Are new light bulbs in China enough to catch up to the West?

China has recently announced plans to increase its use of solar and wind power over the next decade in order to produce one fifth of its energy needs through renewable power by 2020. While this goal sounds very aggressive, Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, believes China will easily reach this target. This 20% target matches the European goal, and would be impressive considering China¡¯s relative poverty.

Despite China¡¯s announcement, the U.S. still believe China is not doing enough. "Even if every other country in the world cut its emissions 80 percent by 2050¡­China¡¯s business-as-usual emissions alone would cause global average temperatures to increase by 2.7 degrees centigrade," warned U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy David Sandalow earlier this week in a speech delivered in Beijing.

I agree that more steps need to be taken, not just by China but by the world. I can understand the US wishing to push China to lead the world in sustainable power generation, but I feel as though they are throwing stones in a glass house. The US has been the world¡¯s largest polluter, by a large margin, for many years. And only very recently has China overtaken the US for the dubious honor of world¡¯s dirtiest economy. I do not, however, see this as the Chinese government¡¯s final move addressing climate change. This is just one of many steps to address the environment. China also announced recently they were beginning to promote the use of over 100 million energy-efficient light bulbs this year. According to one report, replacing ordinary bulbs with these compact energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs will help save 6.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6.2 million tons.

Jackson Moller

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