Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and UC Davis found that China’s carbon dioxide emissions are far outpacing previous estimates. The projected increase annually from China would be greater than the entire emissions from Great Britain or Germany, according to the report.
The researchers’ most conservative forecast predicts that by 2010, there will be an increase of 600 million metric tons of carbon emissions in China over the country’s levels in 2000. This growth from China alone would dramatically overshadow the 116 million metric tons of carbon emissions reductions pledged by all the developed countries in the Kyoto Protocol. (The protocol was never ratified in the United States, which was the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide until 2006, when China took over that distinction, according to numerous reports.)
Meanwhile, China is now opening more nuclear power plants than planned. It is currently opening enough plants to produce 60 nuclear gigawatts, in France that would be 80 percent of the nation’s electric supply and in China only 4 percent. China is looking at many different energy supplies, according to the Wall Street Journal environment blog.
China’s switch to net coal importer has hammered global coal prices. It’s thirst for natural gas is already doing the same. And that will only intensify, as Chinese firms are looking everywhere from Qatar to Iran for new supplies, while Chinese shippers are spending billions to expand their LNG fleets.
The final question in China’s nuclear push is who will profit. The country already hopes home-grown players will handle its own renewable-energy revolution, dampening hopes of big solar and wind power players around the world. So far, global firms have kept their edge in the nuclear build, led by Westinghouse and France’s Areva.
However, China still greatly relies on coal burning plants for energy.