The Weekender

No, the Other China Syndrome

The China Syndrome

Not to suggest that the problems of nuclear power have been solved, but for the last couple of weeks the MSM have been focusing on the “other” China syndrome — the one that involves solar energy, not nukes.

Writing for the NYT, Keith Bradsher summed up the issue neatly in his opening paragraph.

WUXI, China — President Obama wants to make the United States “the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy,” but in his seven months in office, it is China that has stepped on the gas in an effort to become the dominant player in green energy — especially in solar power, and even in the United States.

Wait a minute, if China is going all out for solar, why do opponents of any climate change bill invariably cite China’s giant CO2-belching economy as a justification for their opposition?

Is China really going green? Or is it still ramping up its emissions of greenhouse gases?

Yes, and yes, writes Christina Larson in a Boston Globe op/ed.

“China,” according to Larson, “may soon have the odd distinction of being the world’s leader in alternative energy — and industrial pollution.”

The Chinese government is investing ten times as much money into alternative energy as is the US  (as a percentage of GDP). But, Larson points out, the Chinese are far more concerned about achieving market domination than they are about cleaning up their environment. At least in the short term. For the last four years, China has doubled its wind power capacity annually, which will have long term environmental benefits. But government enforcement of anti-pollution laws and regulations is lax, lest it interfere with profits.

According to today’s Business Wire, the Chinese solar manufacturer, Suntech, has been selling PV panels on the US market at a loss, in an effort to drive out competitors.

So, what should the US do?

Essentially, says Jennifer Schwab, we need to beat the Chinese at their own game.

Schwab, who directs the sustainability program at Sierra Club Green Home, wrote in HuffPo last week that the US should steer more stimulus money toward our own nascent solar power manufacturing industry.

While Schwab says she “generally support(s) free markets,” this isn’t the time for ideological purity. “It is mission critical that America be the worldwide leader in renewable energy and green jobs.”

And, while we’re discussing movies…

Take a look at this one, made by Greenpeace, about President Obama’s paternal grandmother and the new solar panels on the roof of her previously non-electric house. Enjoy, and have a good weekend and Labor Day.

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