‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Electrification of China, by Nick Drew

Somebody (Lenin?) said that communism is soviet power plus electrification.  Or something like that.  And there's no doubt communist Russia and communist China have historically placed vast importance on electrification, along with developing heavy industry in general.   (It's not just them, of course: India feels it's got a lot to do in this respect, too.)

And ... why not?  As Lovelock says, civilisation is energy-intensive (with electricity increasingly the primary delivery-means of useful end-user energy).  Who doesn't want the material benefits of civilisation?  Who's to tell them 'no'?

So: only internal factors are going to stop China (and India) (and one day, Africa) electrifying to the full.  By which I mean: China may pause, if it chooses, when excess coal-smoke is literally killing their people by the thousand.  India may struggle because of its massive political and economic inefficiency.  But they ain't asking permission of anyone to carry on with their electrification (etc) plans.  Particularly not the Chinese who need not bow, and have no intention of bowing, to anyone else ever again.  When they say the Chinese Communist Party recognises no higher authority than itself, they really do mean it.

And that includes Greta.

Today the Beeb ran an item on how China's coal-burning capacity - and concomitant CO2 emissions - continues upwards ("Is China Addicted to Coal?").  They didn't really sermonise about it; just a little wistful, I guess.  Oh dear, look what's happening here; oh well ...

They said "China's economy is slowing" - which is bollocks, of course, it just isn't accelerating as much as heretofore -  which they offered as the reason why coal remains in vogue.  We can put it more simply (as I have been for more than a decade):  when it comes to GDP vs GHG, GDP will win every time.  And of course that's not just China, BTW - though we well know what's at stake for them, specifically: their tacit political settlement is that the populace will shut up and let the Communist Party have its way, provided the populace gets wealthier all the time.  And the CP has no idea how they'd keep the lid on if they fail in their side of the bargain.

As the Beeb notes, China now effectively accounts for the whole globe's annual increase in CO2 emitted.  So - to the extent you worry about these things - you could say: if we all go to hell in a handcart, it'll be because the Chinese CP is afraid of its own people.


Sackerson adds:

Readers might also like to read this piece by China-watchers, about President Xi, his recent purging of a million allegedly corrupt bureaucrats, and the drive to urbanise China as fast as possible and reduce her dependence on the West for trade profits:


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