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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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @03:10AM (#43522657)

    Clean energy is nothing but a scam invented by the liberals who hate America and want to destroy this country with fear mongering (ie global warming).

    It is a good thing that our enemy (China) is outpacing us in this budget-wasting regard! /s.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @03:18AM (#43522683)

      Clean energy is nothing but a scam invented by the liberals who hate America and want to destroy this country with fear mongering (ie global warming).

      It is a good thing that our enemy (China) is outpacing us in this budget-wasting regard! /s.

      Woah! [wikipedia.org]

      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @05:09AM (#43523035)

        Note the /s at the end of his post. It means "end of sarcasm".

        • by KGIII (973947)

          Ah but maybe he does know that it means sarcasm and they're a global warming skeptic?

          Poe's Law indeed...

      • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @06:01AM (#43523207) Journal

        China is over-polluted right now

        The air, the land, the water, all polluted

        They have no other choice but to go clean

        It is good that they go clean --- in that way at least they get to stay in China, or else, they might move to USA

        Can you imagine 1.3 Billion Chinese moving to the US of A?

        • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @06:30AM (#43523271)
          is it about 8-10% of US debt they own? They could just move in to a state and call it even.
          • by coinreturn (617535) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:00AM (#43523565)

            is it about 8-10% of US debt they own? They could just move in to a state and call it even.

            They can have Texas.

            • By and large, Texas' legendary racism virtually ensures the Chinese will keep migrating to sunny Cali, NY/NJ, Seattle, Chicago, and the Capitol....like many Asian immigrants, they seem to prefer the Blue States.
              • by jewens (993139)
                If you consider "not from Texas" a race then I suppose the average level in racism in Texas as compared to the other 49 states might be considered legendary, otherwise not so much.
    • Nice troll, albeit lacking in originality. You should have linked the "socialist" Obama and communist China as a vast left-wing conspiracy to destabilize traditional capitalist energy investments by inventing disruptive clean energy technologies. Or maybe if they avert a climate catastrophe, they'll wreck the vulture capitalists' plans to get rich off cleaning up the mess at public expense.

      Bonus points if you can work in an Elvis sighting or a reference to the Templars' origin as a Dacian sex cult, but si

    • by siddesu (698447)

      In many parts of the world "clean energy" is indeed a scam to siphon off government subsidies to selected enterprises. I look at my energy bills in several jurisdictions and I see a huge add-on for "green energy".

      One of the said jurisdictions is an Asian country, which, despite the massive "green bill", has been burning gas for the past two years exclusively as a tribute to the fuck-ups of its nuclear power sector.

      Another is a small country in Europe, where European and state subsidies and tax transfers h

      • Doing alternative energy right is hard, and people are stupid, which explains the results. Here in the USA, stupid Republicans bash every dumb Democratic attempt to go green with solar and wind subsidies. Unfortunately, the stupid Democrats totally f-ed up alternative energy funding in the stimulus bills. They paid us to install solar panels, whether it made financial sense or not. As a result, outdated solar panel manufacturing plants that need $3/watt to build a panel expanded their capacity, while co

    • 1) Become the #1 polluter in the world, perpetuating global warming.
      2) Become the largest Builder and Seller of inefficient Clean Energy products to the world.
      3) PROFIT!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_photovoltaics_companies [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wind_turbine_manufacturers [wikipedia.org]

      LOL!

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @03:20AM (#43522697)

    America is a corporate-driven economy, which needs results this quarter and the next. Any strategy that last for longer than 5 years is just not worth the investment.
    China is still partially a plan-driven economy, which does not need to have a result this quarter or the next. Pay back times can be longer.

    It is incredibly painful to an economy to move away from short term gains to longer term. At first, you only pay, and nothing comes back yet. But after a couple of years, you start to gain from this. Nobody in the USA seems willing to take that first step.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crutchy (1949900)

      "when you're hanging on by your fingernails you can't go waving your arms around" - virgil brigman

    • 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.

      • Yeah, that is what I meant with long-term development. The Chinese now just try out some ideas. Some will succeed, some will fail. But they try them out on such a massive scale that they will learn all there is to learn. And then they will sell the successes to us at a profit. When us Western people finally see the light, we will be buying Chinese scooters, with Chinese charging stations and Chinese battery packs. And if we decide to go for cars, we'll still be buying their charging stations and battery pac

        • by SimonInOz (579741) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:01AM (#43523569)

          To find out about them google "shanghai electric scooter" - that's what I did!

