Forums

Will China and Elon Save Humanity?

Will China and Elon Save Humanity?

Will China and Elon save the world from the the worst of global climate change?
China has lowered the price of solar panels to 36 cents per watt and Elon
will make electric vehicles popular shortly. By 2020 solar panels will be 20
cents a watt, making solar power generation very affordable and the Model 3
will change the way the world that EV's are the future. Additionally the
giga battery factory will be storage for renewables more feasible. Will this
be enough to limit the release of CO2 in the atmosphere?

lilbean | 28 december 2016

No.

Al1 | 28 december 2016

Has humanity asked to be saved?

SCCRENDO | 28 december 2016

I think China is trying and the world understands climate change. So I would say that China and Elon among others will be able to save humanity. Trump is certainly no friend of the environment. However I think we will succeed despite Trump and his cronies.

@Ai1. Humanity wants to be saved. Those who refuse to save humanity could be considered inhumane.

lilbean | 28 december 2016

It's hard to believe China cares about the environment. The pollution is so bad, it's hard to find the sun. It's truly disgusting.

SCCRENDO | 28 december 2016

@lilbean. They do care. The task is difficult. It would have been nice to have a new president who would cooperate with China, particularly as regards the environment

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/world/asia/china-air-pollution-ma-jun....

lilbean | 28 december 2016

I hope you're right. Whe I was in China, I saw people just dumping their trash down their hillsides like it was nothing. So heartbreaking to see the disrespect for the environment there.

KP in NPT | 28 december 2016

@lilbean they have finally started to address the problem. Its becoming such a health issue and the people are demanding it, firstly. Plus their government can force businesses to do things our government won't do. they have more EVs on the road than anywhere else (big country, but still...) and they close factories when it gets really bad. They are starting to switch from coal - but it's still an issue that many homes burn coal for heat which makes things worse in the winter. That's what I was told by locals when I was there, anyway.

Not saying they are perfect by any means. but I do think they are starting to address their problems. More aggressively than our new administration will, that's for sure. I don't think they are as worried about forcing businesses to clean up even if it's financially detrimental. maybe they subsidize it. I don't know.

lilbean | 28 december 2016

Thanks for the info. :) I didn't know that.

risingsun | 28 december 2016

@SCCRENDO great comments!!!

KP in NPT | 28 december 2016

@lilbean regarding the trash - that is a problem! We went on a raft ride down a river in Yangshuo - it was incredible scenery ruined by all the water bottles and other garbage floating in the river. I asked the dude steering our raft why they do that - do they enjoy looking at trash in the river? (I mean, besides the environmental impact!) He just shrugged.

At picnic tables at every major site we went to, the entire area was like a dump. People would just leave their trash and walk away. Why would anyone want to even look at it? Much less go eat where people have left their trash spilling from the table to the ground? So odd. Definitely different cultures....

lilbean | 28 december 2016

Yep! That's why it's hard to convince me that they care, after seeing that. We did the Yangtze river cruise. I saw lots of areas destroyed by disrespect for the earth.

KP in NPT | 28 december 2016

Yeah we did that as well - what a rip!

Part of the reason there are so many EVs is that a) it's VERY hard to get a license plate for the average person, but I think it's easier if it's EV and b) the smog is so bad they do the alternate plate thing there constantly, which EVs are exempt from.

lilbean | 28 december 2016

Aha! So it's not for the environment but for the convenience.

mirio | 28 december 2016

no its because the environment inconveniences them :o)

carlk | 28 december 2016

China does not care about global warming. China does care about pollution which its citizens can all see and gripe about.

SCCRENDO | 28 december 2016

@carlk. You may be correct. But who cares what the reason is as long as they address it. We may be in the same situation with the Trump regime. They may not care about climate change but may end up having to address it anyway (I hope)

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/11/china-obama-climate-deal-...

Dramsey | 28 december 2016

@mp1156,

"Not saying they are perfect by any means. but I do think they are starting to address their problems."

For example, by promising to work really hard so that their CO2 emissions peak no later than 2030. In the meantime, they're still building new coal plants at the rate of about two per week.

So it's really hard for me to understand why anyone take Chinese promises of environmental responsibility seriously. I understand that they're doing, or say they will soon be doing, things like cap-and-trade programs, and setting emissions limits for industries and factories, but at the end of the day: two new coal plants EVERY WEEK.

