On the same day that Senate Republicans filibustered a vote for renewable energy in the USA, by contrast – China has just published an astoundingly ambitious and exciting renewable energy plan for the next ten years.
China’s plan is to get a total of 500 Gigawatts of renewable energy on the grid by 2020. It explodes wind power from a mere 25 GW on the grid now, to a staggering 150 GW, a six-fold increase on the previous already ambitious plan.
Liquid fuels would get a boost. The plan would grow ethanol production from 2 million tons to 10 million tons, to expand biodiesel from 0.05 million tons to 2 million tons, biomass pellets for heating, from under a million tons to 50 million tons, and biogas and biomass gasification from 8 billion cubic meters to 44 billion cubic meters.
China is already the world leader in solar thermal hot water heaters for rooftops. The solar hot water goal is to have 300 million square meters of solar hot water collectors, up from 100 million in 2006.
Electric power would come from adding 100 GW to make 300 GW of hydro power, adding 125 GW to have 150 GW of wind power, adding 28 GW to have 30 GW of biopower, and going from a half Gigawatt to 20 GW of solar. Giant steps.
To put that in perspective: the US will have added 16 GW of all renewable energy combined once the Obama administration Recovery Act funds are allocated – which, while a fabulous change for us, because it doubles the entire last thirty years of renewables on the grid – pales by comparison with 500 GW.
And even that 16 GW is only if the last of the Recovery Funds can be protected from our loyal opposition. That doesn’t look likely. The GOP filibustered a vote to extend Recovery Act support for renewable energy.
China has no filibuster. I never thought I would live to see the advantages of a political process other than democracy, but living in one that seems to have devolved into a plutocracy (run for and by the fossil fuel industry, the richest industry on the planet) is changing my mind.
There actually are some big advantages with one-party rule. Clarity of purpose is one. Having a domestic enemy, sworn to make your side lose, at any cost to the country, is not helping America compete in creating the new clean energy economy. Because they don’t have an opposition party filibuster in China, their climate plan can actually be implemented.
But… wipe those tears away. Think globally.
If there is one country we climate hawks should be happy is not run like America, it is China. Because China is the world’s factory. And carbon emissions from the world’s factory are about to get lower. And that is a good thing.