Thus the main market for low-end electric vehicles will be in the rural areas, not the cities.

The Chinese government actively promotes vehicle use in rural areas. A preferential policy for the replacement of agricultural vehicles with electric equivalents, powered by the sun, would have a revolutionary impact on China’s vehicle sector. Market size would increase and there would be major changes in the direction of growth, product structure, sales network and capital structure. Moreover, there would be a huge increases in sales, a boost to the domestic vehicle market and an effective solution to our carbon emissions.


Dou Guanyi is head of Publicity at the Nantong branch of the Jiusan Society.

Jiang Gaoming is
a professor and Ph.D. tutor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Botany. He is also vice secretary-general of China Society of Biological Conservation and board member of China Environmental Culture Promotion Association. He is known for his concepts of "urban vegetation" and allowing damaged ecosystems to recover naturally.

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Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

关税制度

当然,关税将是不公平的。但实话说,我看不到美国政府将在近期实施这样的制度。美中经济如此相互依赖,因此破坏与中国的友好关系无异于自杀。因此,我们只希望两国能利用这种相互依赖的关系来进行合作,共同开发低碳技术。

tariffs

Tariffs would, of course, be unfair. But in truth I cannot see any US administration introducing them in the near future. It would be suicidal to destroy Chinese goodwill given how interdependent the American and Chinese economies are.

Instead we can only hope that together they take advantage of interdependence to cooperate on development of low-carbon technologies.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

关于轻型电动车的一点质疑

轻型电动车产业是否就是真正的绿色产业呢?是否有数据或模型论证过这样的产业发展对于资源、环境的影响?是否是从整个产业链考虑的,不能仅仅从电动车不排放二氧化碳来考虑。因为在汽车的生产、流通一系列过程中,涉及大量的装卸、搬运以及长距离运输活动,这些活动所消耗的能源是否纳入考虑范围?另外,汽车的报废和回收问题是否纳入考虑范围?轻型电动车=新能源经济?

Calling into question light-duty electric vehicles

Can the manufacturing and spread of light-duty electric vehicles really be considered as a new type of green industry? Has not data already extensively demonstrated the detrimental effects this industry has on our resources and environment? When considering electric vehicles as possible replacements for their heavy polluting, fossil-fuel-burning counterparts we should not just look at the fact that the vehicles themselves do not produce carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, we should take electric vehicles' entire production and supply chains into consideration. The assembling, handling and transporting of these vehicles also eats away at our already limited natural resources. The fact that electric vehicles require demolishing and recycling should also be kept in mind when thinking about them as greener solutions to our transportation needs. Does promoting the diffusion of light-duty electric vehicles really amount to taking a step closer to a new green economy?
Translated by Vanessa Liberson

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

到底哪个排放更多

上面提到的"用煤电的新能源汽车,是比“高碳”的燃油汽车高一倍的“高高碳”汽车。",不知道哪里有相关数据没有,到底同样行驶一百公里的电动车和燃油汽车哪个排放的二氧化碳更多(在把电力消耗都算在煤电的情况下)。一直想晓得此类数据,都没找到过。
Liu Guo

Which kind of vehicle produces higher carbon emissions?

The above-quoted "Running electric vehicles on coal power would result in double the greenhouse gas emissions of petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles.
Does the author have any data to back up this conclusion? Where is the relevant data available for the greenhouse gas emissions of electric vehicles and fuel-powered vehicles for 100km’s travel respectively (calculating the electricity consumption of electric vehicles in terms of coal-generated electricity? I have been looking for such data, but haven't found it so far. – Liu Guo
(translated by Yang Bin)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

城乡统筹科学发展新能源

窦观一:城乡统筹科学发展新能源

1、目前我国风电推进很快,但发展新能源,千万不要忘记农村。风力发电需要大量的土地,而沼气池、种植和养殖场可以建在风电场的地下和周边。建设“风力+沼气”电站,既节约土地和电力设施,又可以减少投资,达到“新能源工业反哺农业”,城市支持农村的效果。
3、电动车蓄电池组完全占据了后排空间,价格也是普通汽车的2.5倍。50升一箱汽油可驱动小型轿车轻松跑上600公里;而电动车电池组起码一两吨重,且工作时产生的高温足以把乘客烤糊。因此提供一次充电可续航600公里4倍于电动车的“倍增车”迫在眉睫。
4、大规模采用电动汽车还面临一个电池回收的问题。每一辆电动汽车需要消耗15公斤锂,替代燃油汽车每年消耗100万吨锂。而2007年全世界锂产量仅2.5万吨。
5、焚烧秸秆是长期得不到解决的“老大难”问题。联合国粮农组织报告说:“导致全球环境恶化的最主要因素有二至三个,家畜是其中之一”。10.5亿头牛排放的二氧化碳占全球总量的18%,污染程度甚于汽车尾气。如利用3亿吨秸秆制造“减少牛羊废气排放的饲料”(菊芋、甜高梁)可减排温室气体,节约粮食0.5~1.2亿吨,相当于增加0.5~1.2亿亩“吨粮田”。
6、我国每年的畜禽粪便约30亿吨,是农村主要的污染源,若在风电场下种植菊芋、甜高梁等能源作物和养殖场开发沼气,取代液化气,让风电场的荒地变成“天然气矿”“生物燃料”和“有机肥厂”,可替代燃煤发电和汽车用油。
7、由于大量施用化肥,加速排放了二氧化碳和甲烷。单一施用化肥的地块,排放的甲烷是化肥配施猪粪地块的3倍,是不施肥地块的27倍。沼气和养殖场可以在风电场和瘠薄的地方做,且大量沼渣替代化肥,不但减排了温室气体,还将国家大量的中低产田提升。
9、2003年,美国在芝加哥“气候交易所”挂牌营业。奥克兰市和交易所有权向那些守信用的其他入盟企业出售排放权,并将获取的收入作为抑制公害的奖励和报酬。若入盟企业不守信用,则二氧化碳每超标排放1吨,就必须向交易所支付3.5美元排放权购买金。借鉴“气候交易所”经验,以“风力+沼气”电站和沼渣代化肥村,及“危旧房和农宅”太阳能与保温改造为突破口,尽快让秸秆、畜禽粪便、有机肥、危旧房屋和农宅等高耗能房的“碳排放信用”成为一种“货币”,建立“碳货币交易示范点和特区”与美国的奥克兰市等,结为“碳减排友好”城市。

