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Gerry Clinchy
07-05-2010, 07:54 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/05/business/global/05warm.html?th&emc=th
China Fears Consumer Impact on Global Warming


But even as Beijing imposes the world’s most rigorous national energy campaign, the effort is being overwhelmed by the billionfold demands of Chinese consumers.

Chinese and Western energy experts worry that China’s energy challenge could become the world’s problem — possibly dooming any international efforts to place meaningful limits on global warming (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/globalwarming/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier).




If China cannot meet its own energy-efficiency targets, the chances of avoiding widespread environmental damage from rising temperatures “are very close to zero,” said Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency in Paris.

Aspiring to a more Western standard of living, in many cases with the government’s encouragement, China’s population, 1.3 billion strong, is clamoring for more and bigger cars, for electricity-dependent home appliances and for more creature comforts like air-conditioned shopping malls.

As a result, China is actually becoming even less energy efficient. And because most of its energy is still produced by burning fossil fuels, China’s emission of carbon dioxide — a so-called greenhouse gas — is growing worse. This past winter and spring showed the largest six-month increase in tonnage (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/business/energy-environment/07energy.html) ever by a single country.


But even if China can make the promised improvements, the International Energy Agency now projects that China’s emissions of energy-related greenhouse gases will grow more than the rest of the world’s combined increase by 2020. China, with one-fifth of the world’s population, is now on track to represent more than a quarter of humanity’s energy-related greenhouse-gas emissions.

YardleyLabs
07-05-2010, 09:17 AM
The problem is a simple one. The US, for example, uses energy at a rate of about 7800 kilos of oil equivalent energy per capita. China consumes approximately 1140 kilos of oil equivalent energy. Western European countries tend to run about 4000-5000 kilos of oil equivalent energy per capita. As the economies in China and India grow, the energy consumption will grow as well. If they reach a level equivalent to the lower range of European countries, the impact of total energy consumption in the world and on energy prices will be astronomical. It is unrealistic to think that developing nations will remain poor. Ultimately, however, they will all need to become much more energy efficient to be able to address the needs of developing nations. For the US and Western Europe, that will ultimately mean reducing energy consumption per capita by something like 70% from current levels, while consumption in other countries will probably at least double. Even with that, The US and Western European countries will be consuming much more per capita than the developing nations (two times instead of 5-7 times).

Hew
07-05-2010, 02:58 PM
Ultimately, however, they will all need to become much more energy efficient to be able to address the needs of developing nations. For the US and Western Europe, that will ultimately mean reducing energy consumption per capita by something like 70% from current levels, while consumption in other countries will probably at least double. Even with that, The US and Western European countries will be consuming much more per capita than the developing nations (two times instead of 5-7 times).
Do you get lonely at your Thomas Malthus Fan Club meetings? On the bright side, it is easy to get a quorom.

YardleyLabs
07-05-2010, 03:11 PM
Do you get lonely at your Thomas Malthus Fan Club meetings? On the bright side, it is easy to get a quorom.
What does Malthus or overpopulation have to do with this? My comment was that if developing nations begin to consume energy at a rate that is one-third of per capita energy consumption in the US, then demand for energy worldwide will grow dramatically with predictable effects on both the price of energy and the environment. What part of that statement are you contesting?

Hew
07-06-2010, 03:30 AM
What does Malthus or overpopulation have to do with this?
Malthus contended that population growth would outpace the ability to feed people; resulting in catastrophe. You contended that the worlds' energy needs will outpace the production of energy; resulting in the west reducing per-cap energy use by....wait for it....wait....wait....SEVENTY percent. Malthus was proven wrong and has been thoroughly debunked. If you think that we can, or will be required to, reduce our energy consumption by 70% then you're crazier than Malthus. ;)

YardleyLabs
07-06-2010, 05:40 AM
Malthus contended that population growth would outpace the ability to feed people; resulting in catastrophe. You contended that the worlds' energy needs will outpace the production of energy; resulting in the west reducing per-cap energy use by....wait for it....wait....wait....SEVENTY percent. Malthus was proven wrong and has been thoroughly debunked. If you think that we can, or will be required to, reduce our energy consumption by 70% then you're crazier than Malthus. ;)
Actually, I think the problem is resolvable through a mixture of intense energy conservation -- that is, using energy more efficiently -- and a dramatic increase in renewable energy sources. Both will only begin to happen as prices for non-renewable energy sources -- principally fossil fuels -- begin to increase in response to increased demand. What is not necessarily resolvable is the short sighted belief of many that we can meet growing world wide demand by simply being more aggressive in doing what we do now -- drill baby, drill. The "insanity" of Malthus was that he implicitly assumed that things would continue to work in the future as they had worked in the past. He did not envision a shift from a largely agrarian world to one in which industrial food production replaced the family farm, where high density housing allowed most people to live with little access to nature, or any of the other wondrous changes that have allowed us to support an ever growing population. The open question, however, is what addition changes will be needed as the world's population continues to grow. The population has more than tripled in my lifetime, from about 2.5 billion to 7.8 billion. Will we still be able to manage an acceptable quality f life f the population triples again in the next 60 years, or will we find that more and more nations simply see their population stabilize or decline as individuals gain greater control over their own reproduction? Both in the United States and Western Europe, current birth rates are at or below levels needed to maintain population levels and the only net population growth happening is through immigration. Will the same happen in other nations as standards of living and education improve? I hope so, since I don't want to think of my grandchildren growing old in a world with a population of 23-25 billion.

Gerry Clinchy
07-06-2010, 06:16 AM
NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/06/technology/06iphone.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th


But what it does not reveal is that manufacturing in China is about to get far more expensive. Soaring labor costs caused by worker shortages and unrest, a strengthening Chinese currency that makes exports more expensive, and inflation and rising housing costs are all threatening to sharply increase the cost of making devices like notebook computers, digital cameras and smartphones.


Wages in China have risen by more than 50 percent since 2005, analysts say, and this year many factories, under pressure from local governments and workers who feel they have been underpaid for too long, have raised wages by an extra 20 to 30 percent.



This type of low-end assembly work is also no longer favored in China, analysts say, because it does not produce big returns for the companies or the country. “China doesn’t want to be the workshop of the world anymore,” says Pietra Rivoli, a professor of international business at Georgetown University (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/g/georgetown_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org) and author of “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy.”

“The value goes to where the knowledge is.”

Additional irony, perhaps, that as China moved into the business of the world, its workers could be the moving force of how China can change over the next several decades. As workers have begun to gain a taste of a better life, they also have begun to gain a higher opinion of their individual worth.

In the end it is not war and guns, but economics that change nations? Maybe these manufacturers should move their operations to Iraq and A'stan?