(In other news, Japan is planning to build dozens of new coal plants after having abandoned nuclear power. Sigh.)

risingsun | 28 december 2016

@Dramsey, China is replacing old coal plants with new more efficient ones. China's CO2 output per year in now falling modestly.

RedShift | 28 december 2016

I don't understand the aversion to Nuclear. What would you rather have : a nuclear spent fuel buried deep underground or carbon emissions in the air. California numb headedly shut down the last nuclear power plant to see its emissions rise 25%. Good job, guys. Keep listening to the looneys on the left that scream 'nuclear is evil!'

RedShift | 28 december 2016

However I take issue with the statement 'why would anyone take China seriously about reduction of emissions'

They care about pollution. They will redu e their coal footprint in the coming years.

SCCRENDO | 28 december 2016

@redshift. Not straightforward. Better than fossil fuels but many props and cons
http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/pros-and-cons-of-nuclear-energy.php

doyzdelacruz | 29 december 2016

romel

brando | 29 december 2016

For every ton of concrete you get one ton of CO2.
And you can hardly imagine how much concrete in a reactor building.

Fukushima latest clean up now up to $188 billion and looking to 2055 to complete.
Well, Hanford clean up started in 1989 was to be done in 10 years and pushed back to 2065 and the cost is to total near $160 billion.

Nukes were sold as too cheap to monitor. Now too expensive to matter. France just shut down about 40% of their reactors - safety concern as sub-standard steel was used and so now testing and deciding what to do.
One of the reasons reactors were to have a 40 year life expectancy is neutron bombardment caused steel to become brittle and if cooled too quickly it can shatter similar to glass.

Germany, France and UK found that children with in 5km of reactor have 2-4x more cancers, mostly leukemia and bone marrow and thyroid. One of the reasons Germany closing down all Nukes. UK and France obviously don't care and the US avoids doing studies.

Luckily PV and Wind cheaper than coal/natural gas and all are cheaper than Nukes. Of course the best way to steal tax payer dollars is large government funded construction projects of most any kind, especially Nukes.

Silver2K | 29 december 2016

China!?!?

The country with no fresh air? Where people wear masks when walking the streets? A place where construction is happening 24/7 and people getting run over by construction vehicles in the middle of the night?

SCCRENDO | 29 december 2016

@Silver. Yes we know. But they are working on it. Do we want to reach that level before working on it?

Dramsey | 29 december 2016

Well, they _say_ they're working on it. But again: two new coal plants per week...

It's hard-- at least for me, with a solid 10 minutes of Googling-- to figure out what's going on with China and coal. Earlier this year there were multiple reports that China had actually reduced its CO2 emissions; yet in Novermber they imported a record amount of coal (much of it from North Korea, so you get a twofer of increased CO2 plus propping up the most evil and brutal regime in the world).

If they're importing a record amount of coal, and building two new coal plants per week, then, absent some magic CO2 scrubbing technology which I'd bet rather a lot of money that they don't have, their emissions must be increasing. And all those reports that their CO2 emissions were decreasing? Well, that was just China _saying_ that they had; it wasn't the result of some international agency actually trying to measure or figure it out. And, you know, trusting China isn't a winning strategy, historically speaking. Even when their premier makes a specific public promise to another head of state, like, say, telling Obama that they wouldn't put any weapons on those fake islands they're building in the South China Sea, it's a lie (as we now know).

Trusting China on anything is simply foolish.

RedShift | 29 december 2016

It isn't about trust. It's about common sense - there's a limit to how much the citizenry will put up with. Same case in New Delhi too - these folks in China and India - they have much more immediate problems to deal with - like earning enough to provide meals or comfortable living (third world problems) to care enough about the environment. Until now. Pollution is so bad people huddle next to their air purifiers on some days and don't go out.

People then turn their attention to saving their air, their children from the hacking cough that seems to affect almost every youngster ...

Then the heads of state sit up and listen. Many of them also breathe the same air, after all.

lilbean | 29 december 2016

+1 Dramsey. I remember the Olympics and their "women's" team. What a joke. For a country to make meaningful and lasting changes, the people need to passionately care about their environment. Basic things like not dumping in your own backyard or waterways would be a nice start.

carlk | 29 december 2016

Let's not confuse pollutant and carbon emission. CO2 can not be avoided or even reduced in fossil fuel energy generation short of very costly CO2 recover and storage process. Pollutants on the other hand is easier to deal with by building "clean" power plants. That's what countries like China are doing. It addresses the pollution issue but has little effect on global warming long as they continue to build coal power plants. Poorer countries usually are more concerned with pollution which creates immediate hazard rather than global warming even if they know in the long run they will be the ones who suffer the most because of its effects on living accommodations and food supplies. Like @RedShift said this is not their worry when they still need to figure out where the next meal is going to be from.

