Thursday, June 11, 2009

China: Winds of Change

Global energy shifts are becoming clearly evident as China asserts itself in the global community with its financial resources and rapidly rising consumption rate. It's already famous for its pollution and the massive Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze river, which will silt up before its useful lifetime as a power generator is complete, not to mention powerfully destructive impacts on the local region's existing environment. For this reason, its Ministry of Environmental Protection has become more sensitive to public opinion.

Recently, China and the US have agreed to cooperate as the global community is discussing climate treaties this year. This is a crucial step towards balancing costs and supplies so that sustainable human activity can continue without the environmental destruction that has resulted from the development in both of these countries. However, China has refused emissions cuts at this time.

A report from Tomgram highlights the energy shifts taking place and being projected out in the next year by the US Energy Information Administration, and concludes:

At first glance, the International Energy Outlook for 2009 hardly looks different from previous editions: a tedious compendium of tables and text on global energy trends. Looked at another way, however, it trumpets the headlines of the future -- and their news is not comforting.

The global energy equation is changing rapidly, and with it is likely to come great power competition, economic peril, rising starvation, growing unrest, environmental disaster, and shrinking energy supplies, no matter what steps are taken. No doubt the 2010 edition of the report and those that follow will reveal far more, but the new trends in energy on the planet are already increasingly evident -- and unsettling.

Nothing concentrates the mind like an execution in the morning.