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Energy, Security, and Climate

CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.

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Showing posts for "China"

Misunderstanding High-Tech Trade

by Michael Levi

While the climate talks continue in Cancun, the most important developments in climate policy are still happening at the national level.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu gave a speech on Monday arguing that the United States is at risk of losing to China in a clean energy race. The most striking graph — and Chu emphasized it in his presentation — came near the start of his talk: Read more »

The Chinese Energy Intensity Circus

by Michael Levi

China has been much praised for its target of cutting energy intensity by twenty percent from 2005 to 2010. Indeed many of the measures it’s using to back that target up are impressive. If we’re being honest with ourselves, though, we need to admit that we have no clue whether the target is being met. Worse, we need to acknowledge that some of the steps being taken to meet it are downright counterproductive. Read more »

The Problem With Chinese Clean Energy Subsidies

by Michael Levi

I wrote last week about how Chinese gains in solar energy could help, rather than hurt, U.S. businesses. My argument was that if China focused on those parts of the value chain where it had a natural edge, and the United States focused on those parts where it was most suited, they could together bring down the cost of solar. That would increase the market for solar, and they would both win. In particular, I argued that Chinese strength in the later stages of solar manufacturing wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Read more »

The Downside to Made in the USA

by Michael Levi

Keith Bradsher has a largely excellent article in Wednesday’s Times that’s focused on the (possibly illegal) advantages that the Chinese government is providing its clean energy firms. In reporting the piece, though, he falls prey to a deceptive story about the success of Chinese solar at the expense of U.S. industry. Since it’s a story that regularly shows up in one form or another, it’s important to understand why there’s less than meets the eye. (I’ll have more to say on the broader trade issues in several upcoming articles and posts.) Read more »

Does Yingli Solar Really Belong at the World Cup?

by Michael Levi

Yingli Solar, the Chinese rooftop solar photovoltaic company, has been making waves with its prominent sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Times picked up the story yesterday, quoting a Yingli spokesperson who said that the company “pondered” its decision “profoundly, deeply”. My colleague Liz Economy flagged the sponsorship last week. Noting that Yingli’s ads were running next to ones from McDonalds, she worried that China was embracing the future while U.S. companies were stuck representing the past. Read more »

Will China Follow Lomborg’s Advice on Carbon Taxes?

by Michael Levi

Barbara Finamore at NRDC has a nice rundown of internal Chinese discussions about imposing a carbon tax beginning in 2012. A Chinese carbon tax would be a positive development. But it’s important for observers to understand what it would do and what it wouldn’t. Based on the numbers being discussed, this looks like it’s more about raising money (albeit money that might be earmarked for green “research and development investment”) than about directly altering Chinese emissions: the tax being proposed would be equivalent to about $1.50 per ton of CO2 in 2012 and would rise to a bit less than six bucks by 2020. Praise from the environmental advocacy community for this step is thus more than a bit ironic: it’s pretty much in line with what The Breakthrough Institute, Roger Pielke Jr, and Bjorn Lomborg have called for. Read more »