Dwdnjck@ca | 29 december 2016

China's plan was to use cheap coal to gain wealth and then switch to wind and solar. They are literally kicking our asses in solar. China employs a million people building solar panels and is growing their production at an amazing rate. They are leaving us in the dust. The gigafactory in New York will not rival production in China.

SCCRENDO | 29 december 2016

@carlk. China is a growing economy and hence the increased need for fuels. In growing economies unfortunately fossil fuel use may increase. The idea would be to try offset that as much as possible by switching to cleaner energy. Be it because of pollution or whatever it seems like they are trying to do it and indeed succeeding. They also need help from more developed countries such as the US. To me this is a big reason to try work with them. What we haven't discussed much here is India. I was in Delhi last year and the pollution was disgraceful. But they are also trying. They have converted all their tuk-tuks (3 wheel vehicles that run as taxis) to compressed natural gas to try decrease pollution

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_rickshaw

Silver2K | 29 december 2016

Dwdnjck@ca | December 29, 2016
China's plan was to use cheap coal to gain wealth and then switch to wind and solar. They are literally kicking our asses in solar. China employs a million people building solar panels and is growing their production at an amazing rate. They are leaving us in the dust. The gigafactory in New York will not rival production in China.

----------------------------------

yet they are the world's hog when it comes to oil consumption and have 10th of our economy.

Dramsey | 29 december 2016

@carlk,

Good point re the difference between "pollution" and CO2. Clearly China's immediate need is to reduce pollution; but keep in mind what they're _claiming_ is CO2 reduction.

RedShift | 29 december 2016

@carlk

Yes, that's a good point about CO2 vs pollution. I am afraid you are right, in that they will address the pollution alone and claim they are doing all they can to reduce greenhouse gases. That's kind of expected of them. India will probably do the same, though the Indian PM is a friend of a very big coal man.

lilbean | 29 december 2016

Thank you for the clarification @carlk. I just lump it together as disrespect for the earth and the environment.

zhengst0905 | 29 december 2016

Solar power and EVs won't eliminate the nuclear warheads we have pointing at each other, the amount of which can destroy the world 20 times over. That's why Elon is trying to get us on Mars ASAP through SpaceX, hopefully before earth is destroyed by the limitless human stupidity (in Einstein's assessment).

carlk | 30 december 2016

Also to be fair to China, and perhaps India too, a good portion of carbon and pollutants generated there are from manufacturing goods for rest of the world even though they did not do it for charitably reasons. Now we are talking about moving manufacturing back to the US the important thing is not to move dirty manufacturing back. By dirty I mean not only pollutant generating manufacturing but any manufacturing that uses large amounts of dirty energy. That would just defeat the purpose. I sincerly hope the next adminastration will make clean energy field a priority in job creation. Yes Tesla and Tesla energy.

carlk | 30 december 2016

Well I just did some checking 80% of electricity in China come from coal. In that sense any manufacturing moving to US is a positive thing long as it does not go a coal state. This seems also confirm that China's promotion of EV is more for to fight pollution than to reduce green house gas generation.

lilbean | 30 december 2016

So does that mean I'm right? ;)

SCCRENDO | 30 december 2016

@carlk. However if they continue to produce solar panels more electricity will come from solar panels. I accept the difference between pollution and CO2 but the more they clean up the environment, the more they will reduce CO2 as well. Moving CO2 production from China to the US does not change our greenhouse gas layer. The atmosphere does not discriminate where its CO2 comes from. Under a Trump regime, manufacturing jobs would more likely end up in coal states. That is where the economy is more depressed and the EPA will likely be less effective and he has even threatened to disband them. States like California will maintain stricter standards making it more attractive for polluting manufacturers to open up elsewhere.