投资少见效快的城乡统筹项目:

1、“风能+沼气”电站
2、“倍增充电”电动汽车 (见附件:专利说明书)
3、温室气体减排秸秆饲料(见附件:专利说明书)
4、沼渣代化肥示范村
5、废旧电池再生填埋厂
6、太阳能热水器和纤维或废渣建材节能保温房屋和新村
7、碳货币交易示范点
8、中美结对“碳减排”友好城市

(九三学社南通市委 窦观一 2009年6月11日 电话85169893)

Plan new energry development scientifically in urban and rural areas as a whole

Dou Guanyi: plan new energry development scientifically in urban and rural areas as a whole

1. The wind power sector is expanding rapidly in China, but the rural areas should be embraced in the new energy development. Wind power generation occupies a lot of land, in which biomass pool and plantation can be established at the same time near or beneath the power station. “Wind power and biomass” stations can exert an effect that new energy industry nurtures agriculture and city supports rural areas, which saves not only the land and power facility, but also the investment of capital.
3. The storage battery device totally takes up the room of back seat in the electric motor car, and the price cost as mush as 2.5 times as the common automobile. Small cars can run more than 600kms on 50 liters gas; while the storage battery device of the electrical motor car weighs at least 1 to 2 tons, and produces so much heat that almost burns the passengers. So it is urgent to manufacture the multiplication electric car that will drive 600 kms every charge which is 4 times more than a normal electrical car.
4. In the mass promotion of electrical car, another problem is the battery recycling. Every electrical car consumes 15kgs lithium, and every year the alternative fuels automobile eats up 1 million tons of lithium. However, in 2007, the world output of lithium was 2.5 million tons.
5. The straw incineration has been a "big headache" for long time. FAO reported that "There are two to three factors polluting the global environment, and cattle is one of major factors.” The CO2 emitted by 1.05 billion cows is up to 18% of global CO2 emissions. Such pollution is higher than the emissions coming from exhaust fumes. If we use 0.3 billion tons of straw to produce fodder that reduces the cattle fume emission, (topinambur, sweet sorghum), greenhouse gases will consequently decrease, and save 0.5~1.2 tons of food, which is equal to add grain land.
6. Each year in China animals produce 3 billion tons of manure, which is a major pollution source in rural areas. If we grow energy plants such as topinambur and sweet sorghum next to wind power station, and generate methane in farm to replace the liquid gas, the wasteland of wind power station will turn into “natural gas mine”, “biofuel” and “ organic fertilizer plant”, and take the place of coal fired power generation and automotive gas oil.
7. Owing to the excessive application of fertilizer, CO2 and CH4 emission are accelerated dramatically. The land which uses fertilizer exclusively emits CH4 three times more than those blending the fertilizer with pig manure, and seven times more than those using no fertilizer at all. Biomass pools and plantations can be built around the wind station and barren land. Huge amounts of the waste of methane can be used to replace chemical fertilizer. This not only lessen the greenhouse gas, but also improve output of low to medium crop land.
9. The Chicago Climate Exchange opened in US in 2003. Oakland city and the Chicago Climate Exchange promoted the emission rights to those member enterprises with good credit and took the revenue as bonus and reward of pollution abatement. If a member broke its promises, it had to pay $3.5 emission cost per ton of CO2. As for China, we should learn from the experience of the Chicago Climate Exchange, and launch “wind power and methane” power stations, the methane pool waste replacement of fertilizer and solar energy application upon old farmhouses. We should transform the “carbon emission credit” of straw, cattle waste, organic fertilizer and dangerous farmhouses which consume too much energy into a kind of “currency” as soon as possible, set “the demonstration destinations and special regions of carbon currency trading” and establish relationship with Oakland city in US as "carbon-reduction cities".

Effective projects to be enacted in cities and rural areas that require little investment:

1. “Wind power and methane” power station
2. The multiplication electric car (see the attached file: Patent Specification )
3. The fodder that reduce the cattle fume emission (see the attached file: Patent Specification )
4. The demonstration destinations using methane waste as fertilizer to replace chemical one.
5. The recycling and landfill plan of used batteries
6. The promotion of the solar heater, fiber or residue materials to establish energy saving houses and villages
7. The establishment of the demonstration destinations of carbon trading
8. Establishing relationships with US cities as "carbon-reduction cities".

By Dou Guanyi, from Jiusan association and municipal party committee of Nantong city, 2009.6.11, Tel: 85169893
Translated by Tian Liang

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

wxai

蒋先生四处出击啊,什么都很专业。

wxai

Mr.Jiang, the author, is really omnipresent, I can read your article almost anywhere. Plus, these articles, whatever the topic, are really professional.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

碳税而不是碳关税

我认为应该是碳税,而不是碳关税。但是征收标准确实很难制定

Carbon tax, not carbon tariff

In my opinion, it should be carbon tax rather than carbon tariff. Yet, it is difficult to formulate the collection standards.