Ma Jun, Director of the Institute for Public Affairs and Environmental Affairs of the People's Republic of China at the annual meeting of the new champions in Tianjin, China 2012. By World Economic Forum in Cologne, Switzerland – Taken from file: Ma Jun – Annual meeting of the new champions 2012.jpg, original source Asia's digital age, CC BY-SA 2.0, link
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
No criticism for China? The Guardian praises China for removing pollution and attacking the US because President Trump left the Paris Agreement. But as is so often the case in China, the rosy picture painted by The Guardian and the Chinese government-approved “activist” source Ma Jun does not seem to match the reality of what actually happened.
Ma Jun: China has started to deal with the climate crisis
The US dropped the environmental ball under Trump, but Biden's victory means the two countries can work together to achieve a green recovery, the activist says.
Fri 13 Nov 2020 16.00 AEDT
Ma Jun experienced a strange role reversal during Donald Trump's presidency. For more than two decades as one of China's leading environmental activists, American encouragement from Beijing to cut carbon emissions and mitigate the damage caused by rapid industrialization had been part of the background music. Ma never thought that the US would fail to meet its environmental commitments as China began to rise to the challenge.
"It was frustrating," says Ma from the past four years when we talk on the phone. The hustle and bustle in Beijing can be heard in the background. "When it comes to ecological cooperation between governments, it has been difficult to do anything."
“China has started to change course. We saw a lot more "Walk the Walk" activities. China has taken some strict measures to solve the pollution and damage problem. And we've made some progress as a result, ”says Ma.
Many challenges remain undoubtedly. Environmental concerns include the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative that is likely to guarantee China's role at the heart of international trade for the next century. Parts of China's illegal wildlife trade center are driving species extinctions around the world. The current pandemic has only tightened controls.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/13/ma-jun-china-is-beginning-to-walk-the-walk-on-climate-crisis-action-aoe
Aside from a slap in the face for the Belt and Road initiative, the Guardian seems happy to equate pollution removal with climate action, at least when it comes to China.
But as is so often the case in China, the reality seems a little different than in Spin.
… Regardless of whether the idea is supported at a high political level or not, important players in the industry are pushing for a significantly increased limitation of coal power capacity.
The industry group of China's energy giants, the China Electricity Council, has argued that coal-fired capacity will reach 1,300 GW by 2030, up from 1,050 GW today. This goal is based on the forecasts for the annual electricity demand and the capacity demand to cover peak loads.
A cap of 1,300 GW in 2030 would mean well over 300 GW of new coal-fired power plants will be added in that decade after older plants are shut down.
The China Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute (EPPEI), the authoritative consultancy that has designed most of China's coal-fired power plants and grid infrastructures, warned in June 2019 that 16 provinces in the country should add new capacity and begin work on a new thermal batch Power plants to avoid the possibility of bottlenecks in the next two to three years.
The think tank affiliated with China's giant electric utility, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), emphasized the need to maintain coal-fired capacity during an intervention in July 2019:
“(China) shouldn't close large-scale coal-fired power plants too soon or too quickly, and until about 2030 we should maintain around 1,200 GW of coal power to keep the grid reliable, and key power-generating regions should keep some backup and reserve capacity. "
However, the think tank did not clearly define what "too early" or "too fast" would mean in practice. …
Read more: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-will-china-build-hundreds-of-new-coal-plants-in-the-2020s
There is no contradiction between China burning more coal while removing its air pollution – China is a world leader in building ultra-pure, high-efficiency coal-fired power plants. You've had a lot of practice building them lately.
There's also a lot of talk about how China's renewable push will crowd out other forms of power generation, but we've all seen how that has affected the West – even green Germany has started building coal-fired power plants again and clearing old forests and mines the coal under the trees.
If the legendary German engineers can't get renewable energies working, if the desperate German pursuit of grid stability and energy security has led the Germans to cut down a stock of trees that were built before the dawn of civilization to dig up the coal under the trees, what chance is there then? Does anyone else want to get renewable energies up and running?