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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Green Technology"

China’s Round Two on Electric Cars: Will It Work?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A visitor looks at BYD E6 electric car on display at the New Energy Auto Expo in Nanjing, Jiangsu province March 22, 2014. Three of China's biggest cities are helping consumers pay for a range of electric cars, heeding calls to encourage the sale of green vehicles that the government sees helping tackle pollution. China's smoggy skies topped the agenda at the annual parliamentary session this year, while Premier Li Keqiang in January demonstrated the importance of green cars by visiting a factory of BYD Co Ltd , maker of the e6 pure electric car. The BYD E6 electric car was on display at the New Energy Auto Expo in Nanjing, Jiangsu province on March 22, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Everyone loves China’s five-year plans. They tell you everything you need to know about the future direction of the Chinese economy: intentions and priorities, along with timetables and targets. The only thing missing are the results. After five years, though, who keeps track of what was promised and what was delivered? Well, the Chinese government for one. And as Beijing takes stock of its efforts to become a world leader in the production and deployment of electric and hybrid electric cars during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), the picture isn’t pretty. Now Beijing is attempting a mid-plan course correction. Will it work? Read more »

Hyping U.S.-China Competition

by Elizabeth C. Economy
President, Chairman, and CEO of Dow Chemical Andrew Liveris speaks with Fortune Contributing Editor Marc Gunther at the Fortune Brainstorm GREEN Conference on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (Courtesy of Fortune Brainstorm Green/Stuart Isett) President, Chairman, and CEO of Dow Chemical Andrew Liveris (left) speaks with Fortune Contributing Editor Marc Gunther at the Fortune Brainstorm GREEN Conference on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (Courtesy of Fortune Brainstorm Green/Stuart Isett)

Last week I participated in the Fortune Brainstorm GREEN conference, a two-and-a-half day meeting in California that brought together money people, inventors, CEOs, chief sustainability officers, journalists, and policy analysts to talk about what is going on in the world of clean and green tech. The meeting struck me as unusual for a couple of reasons.

First, there was a lot of positive energy—no pun intended—engendered primarily by the inventor types and CEOs (not surprising, I suppose, since they are the ones actually involved in creating things), as well as the sustainability officers who are always thinking about how to make their companies do more with less. Read more »

“Paulson’s Principles” for the United States and China

by Evan A. Feigenbaum
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson leaves after making closing statements after the 5th U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing, December 5, 2008. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson leaves after making closing statements after the 5th U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing, December 5, 2008. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters)

With the glaring exception of Japan, Asian economies are recovering earlier and stronger from the crisis than nearly all others. And China has now cemented its place alongside the United States and Europe as a growth engine.

But China faces large—and intensifying—vulnerabilities.

Readers of Asia Unbound will know that I’ve talked here and written here about some of these challenges.

And so I thought I’d flag for interested readers a major speech delivered this morning in Washington by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (full disclosure: my boss).

He has a deep history with the U.S. and Chinese economies—at Goldman Sachs, and then as the Treasury Secretary. As a banker, he worked on historic but thorny issues in China, like privatizations. And at the Treasury, he established the Strategic Economic Dialogue and played a central role in the creation of the Ten Year Energy and Environment Cooperation Framework.

The basic thrust of his speech is twofold:

First, both countries face growing economic challenges and vulnerabilities. And for its part, it is decidedly in the U.S. interest for China to get ahead of these challenges. As Paulson puts it, “China’s success at sustaining growth, fighting inflation, and transitioning from an economic model too dependent on exports and fixed asset investment is closely connected to our own success.”

Second, “the U.S. and China need to take steps—mostly individually, sometimes together—that will have the mutually beneficial effect of supporting and sustaining economic growth.”

That’s a striking formulation because it’s not focused on “cooperation” for its own sake. Rather, as Paulson argues, the U.S. and China “don’t always need to act jointly.” They can take separate and self-interested steps that, in the bargain, put their two economies onto a more complementary footing.

You can read the entire speech here, or watch it delivered here.

But for the central message, here are his five principles—let’s call them, ”Paulson’s Principles”—quoted verbatim from the speech:

Read more »

China’s Great Rebalancing Act

by Evan A. Feigenbaum

A resident cycles past the Wumen Gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Reuters/Jason Lee.

As Vice President Biden meets with Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders this week, his number one economic talking point is almost certain to be about “rebalancing.”  Nearly all of Washington’s principal economic concerns, from currency valuation to Chinese industrial policy, touch this central issue.  But, quite frankly, rebalancing is not just an American goal.  It is, too, a Chinese objective because Beijing’s existing growth model—predicated on the two pillars of exports and capital-intensive investment—is delivering diminishing returns, and China’s savvy leaders know it.

A major new report from Eurasia Group, China Great Rebalancing Act, explains why.

First, a little truth in advertising:  I’m the head of the Asia practice group at Eurasia Group, so I helped write the report.  But our team’s report is well worth reading because it provides a very comprehensive overview of the forces and dynamics shaping the future of China’s political economy.

Read more »

South Korea’s 97 Billion Dollar Question: What is Green Growth?

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presents South Korean President Lee Myung-bak with the Zayed International Prize for Environment in Dubai March 14, 2011 (Abdullah Muhsen/Courtesy Reuters). Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presents South Korean President Lee Myung-bak with the Zayed International Prize for Environment in Dubai March 14, 2011 (Abdullah Muhsen/Courtesy Reuters).

Jill Kosch O’Donnell is a former Junior Associate of The Asia Foundation and is a writer in Washington, DC.

In an interview with the Korea Herald earlier this year, Hur Dong-Soo, CEO of Korea’s GS Caltex, called his company’s investments in heavy-oil upgrading facilities a “green growth business.” As the phrase “green growth” becomes ever more common—now used in reference to everything from solar panel exports to a stimulus-backed cure-all for ailing national economies—such claims beg the question, what does green growth really mean? Is it a strategy for cashing in on the growing global demand for clean energy products, like wind turbines and smart grid components? Is it the goal to derive more power from renewable sources? Or, is it investing in technology to meet the demand for cleaner-burning petroleum products, as GS Caltex is doing? Read more »

China Assaults the High-Tech Frontier

by Evan A. Feigenbaum

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

I did a fun panel earlier this week on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” with Maria Bartiromo.  She asked a pretty straightforward question:  Is China challenging the United States on the frontiers of high technology, and, if so, what sectors should we watch?

Read more »

What happened to India as a Science Power?

by Adam Segal

We have seen a lot of stories recently about China’s emergence as a science super power–“China’s scientists lead world in research growth” in the Financial Times, blog posts at the New Yorker, and the New Scientist warning us to “Get Ready for China’s Domination of Science”–and that’s not even counting the story on how China is going to lead the world in clean energy that the New York Times seems to run every other week. Read more »

Green Innovation

by Adam Segal

Two good new articles–Evan Osnos in the New Yorker and Shai Oster in Wall Street Journal– address the question of China’s innovative capabilities in green technologies. Both come out at about the same point, one that I am highly sympathetic to (and, shameless plug, make in my forthcoming book). Essentially, China is excelling at bringing the price down of a number of important technologies used for solar, coal, and wind, but breakthrough, cutting-edge innovations are rare. Read more »

China’s ‘Green Sputnik’?

by Elizabeth C. Economy

Last month I testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China in Washington, D.C. The commission, which is co-chaired by Senator Byron L. Dorgan and Representative Sander M. Levin, monitors closely China’s record on human rights and the rule of law, and sets out recommendations for improvements in both of these areas. Read more »