          An interesting link is
          http://www.scooteretta.com/v5.html [scooteretta.com]

          They really do look most impressive - and in the flesh, as it were, just as good. And they whine along quietly in a most satisfactory way.

          Just for your interest, Shanghai scooter riders never wear helmets, never turn their lights on, and hoot a lot. I suspect they have a lot of accidents - but such crashing light vehicles at relatively low speeds must be far less damaging, physically and financially, than crashing cars [especially into pedestrians], especially those horrible SUVs beloved of Americans and [not as much] Australians.

        • And that is both the natural evolution of a emerging economy and a *good thing*.

          Just look at what South Korea and Japan have contributed to the world by going through that process. And then times it by ten.

          The really interesting thing is that China will not really have anywhere to outsource to once it gets to expensive to hire their own people. So naturally they will have to turn to robots.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      That is what government grants/loans are supposed to be for. People bitch and moan because of a lot of the companies involved fail but that's the point. Invest in long term development of technologies that are either unprofitable or risky, so than 10 or 20 years down the line your country has them and isn't left behind because investors were too short sighted.

      • by khallow (566160)

        That is what government grants/loans are supposed to be for. People bitch and moan because of a lot of the companies involved fail but that's the point. Invest in long term development of technologies that are either unprofitable or risky, so than 10 or 20 years down the line your country has them and isn't left behind because investors were too short sighted.

        Well, given how short sighted government has been with these grants and loans, I think that will happen anyway. In fact, I think such economic adventurism encourages the short-sighted thinking that you are complaining of. I don't have to think about renewable energy because a number of governments are throwing tens of billions around. Some of it will stick. Surely.

        Nor is it worth it for me to try to compete with the businesses that picked up all this easy money. Either I'm connected enough to rake it in

    • by higuita (129722)

      Just pick the huge bonus, golden parachutes, stupid merge and acquisitions just to pump the stock, etc, etc and put in on real R&D (not patent waving) and engineering solutions and things might get better!

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Corporate Driven doesn't mean what you think it means (it used to be plan driven too...while being Corporate Driven at the same time...).

      You've got unscrupulous people trying to maximize shareseller (not shareholder) value. To do that, you'd have to worry only about next quarter.

  • China's energy needs -- in terms of year-over-year growth -- dwarf those of any other country. Their regulatory processes, for projects that the state deems necessary, can be incredibly streamlined. AND they've got money to spend. It's no surprise they're the hotspot for all kinds of energy investment -- clean and otherwise.
    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @04:42AM (#43522963)

      Whilst it might not be surprising to you or me, many people argue that there's not worth being more green as a nation because the Chinese won't follow. When in actual fact the boot is on the other foot. China is leading and America is lagging behind.

      And why would it be that it's not a "black eye" for the US? It's hardly the case that they are not spending money on creating ever more energy sources. It's just that not enough of them are green.

      • And why would it be that it's not a "black eye" for the US? It's hardly the case that they are not spending money on creating ever more energy sources. It's just that not enough of them are green.

        Fine. A "brown eye" then.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by budgenator (254554)

        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 BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:52AM (#43523881)

          At always you should take with a pinch of salt what you read on Global Warming Denier sites such as Watts Up With That. As always it's hard to work out whether Watts is just misinformed or lying.

          Watt points out that due to the global recession, the USA has lower emissons than 1997, the year of Kyoto. But the base year for reductions was 1990. And the USA hasn't managed that, even with the recession.

          Secondly Germany and many countries of Eastern Europe had beaten their targets already by 2008. And are even further ahead now.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Protocol [wikipedia.org]

          How many more time do people have to show that the denier sites are wrong before you stop believing what they say?

  • ... because right now they're leading in carbon emissions and unless it's changed recently, the RATE of emission growth is accelerating.

    It used to be the West that was fucking up the planet and now China has taken over that role. If they want to continue to grow without killing the rest of us then they have a hell of a lot of work to do.

