The Shame of Chinese Coal

I note much discussion around a recent WUWT post entitled “China: USA is “Selfish” for Wanting to Burn Coal“. It featured the Chinese telling us that we are “selfish” to burn coal and that we should reduce our coal use, because carbon.

Now, in the way of conflicts of interests, I should disclose that I have indeed worked in the oil industry. I served as the Chief Financial Officer for the largest oil import and distribution company in the Solomon Islands … which is a very small market. Our gross sales were US$40 million per year, trivially tiny in the world of fossil fuels. We used to joke that we weren’t Big Oil, heck, we weren’t even Small Oil. We were Baby Oil …

However, there’s nothing like working in an industry to drive a man to understand it, root and branch. I quickly found out that one of the best sources of current information about the energy industry was Platts. In addition to reading their public announcements and analyses, we used to subscribe to their newsletter. From memory, it was about US$1,500 per year or something, and worth every dime. They put a lot of research into their info. Platts have a bureau in Singapore, which is the center of Asian energy dealings.

So it was no surprise to see Platt’s name on the following document:  

China’s coal-fired generation strong despite renewables push: Citi

Singapore (Platts)–31 Mar 2017 156 am EDT/556 GMT

China’s coal-fired power generation as a percentage of the total energy mix is on the rise for the second year, despite the push towards renewable capacity additions in the country, Citi analysts said Friday.

The share of thermal power in the generation mix declined to 73% in 2015 from 83% in 2011.

Thermal has since grown to 74% of the mix in 2016 and to 78% in January-February this year, the analysts said.

“Hydropower generation was down 5% year on year in January-February 2017 and that contributed to thermal power growing faster than overall power demand,” they said.

A 5% growth in China’s coal-fired power generation would mean an additional consumption of about 65 million mt of coal, with the size of the entire seaborne market at about 850 million mt, the analysts said.

China’s January-February total coal imports have surged 48.5% year on year to 42.61 million mt, according to customs data.

Nuclear and wind — which account for about 4.8% of the mix — and solar, which accounts for less than 1%, are continuing to grow at double-digit percentages, but they are “still a small proportion” of the overall electricity demand balance, the analysts said.

Short version? Chinese coal use is rising and there’s no end to that rise in sight.

chinese-haze-citySmog hangs over a construction site in Weifang city, Shandong province, Oct 16. 2015. Air quality went down in many parts of China since Oct 15 and most cities are shrouded by haze. [Photo/IC]

Now, everyone knows the law of supply and demand. Per the article quoted above, China imports on the order of a QUARTER-BILLION METRIC TONNES of coal per year. If there are more global customers for the coal, that immutable law says that with increasing demand, coal prices will go up.

So should we be surprised when China tries in every way it can to discourage the use of coal?

No surprise at all. Expected. About the only interesting thing is how they are trying to do it.

In Chinese culture, given the focus on the family and the state, being selfish is a bad thing. It means you’re not willing to sacrifice for your people, that you are a bad family member or an uncaring member of society.

In the US, however, being selfish is a mixed bag. Although public generosity is high in the US, you don’t get to be rich without a certain amount of selfishness. In addition, there is a political division—liberals would say that being selfish is a larger issue than would conservatives.

So I suspect that such an accusation is not a bad tactic for China, given that concern about CO2 is equally politically divided. Liberals seem more likely to both think CO2 is an issue and to also care whether the Chinese think they are selfish … which latter concern, I must confess, is not a major feature on my planet.

(I’m reminded of a friend in college. After three years studying Chinese, he quit the major. When I asked why, he said, “I finally realized that no matter how well I can pronounce it, almost nobody Chinese will give a damn what I say” … and the feeling is somewhat mutual. And rightly so, it’s the nature of economic nationalism and international competition. The Chinese are not acting in our best interests, regarding coal and many other things. Nor would I expect them to. But I digress …)

Sunshine today, I’ve been working in my shop, getting my bodyboard ready to paint. I surfed a lot at Frigates Passage in Fiji when I lived there, including on my sixtieth birthday.

frigates pass

On that memorable day I swore a big swear to my mates that I’d surf Frigates on my seventieth birthday … which was last month. I couldn’t make it then because the plan has since expanded to include Clan Eschenbach, meaning my gorgeous ex-fiancee, and daughter and son-in-law. So I’m headed southwest in a couple weeks to surf Frigates, more adventures to come.

