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China Earth Power

China Leads in "Clean" Energy Investment 313

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the for-some-definitions dept.
derekmead writes "According to a new study (PDF) from Pew Charitable Trusts, China was the world leader in clean energy investment in 2012. The U.S., meanwhile, saw its grip loosen on many of the clean energy technologies it developed. According to the research, total clean energy investment totaled $269 billion worldwide last year, a decline from 2011's record high of $302 billion. However, clean energy investment in the Asia and Oceania markets grew by 16 percent to $101 billion. In terms of investment — which is an indicator that a country or region has offered compelling projects, struck a good regulatory balance, and has a strong economy — that makes Asia the epicenter of the global clean energy market. The Pew researchers thus labeled the U.S. clean energy sector as 'underperforming,' largely for a trio of reasons. First, China's boom and manufacturing prowess has taken investment away from the U.S.. Second, the U.S. regulatory environment for clean energy is horrifically unstable (as is the regulatory environment as a whole) as politicians battle over budget rhetoric. Finally, the U.S. has failed to capitalize on its innovation prowess and develop its clean energy manufacturing sector to its full potential." They do not count nuclear as clean, but including nuclear would only widen China's lead over everyone else (they almost have their first new AP1000 ready and are building lots more).
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China Leads in "Clean" Energy Investment

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  • by SimonInOz (579741) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:16AM (#43523405)

    I just came back from China - Shanghai, actually. It's a city of 23 million people (more than Australia's entire population). It has many roads, full of - wait for it - electric scooters. Not those boring little ones, no these are full-on Vespa-like, two person carrying scooters. I would guess they carry half the city's traffic, in people-kms.
    They have 400 watts, a top speed around 40kmh, and a range of about 40km. And they are pretty cheap. From 2400 YMB (=$400) these are real bargains. And they look pretty good.

    So a Chinese city has moved half its transport to electricity. And nobody has said a word. Amazing.

    These scooters looked pretty good to me - I'd buy one without question at that price. But they are banned here (Australia), and many other places. You are allowed up to 250 watts. Above that the regulations get all nasty. Registration, helmets, licenses, etc. So much so that you cannot buy such a thing, just a few rather expensive electric bikes.

    For sure they are charged from the mains, sourced from coal fired generating plants - but that is surely far, far more efficient than the nasty engines normal scooters have, and use far less energy. I imagine they are way ahead, carbon-wise.

    Maybe we should take a few lessons from the Chinese.

  • by budgenator (254554) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:26AM (#43523679) Journal

    The US is probably the only nation that has met the Koyoto Treaty goals, and that is without being a signatory!

  • by gtall (79522) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:43AM (#43523797)

    Yes, but it wasn't anything the U.S. planned. It occurred for two main reasons: (1) the Great Recession, (2) discovery and use of massive natural gas. The first was a result of many factors, government was one is several ways, but the government didn't plan to tank the economy. The natural gas was mostly private companies that got really good at finding and exploiting new reserves...regardless of what it did to the environment or what the environmental impact of putting all those chemicals underground to frack the shale formations will be.

  • by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:47AM (#43523825) Homepage Journal

    Thank you for recognizing that central planning can exist at the "corporate level" as well as the "government level". Too many so-called free-market capitalists only recognize the latter and fail to see the former.

    IMHO the best feature of the free market is that it harnesses the sheer chaos of many players working in an un-coordinated fashion. A better (not necessarily the best, at least not right away) solution is likely to emerge from somewhere in that mess.

    I'll see your heresy and raise you one... Profit is not a feature of free-market capitalistic economy, it's a necessary evil.

    If you look at a market economy as transferring goods from producers to consumers efficiently, profit is an inefficiency. It's a necessary inefficiency, because it gives people the incentive to facilitate that transfer, (and to produce, for that matter) but it's still an inefficiency.

    Today's "record corporate profits" are really a danger sign. One aspect of the free market is that whenever there are high profits, there should ALWAYS be an opportunity for another player to enter the market, willing to accept lower profits, improving the flow of goods from producer to consumer. That we have sustained high profits indicates that there are barriers to entry that are not being overcome. Sometimes the barriers are "natural", such as the cost of a semiconductor fabricator, and sometimes they're not, such as market effects or IP law.

    Even more heretical...

    People talk about government spending being a sap on the economy, but when you look at it, the government is spending all of that money, so it's really almost all going back into the economy - it's not being taken away. When corporate profits are used to invest in growth, production, etc, that is also not removing money from the economy. But today's record corporate profits aren't being reinvested, they're being stuffed in the mattresses - frequently offshore. In that respect, corporate profits are worse for the economy than taxes, because they really are removing money from the economy. (not just spending the money on something the taxee doesn't like)

  • by jewens (993139) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:48AM (#43523839)
    I believe the idea that being a liberal equates with having an open mind was formally disproven shortly after we were told disagreeing with President Obama is prima facie evidence of being a racist.
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @09:10AM (#43524009)

    No myth there. Simple fact. Conservative, by definition, means NOT having an open mind. It means "wanting to conserve the status quo" - which is ipso facto a closed-minded approach.

    Well, when you get to make up your own definitions, I suppose it does mean whatever it is you want it to mean at that exact moment.

  • by Evtim (1022085) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @09:37AM (#43524179)

    My goverment takes 45% of my wages in taxes and I still can support whole family with one job + supproting old mother (widow) in former communist state. That is how we do things in Europe...

  • by HungWeiLo (250320) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:53AM (#43525659)
    Looks like Texans are the big leechers:

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-08-20/business/35270608_1_job-growth-rick-perry-public-sector-jobs [washingtonpost.com]

    "Between December 2007 and [June 2011], private-sector employment in Texas declined by 0.6 percent while public-sector jobs increased by 6.4 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, government employees account for about one-sixth of the workforce in Texas."

    Pulling up by the bootstraps, my foot.
  • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @01:14PM (#43526801) Journal

    I've got mod points to mod you up, but I'd rather reply... My wife and I both made record salaries last year, and we sold a lot of stock that we'd earned in the past. We finally made it into the category of people Obama wanted to tax more heavily. Our total tax rate was lower than I've ever had before: 14% federal, and 4% state. We usually pay 25% federal, and 6% state. I didn't even pay Social Security taxes after the first $110K. At the same time, the US government borrowed about $11K per family of four like mine. If your family of four bought fewer than $11K in US bonds last year, then you are below average, and the future interest on the debt will make it harder for you to succeed.

    If you want to get ahead, it's pretty hard to do while working for someone else. Starting your own business can make you money and create jobs America needs. If you quit your job, here's what the system has in store for you:

    1) Forget health insurance. Until Obamacare kicks into high gear, you literally risk your life to start a business.
    2) You think that 7% Social Security is high? Just wait until you have to pay 14% "self employment" tax.
    3) If you hire several workers, and then your business fails like what happened to my wife's company in 2009, all your workers get unemployment benefits. Guess what you get? Nothing. If you can't find a job, and have spent all your money on your failed business, you get to go hungry.

    The system is set up to make it easy to stay rich and get richer if you are rich. The biggest threat to your wealth may be some hard working kid who wants to build a new company that will kill yours. Never fear, the government is here! That kid will get put down hard.

    Now, having said all that, I was one of those punk kids who started a company and made a bit of money. You don't need to start the next Facebook or Google, you just need enough to get into the upper middle class. It's definitely worth doing, but it sure isn't easy. You'll fight the "system" the entire way, and neither Democrats nor Republicans have any realistic plan or even incentive to make your life any easier. You'll have to succeed in spite of the system. If you do, maybe you too can enjoy low taxes.

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