Sunday, March 08, 2009

China May Be Incapable of Lowering Carbon Dioxide Emissions

For those getting optimistic that with a new carbon-cutting U.S. administration in place there is good reason to believe that the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide my soon be dropping to levels that can combat global warming a reality check comes in the form research results from Dabo Guan from the University of Cambridge and colleagues from the U.S. and Norway who have concluded that China, which contributes about one fourth of all greenhouse gas emissions today, may not have the capability to cut emissions during the next two decades. An article posted on Spiegel Online says that these scientists have concluded that even with substantial use of energy efficiency measures and the latest energy technology carbon dioxide emissions for China will increase by 80% from 2002 levels by 2030. This is based on a projection that demand for electricity would triple in China as more roads and airports are built and the Western lifestyle with all of its electrical appliances and electronic gadgets continues to spread. It was assumed that the Chinese would use coal sequestration and storage for every new coal plant and that this technology would actually work, which is far from proven. It was also assumed unrealistically that by 2030 China would get 40% of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind and hydro; no country has achieved that yet. Is there any hope? Guan’s advice is that the Chinese should not follow the typical energy-intensive lifestyles of people in the West. Unfortunately, it is very hard to imagine that advice being followed.

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