Always more to write about, much of which I do at my own blog, Skating Under The Ice.  Come by and take a look, all are welcome.

w.

PS—When you comment PLEASE QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE DISCUSSING so we can all understand your subject.

Advertisements

153 thoughts on “The Shame of Chinese Coal

  1. Are those figures quoting a decline in 2015 before – or after – they revised consumption figures by 20% just ahead of Paris?

    Is the decline an accounting fiction?

    • It looks like new hydroelectricity came on line in 2015. link

      In 2015, China produced over 1,126 TWh of hydroelectric energy, a 5 per cent increase from 2014, while fossil fuel production dropped by almost 3 per cent. Hydropower accounts for 20 per cent of the country’s total power production.

      I take note that China doesn’t have to accept wind power that it can’t use.

      Nearly one-fifth of China’s installed wind power output was curtailed in 2014, i.e. electricity that could have been generated by wind farms was not accepted, due to excess power in the system.

    • Almost everything that comes out of china is a fiction. I cannot understand why any westerner invests in china. It is so dodgy

      • Because investors are only people and people are more likely to fall into frauds than on real ones. To go a fraud lies in the nature of man. Only you should not be so stupid to fall for it. This applies to economic relations with China and its statistics in general. This is, however, the case with their dealings with human rights. Opposite to this deal with human rights is itself trumps travel ban and intention to build a wall nothing more than subtle light signals. So dull it goes in China’s human rights marshy, so dull and grey that there still Mengele and Co would feel comfortable.

      • “If CACA cultists were serious, they would insist that Trump ban all imports from China until such abuses and practices are ended.
        But of course they won’t, because in their alternative universe, the natural gas-burning US is evil while China is pure as the driven snow which it covers with black carbon, aka soot and coal fly ash.”

        This is precisely the jumping point around which it goes with all this. Many “NGOs” and their assistants in the Western press bodies and governments are not concerned about the environment, not the climate, but the transformation of society. Some even for the sake of re-education, without reason or goal. Power exercise? Maybe. We had that once and can not be eradicated. This can only be decidedly denied and named.

  2. How can we trust anything that the Chinese government says, including their publicly traded company financial information, greenhouse gas reporting, et al?

    • It wasn’t said by the Chinese government. It is an industry report from Singapore.

  3. In Mandarin, Chinese coal is 中国煤炭, meaning carbon that gives us life from the middle county, or something like that.

      • Ah yes, the Lord of the Rings symbol .

        How many syllables are required to pronounce 中国煤炭 ? What is the carbon footprint of 1.4 billion people wasting all the CO2 laden breath?

        Very selfish.

      • China calls US ‘selfish’ in order to promote its own self-interests. Isn’t that a bit err … selfish, hence hypocritical ?

    • Thanks, AP. In general, you cannot trust Chinese stats … although Platts generally is close to the mark, there is still much of what we used to call “creative accounting” in the mix.

      w.

      • Do you think the New York Times is a trustworthy source? If so, on which topics, and which not? If China (or anyone else) is using 17% more CO2 than reported, it messes up the claims that the rise in the atmosphere is understood, because it means all that extra CO2 is ‘going somewhere’ in an uncounted manner.

        I agree that Platts is not a ‘Chinese government’ source of statistics. Now that CO2 has been assigned a $5/ton contribution to the annual food supply (about $1 trillion benefit p.a.) we can consider that emitters might start charging if farmers want them to continue pumping out free CO2.

      • Crisp in, I rate the NYT as “slightly more trustworthy than the Chinese Gov”. Just so we’re clear, I rate used car dealers more trustworthy than both those.

  4. There does seem to be a real problem with any statistics from the PRC. Is the increasing imports related to lower domestic production, or just an increase in coal use overall?

  5. EW stated:
    “Our gross sales were US$40 million per year, trivially tiny in the world of fossil fuels. We used to joke that we weren’t Big Oil, heck, we weren’t even Small Oil. We were Baby Oil …”
    By oil do you mean diesel and gas for the Soloman Islands?

    It confounds me why the Chinese would not scrub all that burned coal effluent. Does the price of electricity increase so much to make it cost prohibitive to scrub? I would submit it is WAY cheaper than mucking around with wind and solar for electricity gen. My questions ignore everything about CO2 as this is not a gas worth fretting over (contrary to Suzuki, Gore, Mann, everyone at U of East Anglia)

    • No its not expensive to have clean coal fired power. Its far cheaper than wind or solar (by multiples)

    • If one spends money putting up wind turbines, etc, rather than attacking the REAL problems, one can claim moral superiority and environmental concerns. If only the money had gone to something worthwhile, like scrubbers.