RedShift | 30 december 2016

Agreed that some CO2 will get reduced if they move to cleaner sources of energy.

carlk | 30 december 2016

@lilbean

You are always right of course. Now what is it you're right? ;)

@SCCRENDO

It's hard to say if it's net positive or not to move "dirty" manufacturing back to the US but I definitely agree we need to concentrate on "clean" jobs or even "green" jobs for our future growth. Should not try to kill ourselves or even the mankind in the name of economic growth like China is doing. Not trying to bash China again but its environmental regulation is still many times worse than the worst imaginable the Trump regime could ever do.

lilbean | 30 december 2016

@carlk, Haha! I have no idea. I just wanted to say it. :)

SCCRENDO | 30 december 2016

@carlk. I have been giving nations like China and India a partial free pass because I think that emerging economies need a boost. It's a benefit to the world not having billions living in poverty and unfortunately pollution and climate change come with it. The more developed countries need to think beyond the money and start cleaning up. My hope is that the emerging economies try their best as regards environmental protection. Certainly we have shown that solar need not be an expensive unaffordable energy source. I also believe that as these economies mature they can continue to clean up. We need to keep trading with these countries but be strong in not purchasing goods that flout our labor and environmental laws. That is the part that gives them an unfair competitive advantage by paying low wages and burning coal.

carlk | 30 december 2016

@SCCRENDO

You're right those countries don't want to give up economic growth and better their standard of living just like what most Americans are not willing to give up our already higher standard of living to help the environment. The two are actually tied in many ways too. We could reduce our consumption by not buying new fashions and latest toys every year and throw them away the next but in turn that will hurt economy of those countries badly and to some degree ours too. This is really a double edged sword there is no simple solution.

That said I still want to make a differentiation between China and India. One is a potential threat to our country and the other likely will not be. In terms of China I don't buy the notion that enemy's (Trump's) enemy is necessarily a friend

carlk | 30 december 2016

I take it back there is really a simple solution which is environmentally friendly laws and practices such as use of clean energy and recycling everything. We do have a way to have the best of both worlds.

SCCRENDO | 30 december 2016

@carlk. I agree with your last post. The US economy and environment policy can be controlled by us. What other countries do needs to be negotiated. Maintaining good relations with a country achieves more than maintaining bad relations. Unfortunately with Russia we need to stand up to them even to the point of some low level confrontation. Please not to the nuclear level. I believe that we can work well with China to our mutual benefit. Yes they may need to be confronted to a certain degree but Trump's rhetoric at this point to China is unhelpful and potentially destructive. I think he is backing the wrong horse. It would be great to work with both China and Russia in a constructive manner but I would pick China way before Russia.

carlk | 30 december 2016

@SCCRENDO

I can't say whether China or Russia will be a bigger future threat. Political system in either country is not set up to be stable and predictable. We just have to keep our guards up facing either.

As for consumption and environment even though few would be willing to sacrifice their living standard to consume less one thing I tried to practice is to buy more expensive stuff. One tends to, or have to, buy less of them and keep them for longer. They are also more likely manufactured in cleaner factories in the US or Europe. Here we can also have best of both worlds.

SCCRENDO | 30 december 2016

@carlk. Seems to me that we are overall on the same page even though we may argue semantics a lot.

brando | 2 januari 2017

https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_China

Coal: 907 GW (61.2%)
Thermal, natural gas, bio-mass: 135 GW (9.1%)
Hydro: 300 GW (20.3%)
Wind: 90 GW (6.1%)
Solar: 28 GW (1.9%)
Nuclear: 21 GW (1.4%)

China is the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world and is the largest user of coal-derived electricity, generating an estimated 73% of domestic electricity production in 2014 from coal.[1][2]
Both coal production and consumption peaked in 2013 and has dropped continuously, falling a further 3.7% in the first 11 months of 2015 compared to the same period the year before.[3][4] Some analysts have concluded that China's coal consumption peaked for good in 2014.[5][6] On the other hand, an analyst for IHS Markit attributes the drop to a temporary slowdown in economic growth, and expects the decline in Chinese coal consumption to bottom out by 2018, then rise again before peaking in the mid-2020s.[7]
In early 2016 the building of new coal capacity continued at a significant pace with 406 GW proposed.[8] However, the central government issued directions in April 2016 curbing construction of new coal fired plants throughout the country.[9] This is in line with a moratorium issued by the National Energy Agency in 2015 banning new coal mines in China for a period of three years and closure of thousands of small coal mines.[10]

https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Coal_in_China
https://energydesk.greenpeace. org/2016/10/21/china-coal-crackdown-cancel-new-power-plants/

Changes can come quickly.