    • by thephydes (727739) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @04:02AM (#43522827)
      WTF What gives you the right to complain about China if you live in USA or EU . Christ you've been fucking up the planet for decades - no centuries, and now you have the gall to complain about China. Where was all the work you did to avoid it? Oh yes that's right into the pockets of "Global Corporations" global rapists more like......... Geez I though I'd heard it all!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Tailhook (98486)

        What gives you the right to complain about China if you live in USA or EU

        That's right. China's per capita coal consumption is far less than typical Westerners, so until the Chinese have wrecked the environment at least as much as you have, for at least as long as you have, and a good deal worse and longer for good measure, then you need to shut your stupid fat face.

        • by KGIII (973947) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:21AM (#43523431) Journal

          That's right. China's per capita coal consumption is far less than typical Westerners, so until the Chinese have wrecked the environment at least as much as you have, for at least as long as you have, and a good deal worse and longer for good measure, then you need to shut your stupid fat face.

          You know that is illogical, right? Just because someone has done something wrong doesn't mean that they can't point out, complain, or attempt to stop another from doing the same thing. Even if they're still doing that same thing themselves it makes it no less wrong. It is hypocritical but the act is still wrong regardless of the source or history of the accuser.

          What is sad is that you're not the only one who presumes such. I'd hope that more people could think logically but most of my hopes seem to expect too much of people.

      • by xelah (176252)
        I think that blaming someone for the actions of others merely because he lives in the same geographical area where those others lived and died is a bit of a stretch. However, I do think it's next to impossible to come up with any morally defensible position that doesn't start with assuming everyone has a right to an equal share of the planet's pollution carrying capacity. That's a problem for industrialized countries (and most especially some individuals within them), and it'd be politically impossible for
      • Christ you've been fucking up the planet for decades - no centuries, and now you have the gall to complain about China.

        Ah ha! Bad move high-grounder, you exposed yourself as an immortal. Now that I've found you, and There Can Be Only One!

      • WTF
        What gives you the right to complain about China if you live in USA or EU . Christ you've been fucking up the planet for decades - no centuries, and now you have the gall to complain about China. Where was all the work you did to avoid it? Oh yes that's right into the pockets of "Global Corporations" global rapists more like......... Geez I though I'd heard it all!

        I'd prefer to think of it as "learning from our mistakes". And I think they will. But they still have mistakes of their own to make.

      • by dcw3 (649211)

        WTF gives you the right to complain about where anyone lives, and their position on the topic? Their place of residence doesn't make them personally responsible for their country. Now you have heard it all.

    • by crutchy (1949900) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @04:16AM (#43522859)

      actually per capita china is still doing pretty well

      in 2008, china produced 5.3 tonnes per capita of CO2, whereas the US produced 18.5 tonnes per capita

      if the US is telling china that it needs to clean up its act, it would definitely be a case of pot calling the kettle black

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita [wikipedia.org]

      • I don't really care about CO2 emissions. I care more about pollutants that will lead to early deaths and killing off everything living in a stream, river, or lake. China far outstrips the U.S. in the production of those.
      • by dasunt (249686) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @06:31AM (#43523275)

        in 2008, china produced 5.3 tonnes per capita of CO2, whereas the US produced 18.5 tonnes per capita

        It's PPP GDP per ton of CO2 is not as good though.

        The US produces $2,291 per ton of CO2, China produces $1,003 per ton of CO2 (international dollars used for dollar amounts).

        China is actually near the bottom. The US is not that ideal either (we're basically the same as Canada). Countries like Norway and Sweden are about 2.5x more productive per ton of CO2 than the US.

    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @04:54AM (#43522987)

      Only because they are by far the most populous country. You can only really judge based on per capita rates. China is 78th among countries with 5.3 metric tonnes CO2 per capita. The USA is 7th with 22.1.

      When you look at consumption, the USA comes out even worse. America consumes more per person than any other country. There are around 200 countries in the world, and the USA alone consumes about 25% of the energy.

      America is still the biggest offender in "fucking up the planet".

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Only if you measure CO2. If you measure the REAL pollutants, the ones that'll kill you outright along with other things...they're vastly ahead of us.

    • by X.25 (255792)

      It used to be the West that was fucking up the planet and now China has taken over that role. If they want to continue to grow without killing the rest of us then they have a hell of a lot of work to do.

      Maybe if the West hasn't outsourced whole fucking production of just about everything, to China, they'd still be fucking up the planet?

      Are you seriously accusing China of 'fucking up the planet'?

      • by dcw3 (649211)

        So, you're blaming China's emissions on the U.S.? I missed the part where outsourcing work also outsource pollution rules/laws. But, it all makes sense to me now.