    • Rick Sanchez March 31, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      EW stated:

      “Our gross sales were US$40 million per year, trivially tiny in the world of fossil fuels. We used to joke that we weren’t Big Oil, heck, we weren’t even Small Oil. We were Baby Oil …”

      By oil do you mean diesel and gas for the Soloman Islands?

      Yes, diesel, gas, and Jet-A1 aircraft fuel, AKA kerosene. It’s the distribution end of the oil industry.

      w.

    • why the Chinese would not scrub all that burned coal effluent
      ==================
      1. Everyone burns coal in China, from a mom and pop backyard factory to mega factories. Mom and pop do not use scrubbers, and there are millions upon millions of backyard factories.
      2. The Mega factories turn the scrubbers off the second the inspectors walk out the door, because it increases costs, and the manager’s future is tied to profits, not pollution.

      Seriously, our tour guide in China was the source for this.

      • If CACA cultists were serious, they would insist that Trump ban all imports from China until such abuses and practices are ended.

        But of course they won’t, because in their alternative universe, the natural gas-burning US is evil while China is pure as the driven snow which it covers with black carbon, aka soot and coal fly ash.

      • The Chinese burn a lot of brown coal loaded with sulfur, as, guess what, it is Cheaper and they have 10,000 years of starvation in their cultural values. Cheaper is Better, in China. The population is just now coming around to realizing that the air quality is a significant thing, and things will be changing, slowly as always, in China…

      • Re: ferd’s comment #2. A friend of mine who worked for a US utility got a visit from the Chinese to see how the utility ran its plants. He talked to then for some time, and then asked what their experience was with running scrubbers. They said they did not know, because even though they were forced to build them, they did not run them because they were “too expensive.” So ferd’s comment is absolutely true.

      • Michael Moon

        Chinese coal is relatively low in sulphur compared with (particularly) North American sources. Most of it is relatively young and the S content has not risen (due to loss of volatiles over eons). China is/was/might again import very low sulphur from Mongolia which also has a lot of young coal. The S content is 0.2 to 0.4% for a lot of their sources. In Ulaanbaatar they use Nalaikh and Baganuur both of which are about 0.2-0.6%. Urtsen Shakhmal is 0.13%

        The problem with Chinese coal combustion is not the coal and what is in it, but the manner in which it is burned (or very incompletely burned). Coal smoke, as distinct from fly ash, is the result of incomplete combustion. When burned properly, the result is ash only, and some of that is fly ash depending on the type of combustor. If there are fans pushing everything at high speed, there is more fly ash. It has to be settled, collected or filtered. What is not, is emitted.

        I quickly checked what the sulphur content of a typical Shanxi coal is, and I see that Shenmu raw coal is 0.37% S by weight. I class that as low. I have tests for two typical Hebei Prov semi-coked briquettes and they were 0.18% and 0.37%. A large % of the sued for coal for domestic heating comes from Shanxi Province.

      • Crispin I Don’t Care Where You Are,

        “As of the end of 2014, China had 62 billion tons of anthracite and 52 billion tons of lignite.” Wikipedia

        Lignite is Brown Coal.

      • Michael Moon

        Lignite is brown coal and has a low sulphur content. That was my point. Lignite is also high in hydrogen, which is why Germany is choosing to burn it preferentially over older coals. Lower CO2 per ton (their choice).

        Mongolia has at least 400 billion tons of young coals of which two are Nalaikh and Baganuur. These young coals are very easy to burn extremely cleanly, but not in European power stations designed to burn hard older coal. Thus they are incorrectly, in my view, called ‘low quality’ fuels simply because they have a high hydrocarbon content. Oil is almost 100% hydrocarbons so I don’t see why that is a problem.

        The air pollution problem in China (from coal) is largely caused by incomplete combustion because of chasing output power per $ invested rather than clean combustion. Cleaning it up is not even a problem, technical nor social. All it needs is to be fed into burners designed for the fuel. A good analogy is burning gasoline v.s. burning diesel. The hardware is tuned to the fuel.

