The Green Book
Where the Wild Things Were
How Conservation Efforts are Faltering
The Globalization of Animal Welfare
More Food Does Not Require More Suffering
Africa’s Anti-Poaching Problem
How Wildlife Trade Bans Are Failing the Continent's Animals
How Technology Is Transforming Conservation
Animal Rights, Animal Wrongs
The Case for Nonhuman Personhood
The Day the Earth Ran Out
The Causes and Consequences of Earth Overshoot Day
Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now
The Club of Rome’s Problem—and Ours
Is Growth Good?
Resources, Development, and the Future of the Planet
No Wars for Water
Why Climate Change Has Not Led to Conflict
The Devolution of the Seas
The Consequences of Oceanic Destruction
How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry
Farming Qat, Wasting Water
Suicide By Drought
How China is Destroying Its Own Water Supply
A Light in the Forest
Brazil's Fight to Save the Amazon and Climate-Change Diplomacy
The Reincarnation Machine
From Cars to Skyscrapers, Indiana to Shandong
The Great Leap Backward?
Pollution Without Revolution
Why China's Environmental Crisis Won't Bring Down the Regime
Harder to Breathe
India's Pollution Crisis—And What To Do About It
Why We Still Need Nuclear Power
Making Clean Energy Safe and Affordable
Tough Love for Renewable Energy
Making Wind and Solar Power Affordable
Cleaning Up Coal
From Climate Culprit to Solution
Don't Just Drill, Baby -- Drill Carefully
How to Make Fracking Safer for the Environment
How Chinese Innovation is Changing Green Technology
Beijing's Big Gamble on Renewables
The First Cold War
The Environmental Lessons of the Little Ice Age
The Geoengineering Option
A Last Resort Against Global Warming?
The Truth About Geoengineering
Science Fiction and Science Fact
The Climate Threat We Can Beat
What It Is and How to Deal With It
How Big Business Can Save the Climate
Multinational Corporations Can Succeed Where Governments Have Failed
For energy enthusiasts, China has become the main event. The country uses more energy and emits more greenhouse gas than any other on earth. Its production of power is booming, too. Every year, China generates nearly 100,000 megawatts more than the previous year -- more than the total generated by California or Texas. The scale of the accompanying infrastructure change is staggering: every week, a new large coal plant opens somewhere in China. This has led to widespread pollution, health problems, and environmental degradation -- to the cost to the Chinese economy of about 11 percent of GDP.
But this is not the same old cautionary tale of dirty development: China has taken these challenges, and the need for energy and 20 million new jobs per year, as an spur to invest in clean technology. Indeed, with the government putting over $50 billion into clean energy R&D every year, China has become a global hub for energy innovation.
The country's progress is driven by a combination of government mandate and direct investment. Examples are many. A 2007 law required four percent gains in energy efficiency each year through 2012, including in the transportation and industrial sectors. Since then, total efficiency in the power sector has increased by nearly ten percent and is likely to continue rising. Such mandates have been matched by requirements for sulfur emissions control and cleaner water, the closure of many low-efficiency coal mines and cement plants, and new investment in solar, wind, and other renewable power.
To all this, China's twelfth five-year-plan, introduced earlier this year, added goals for developing clean technology indigenously. Mostly these innovations will be for domestic use, although there is growing interest in international export markets for clean tech. Many state-funded projects now require that 80 percent of the technology used be indigenous. Two agencies are responsible for overseeing compliance. First is the National Energy Administration (NEA), which approves the financing and construction of virtually every large energy project. Second, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) runs the
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