  • Its clear Why they are leading in it.
    • That rather depends on whether the photo is of a city, where the minority of Chinese live, or the country where the majority live.

      In terms of consumption, China, and every other country on the planet, is well behind America.

      • by dcw3 (649211)

        So, are you saying that it's the consumer's fault? Most consumers don't give a rats ass how/where their products were produced, only that they come at the lowest price. That's not to say consumers shouldn't get educated on the topic. However, China is solely responsible for their own pollution, they have a government, and laws, and have chosen to prioritize money above the environment.

  • by foobsr (693224) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @04:06AM (#43522835) Homepage Journal
    Alone from what I pay for electricity it must be Germany, and the report gives further evidence.

    CC.

    • You're right. According to the report, the USA is second and used to be first, which is an absolute joke. It's simply biasing towards the most populous countries. Which also tend to have the most total emissions, for obvious reasons. In all these measures, they have to be per capita to have any meaning. And the words "per capita" don't even get a mention in the report.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        Well, quite. An equally accurate headline would be "China #1 for dirty energy production".
  • Subsidizing the deployment of "clean" energy technologies which are not economically viable is a waste of both time and money, at a time when humanity can afford neither. No amount of subsidies are going to make a dent in the global energy landscape; the requirements are simply too vast to be satisfied by expensive and diffuse energy sources like wind and solar in a timely manner.

    Nuclear, in the form of molten salt reactors, is the only proven technology which has even a of hope of meeting the economic and

  • If my understanding is correct -- and I don't pretend to be an expert on this -- the summary is pretty misleading. It's not that China is a white knight crusading for green energy. It's that China is doing EVERYTHING: Green, nuclear, coal, you name it.

    Googling around ("china coal plants") suggest that China is opening a new coal plant at a rate of one per WEEK. They built as many coal plants as exist in the entirety of Texas + Ohio **in 2011 alone**.

    (Also, let me state the obvious. In China, the government

    • Also, let me state the obvious. In China, the government has great power. It can use this power to accomplish big things. Some of these things are good. Many are bad. Use state media and censorship to give the population one side of story? Check.

      China's economic and political power structure is merely the reverse-polarity flow of the USA's, all of it biased by the Big Global Capital Dynamo. In China, government controls and enables companies; in the US, companies control and enable the government.

      Oh, that crap about Constitutions, Manifestos, and other political ideology? C'mon, mate. That's SO mid-20th Century. It's window dressing for the masses, nothing more.

      There is no "competition" with China, because there is no competition. Just internationa

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @06:49AM (#43523327) Journal

    Two points:
    1) command economies are good at big stuff. Has anyone ever said otherwise?
    2) Perhaps the main reason that clean energy isn't taking off in the US is because (at least for the moment) it's still largely a capitalistic society, and 'clean' energy is an entirely contrived, laterally-motivated concept (ie not driven by customer demand, but by tangential forces like a 'desire' for a clean environment contrived by the eco-lobby) whose existence relies almost entirely on government subsidy, regulatory 'sticks', and accounting sleight-of-hand?

    Face it, as much as eco-nuts 'demand' we be cleaner, and legislators 'believe' we should be cleaner, Joe Public *generally* is uninterested in paying 2x the price for power if it comes from 'clean' sources. Maybe if Joe lived in 1870 London where everything was covered in soot, or something, he'd be motivated to change his habits. But the fact is, the environment in the USA hasn't reached the sort of obtrusive levels of pollution like Love Canal or the burning Hudson River that DID spark such motivations a generation ago.

    Without motivation, consumers aren't typically really good at making 'commons' choices, because they're too consumed with affording things NOW to really be concerned about incremental impacts 20-50-100 years from now. No matter how much they're preached to.

  • by game kid (805301) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:05AM (#43523373) Homepage

    China is a wonderfully clean and healthy place, as long as you don't breathe [nytimes.com].

  • by Arakageeta (671142) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:19AM (#43523641)

    A capitalist economy partly guards against oversupply. However, oversupply has resulted directly from Chinese policies: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/business/global/glut-of-solar-panels-is-a-new-test-for-china.html [nytimes.com]

    Now both American and Chinese solar companies are failing. Further private investment in this oversupplied economy seems unwise; there is a distaste for subsidizing failed business models in the US (at least where green tech is concerned). Perhaps university research is the best alternative investment.

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