        China is by no means the only country in Asia using a lot of coal. All the former Soviet republics are heavily dependent on coal as they have no other sources of energy save Kyrgyzstan (etc) which have mountains and lots of hydro. Tajikistan, which has no gas supplies these days, is building one of the tallest dams in the world with lots of power to flow from it. All these regions use a lot of coal and it can be burned far better by using known technologies. There is no reason for air pollution to be a significant problem in Cold Asia.

      • Crispin,

        I stand corrected.

        From Hunter College in NYC: “Regarding this largest local source of PM2.5 – vehicle emissions – many point the blame squarely on low-grade gasoline (Sohu). Requirements for sulfur content in gasoline in China are extremely lax: Chinese allowances for sulfur content are 500 times as high as those of the US and 1,500 times as high as those of Europe.”

        Cheap gas, not high-sulfur coal, my mistake. Thank you.

    • Indeed coal scrubbing has made these facilities in the US major producers of gypsum for wallboard. I wrote a report as a contractor for Roskill Information Systems (UK) [Roskill.com] several years ago on the economics of gypsum – a global industry report. US produced twice as much gypsum from coal firing facilities (25million MT/yr. in 2008) than is mined in natural gypsum deposits. Also, fly ash and bottom ash are used in cement and other construction materials.

      Environmental activists prefer to characterize the coal fired industry in terms of many decades ago and don’t want to hear that scrubbing and fly ash/bottom ash are products of clean coal that even generates an income stream and mitigates the environmental negatives. Construction costs will be increasing with shutdown of coal, and gypsum mining (or increased imports) and will even increase pollution.

      • Gary, do you know how the research into CO2 reduction in coal stack emissions has got (=gotten) on? I did some work on Cynobacteria cultivation using the emissions as a C source. It looked feasible and the blue greens grew like there was no tomorrow. Others worked on blowing the smoke into glasshouses – augmentation of CO2 levels in glasshouses is an old practice. Plants respond extremely well to heightened CO2. They had to scrub the emissions before use, but that is no problem.
        But then it occurred to us – why bother?

  6. Coal is dead, and should just stay in the ground. At least that’s what the editorial board of The Seattle Times put out in their print edition today. Cost of solar is down; it employs almost as 10 times as many people as coal; and so on. People that get charged some of the lowest electric rates in the United States can afford to publish alternative facts. (Alternative facts as described by Willis on his blog, 2/26/17, “Real Facts About Alternative Facts.”)
    http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/trump-is-on-the-losing-side-of-history-on-coal-climate-change/

    • The same Seattle times that refusd to publish retractions or at least an addendum to their series, Sea Change, when presented with evidence in writing. For evidence references, see essay Shell Games in ebook Blowing Smoke.
      The Seattle Times is totally untrustworthy.

      • ristvan,
        Is there ANY major metropolitan newspaper that you can recommend as being trustworthy on political issues?

      • “I deplore… the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them… These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our funtionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief… This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit.” –Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, 1814.

      • Plus ça change…

        The difference being that in TJ’s day, papers made no pretense of objectivity. Now the liars lie that they are reporting the facts, while their ideological opponents are the purveyors of fake news.

      • Solar employs 10 times as many people! Sounds like excessive bragging about incredible inefficiency, as coal still produces far more power.

    • 474,000 jobs in wind+solar generated 29.4 TWh of electricity. 68,000 jobs in nuclear generated 73.1 TWh. 187,000 jobs in fossil fuels generated 203.4 TWh. [EIA data for January 2017]

      • This is why wind-solar will never replace fossil fuels in any market based economy.

        You can’t have it both ways. Either wind-solar is cheaper than fossil fuels or it isn’t. If it is cheaper, there has to be fewer workers per unit of electricity, which translates into fewer, not more, jobs.

        A lot of people are out there claiming we need to transition to wind-solar, claiming it will not only cut down on CO2 emissions, but generate more jobs.

        There is a reason they want to keep those subsidies.

      • 474,000 jobs in wind+solar?
        Can you point to the table, I couldn’t find that data on the EIA site.

      • And these 474.000 Jobs are greatly Government funded. It would be better to give each of the 474,000 a government job, push a broom into their hands and let them clean the American inner city. That would also be something for the environment and would save fossil fuel for road sweepers.

      • EIA data for January 2017
        474,000 jobs in wind+solar generated 29.4 TWh of electricity — 16,122 employees per TWh
        68,000 jobs in nuclear generated 73.1 TWh of electricity ———— 930 employees per TWh
        187,000 jobs in fossil fuels generated 203.4 TWh of electricity —— 92 employees per TWh

        Given the above, if wind+solar was used to generate the 203.4 TWh of electricity generated by fossil fuels, then it would require 6.9 times the number of employees, …… for a total of 3,270,600 jobs.

        WOWEEE, that is a super great cost savings for the electricity consuming public.

        So, instead of 187,000 $45/hr jobs costing electricity consumers $8,415,000 per hour 24/7/365, ….. you will have 3,270,600 $15/hr jobs that will be costing electricity consumers $49,059,000 per hour 24/7/365,

        Now that is a prime example of Democrat Accounting 101 “cost savings”, ….. whereby it will only costs the taxpayers 6 times as much money ….. to pay the salaries and entitlements of 6.9 times the number of new employees.

      • 474,000 jobs in wind+solar generated 29.4 TWh of electricity. 68,000 jobs in nuclear generated 73.1 TWh. 187,000 jobs in fossil fuels generated 203.4 TWh

        You are probably not counting the jobs in extracting and transporting the fossil fuels that you burn. I bet they are significantly more than the jobs in creating the solar panels / wind turbines. They will probably still be less efficient but there’s no need to exagerate.

    • The “jobs” argument is going around. Milton Friedman was one shown a construction site of a canal. He asked
      – Why are there no excavators or other heavy machines?
      – This is also a jobs program.
      – If you want jobs, give the workers spoons, not shovels.

    • It is official WA State policy that the mountains are to get less snow and an early melt, thus reducing water for irrigation and other needs. Governor Jay Inslee says so.
      The northern-most cross-state pass did not get the memo:
      Here is the DOT statement:
      NORTH CASCADES HWY SR20
      Pass is closed for the season. Spring clearing work is scheduled to begin April 10 and could take as many as 8 weeks to reopen due to the volume of snow.

    • “Washington state benefits from cheap, clean hydropower. It has a settled agreement to close its last coal-fired power plant — TransAlta in Centralia…”

      There has been an agreement to close this plant for 25 years. It keeps getting extended.

      Seattle is not a very good place for wind and solar in January. If is is a drought, hydro may be in short supply by the winter.

      It snow in the mountains in the winter. What I like best about environmentalists is their ignorance of the environment.

  7. If the Chinese government tells you that water is wet, get it checked out.

    Lacking a free press, the Chinese government has gotten accustomed to saying anything it pleases, no matter how ludicrous. If it serves their purpose then that is a good enough reason to claim it.

  8. Just been looking at the connection between Chinese coal production and warming hotspots.

    This graphic shows the link extremely well:

    But there is a link between areas with falling SO2 and global warming hotspots right across the N.hemisphere:
    Animation proving link between SO2 reducing areas and warming

    This is very strong proof that not only N.hemisphere, but because the north dominates the global warming record since the 1970s, that most of the post 1970s comes specifically from areas that used to be high emitters of SO2 (but not modern areas).

  9. Nuclear power is anything but a minor enterprise in China these days. They currently have 20 reactors under construction and expect to have between 7 and 10 reactors per year coming online.
    They have plans for over 180 GW of nuclear energy in the future. One main reason is their ability to build a reactor MW of power at about one-third of the cost of a French or Westinghouse reactor – between $1.6 and $1.8 billion per reactor. Painting the Chinese as coal-addicted is nonsense. They are fighting REAl air pollution, not CO2 emissions. Their air pollution problems are sizable. They are using coal because it is about the only game in town right now : nuclear reactors take time to build
    (the current LWR types). And they are building terminals for importing LNG, and as I recall, they are burning cleaner coal nowadays, but I think they have to import the stuff.

    • But do they have the infrastructure to transmit that power? All well and good to have the power plants but if the infrastructure is sub standard then what? I have seen some of their inner cities power lines and it is horrific Sure the large cities seem to have some of that but once you get out of the three or four large city centers it is not very good..

    • They use coal for almost everything. To cook, to hold their houses warm and boiling water for all cases. And their ovens are very, very old. Such ovens are no longer produced in the West. That is why the coal in the local daily life is so an integral part. The ordinary Chinese citizen does not have enough money to use electricity for the purposes mentioned above and to replace the old coal kilns.

    • Arthur4563

      I think we have to differentiate between burning coal cleaner and burning cleaner coal.

      The air pollution problem is caused by incomplete combustion, particularly the domestic combustors that are dreadful. It happens that I am working on changing them and we are having great success. Another training session for producers will be held in Beijing in April. The reduction in ‘smoke’ accessible with modern materials and designs is in excess of 99%. It doesn’t mean instant universal adoption, but there are several approaches being taken simultaneously to address serious air pollution. I can count 51 different measures being taken in Hebei under a single program from electric vehicles to turning agri-waste into cooking gas for regional pipelines.

      Speaking of agri-waste, I have a comment about the photo at the top of this article. Looking at the colour, it appears to have been caused by the burning of field stubble. The time of year is right, the colour and quantity, and location all point to a photo of biomass combustion polluting the city air. I would like to know if this is true. The claim that air pollution got worse from Oct is silly. Heating systems are turned on 15 Oct each year. Duh!

      Some of the worst pollution days in Beijing are when farmers (illegally) burn their field wastes in Hebei province which surrounds it. I was in Beijing in Oct 2015 when the PM rose to 400 micrograms per cubic metre in the whole of Beijing for 3 days. None of it originated in Beijing, though TV pictures in the West attributed it to the city. They also blamed coal burning, of course. They don’t know of anything else to say and apparently don’t know what they are talking about either.

      Thus when it comes to agit-prop the western media are hardly innocent. Why? Because if the facts were known (that China has taken an important policy initiative to clean up the entire country, with vigour) it could not be such a convenient environmental whipping boy. They have a huge mess and they are working on it. And they didn’t ask for anyone’s help.

      I realise that nearly no one on this list has been to China to see the good, the bad and the ugly of environmental messes, but also they have not seen what is being done about it. China is a long way from sparkling trout-filled streams abounding. However they are building coal-to-liquid plants, nukes, Thorium generators, converting domestic combustors (a major urban problem and therefore solution), hydro and renewables when it makes sense to add them to the system. I appreciate the comment above that the wind energy is rejected if the system doesn’t need it. There is a plan to put $11 bn worth of wind turbines in Mongolia for export to the Chinese grid so that keeps the factories running as the ROW (rest of the world) wises up.

      • Growing up, I remember the family piling into the car to drive from our suburban house to visit Grandma and Grandpa living in a “four-flat” within the Chicago city limits. I remember slowing down in traffic on the Kennedy Expressway and then hitting an invisible wall of what to me smelled like burning rubber. I remember Grandpa taking me into the basement to proudly show off his automatic stoker but never made the connection to Grandpa heating his apartment building with coal. I also remember when this was replaced with natural gas service. That burning rubber smell also went away.

        So, you are saying that the route to cleaner air is actually rural electrification so coal doesn’t need to be burned in all of those cooking stoves? And that coal-fired electricity, in a properly managed plant, would be progress in that direction?

  10. What is fascinating is that the alarmist community lionizes the Chinese in their new roll as an environmental leader.

    They expect China to take over the world leadership roll in the fight against global warming from the United States. Donald Trump is systematically dismantling Obama’s bass-ackwards climate/energy initiatives and policies.

    World leader China’s only contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement is a hope that they will stop increasing their CO2 emissions at some unspecified upper limit by 2030. In other words, they promise nothing at all!

    The alarmists kinda overlook that China now produces nearly twice as much CO2 emissions as the U.S. and belch so much general pollution into the atmosphere that it shows as a blight on satellite images of earth.

    It seems an appropriate filth-filled metaphor that China has now become the global standard bearer of the environmental movement.

    • The US environment absorbs at least 80% of their emissions in the form of additional biomass (re-growth of the Eastern Forests). I think as a % contributor, the US is a lot lower than half. That means they will not be able to claim their $5/ton CO2 from the poor farmers for the free fertilizer.

  11. … almost nobody Chinese will give a damn what I say …

    My resident China scholar has experienced little difficulty. His experience is that most Chinese people are delighted that someone takes an interest in their culture and history. YMMV

    • Thanks, Bob. Everyone likes it when someone takes an interest in what they do. But if I tell a Chinese housewife she’s cooking her food wrong, do you think she’ll give a damn?

      Or how about if some well-meaning US liberal goes there and tells them that tomorrow they should swear off coal and be ashamed of using it … do you truly believe the Chinese will give a rusty fart for the liberal’s ideas?

      w.

      • The most likely reply will be a polite “thank you for attending this event” and “we look forward to meeting again to exchange ideas and cooperate in harmony.”

        When entertaining honoured guests they don’t give damns or rusty farts. It is unfortunate the people in the West so easily mix in their minds Chinese party political chaff with the wheat of the Chinese people and their culture. To over-simplify China is to get a lot of things wrong, just like any other culture. “Trump” is not America, neither is “Clinton”.

      • Crispin in Waterloo but really in Muizenburg April 2, 2017 at 2:03 am

        … To over-simplify China is to get a lot of things wrong, …

        My resident China expert tells the story of a scholar who has been in China for a long time. At a banquet, the scholar said something like the following:

        When I first came to China I thought I would stick around for six months and produce a book.

        When I had been in China a couple of years I thought I could produce a pretty good paper.

        Now I’m not sure I can produce a coherent sentence.

    • You are right there Roger I have watched some video on YouTube with some incredible scenery of Chinese steam locomotives working their way through the high mountain passes. They are so high up in the mountains the steam coming out of the stack turns into clouds when it condenses in the air. It is beautiful to watch.

      • NO ! That’s kemtrails. Don’t you know that they have a special tank hidden inside the boiler which inserts bromine, aluminium and other toxic chemicals into the air, That is why the skies are full of cloud and smog over Beijing. Some days you cannot see 50 yards. ;)

    • Seventy years ago, I was lectured by a railroad “dick” for throwing snow (ice) balls at the roaring steam engines passing under the Revere St. bridge, with my pals, on our way to & fro the Paul Revere school (Revere, MA). His threat: he’d tell my mother! Yipes!

    • Roger, a very large number of locomotives are electric. Technically the are powered by coal, like Teslas, because that is the source of electricity.

      • I’ve googled and found that China has moved strongly toward diesel and electric locomotives. No percentages were given in the links I found, though.

      • Roger

        It could be of some help (I am not much) to look at the new installations. All the high speed trains are electric, right? I travel on a few but not the long distance ones. Whatever the current % is, they are going electric. On the line to Lhasa (etc) I am sure they will be on diesel. As a system transforms, the coal engines (which are not all that powerful) are used for shunting before being sold to anywhere that has the same gauge.

      • Certainly some have been steam.
        The [UK] National Rail Museumj, at York, houses a Chinese 4-8-4 loco that looked absolutely huge when I visited a few years ago.
        See
        National Railway Museum
        Note that it has a tender, which seems to be for coal.
        It was built in 1983, I gather.

        Auto

      • That locomotive is the “KF” class (stands for a Chinese rendering of an English word as “Konfederation” where Confederation was the name for the 4-8-4 wheel arrangement in Canada — (most of) the U.S. called such a locomotive a Northern).

        They may be been operated until the 1970’s, but their construction dates from the middle 1930s. Steam locomotive author Brian Hollingsworth claims that a legacy of Western colonialism in portions of China is that British property was damaged in an uprising called The Boxer Rebellion and that China was required to pay reparations. In exchange for the payments sent to Britain, however, the British built the Chinese these locomotives. The Chinese sent one of these locomotives back to Great Britain at the end of its use in service, where it is seen in a British museum in the photo. This was regarded as a gesture of friendship between China and U.K. in acknowledging the British sent China these locomotives in exchange for the reparations payments.

    • I believe Poland still coal fires steam locomotives. Actually, had we not had abundant O&G, we would probably have high performance clean coal fired steam locomotion. Maybe gasified. Maybe turbo.

  12. A couple of years ago we took a 5 day cruise up the Yangtze. There was an endless line of coal barges moving up and down the river. At times it looked like the only thing that was moving on the river was coal.

    Seriously, it is hard to exaggerate how much coal was moving on the river.

    • Fredberple, your eyes did not deceive you. You can count a coal barge every minute, even in Shanghai. I found it hard to comprehend. This was last September on my trip to China.

      • Before Obama, Hillary and the liberal enviro Democrats launched their War on Coal, ….. you could have counted hundreds of loaded RR coal cars, ….. bout every day, ….. being pulled out of West Virginia and Kentucky “coal country” by diesel-electric RR locomotives.

  13. The Chinese care only about themselves. Period. Not necessarily a bad thing but the truth. Show me anything that proves otherwise please….. I’m open. Recently…. within the last 30 years…. they have provided aid with international disaster rescue but at a limited level considering their resources. Why anyone thinks China would do anything to help other nations without receiving something in return is beyond me. It’s their culture to think of themselves as the center of the universe. Give me reason not to be cynical about the subject of China’s place in the world order. Ask them and they’ll tell you that their centuries of culture are superior to any other. Don’t even get me started on their Communist ideology fixation.

    • markl, + many , they don’t give a hoot about the rest of us. But one question I have are they really trying to expand? I think there are some fractions that want to but I don’t know how strong they are compared to the “traditionalists”. It is ( as are the Japanese) and interesting ( and dangerous) culture , I think we as westerns just aren’t aware of their thinking at all.

      • “…are they really trying to expand…” I don’t believe so. Their motivation is taking care of and controlling their own people. However that wouldn’t preclude defending a resource (food/minerals/etc) they were developing in another land for their people. The Chinese have never exhibited Imperialistic tendencies outside their land that I am aware of.

      • asybot

        Thank you for taking even a minute to think about it. China has been invaded many times by really brutal regimes and they are very sensitive about their territorial integrity. The USA has never been invaded, and the last time it happened successfully in the UK was “quite some months ago”. 1066 and all that. As a result China does not believe in the concept of collective security the way Europe does. Until the USA studies and accepts the concept, the unity and safety of nations will be difficult, or impossible. In short, mankind is not yet tired of war.

  14. You should have a look at the plans for greening beijing over the next 12 years. Also beware of hydro figures that end in Feb and coal that ends in feb. When I get a chance I will post my pics of beijing. One pic when they turn off the grid that powers industry and one pic after.

    • Thanks, Mosh. I look forwards to the pics. It will indeed be interesting to see if and how the Chinese deal with the air pollution over the next decade. The endemic corruption is a long-standing barrier to action.

      Regards,

      w.

      • It’s not so much corruption. They can with the flip of a switch make the air blue in beijing. Been there seen that. Amazing. And they know the cost. About 2 to 3 million local jobs.
        One other social cost of coal I hadn’t known about as well.
        Increased cases of depression. Think vitamin d.

        Strangely enough even the simplest peasant knows that coal , despite the tangible benefits it provides, has nasty deadly hidden costs. Hard to calculate easy to see. Impossible to deny if you live there or work there as I do.

    • When Beijing hosts any kind of major international conference or other gathering, they shut down industries in and around the city and make government workers take time off. The effect on air quality is prompt and dramatic.

    • Sorry guys you are both off the mark. The visible air pollution in Beijing is either from local cars or Hebei province where the industries to where they were removed. The biggest change in Beijing itself was putting everyone on cooking gas instead of ‘holey briquettes’.

      I have been in Beijing on many sunny clear days when industry was not ‘turned off’. Even this year.

  15. Willis Eschenbach

    Hi.
    mostly you seem to focus on power generation, steel production is also a large coal use for the Chinese.
    I’m not sure of the efficiency of their steel production furnaces.

    From personal experience I can say their steel and aluminum is of good quality (Bite tongue and gashing teeth)

    There are better links and sources then theses two below, but they are are I think, suitable for giving a general idea.

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/steel-production

    https://www.worldsteel.org/en/dam/jcr:140482e9-5875-4c2d-abc4-19767ed48437/fact_raw+materials_2016.pdf

    michael

    • Thanks, Mike. The only figure I quoted from their article was total coal use, which continues to rise. As you point out, some of this is for steel.

      No matter how it plays out, it certainly looks like coal will be in the mix for a good while …

      w.

    • Mike the Morlock:

      As you say, the PRC uses much coal for steel production. But coal’s domestic use for home heating and cooking is more important in the PRC.

      In the West coal is mostly used for power generation, but in the PRC most coal is used for domestic heating and cooking.

      This large domestic use is the reason for the severe air pollution in Chinese cities and why – contrary to some claims in this thread – fitting flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) to power stations will not noticeably affect that air pollution.

      Prior to the UK Clean Air Acts London was known as ‘The Smoke’ and suffered ‘pea souper’ smogs because its domestic heating and cooking was mostly coal fired. The problem was solved by replacement of sulphurous coal by natural gas and smokeless solid fuel for domestic heating and cooking. And FGD was not then adopted.

      Similary’, fitting FGD to power stations will make little difference to air pollution in Chinese cities. Significant reduction to that pollution requires plants for conversion of coal into smokeless solid fuel to replace sulphurous coal for domestic use and/or adoption of domestic downdraft stoves which consume their smoke.

      Richard

      • When I arrived in beijing the sky was clear and blue. My boss explained why. The grid serving industry was turned off. Hence there was no point in visiting our factory. A couple days later…bam we get back to the normal thick Grey soup. Factories back on. Woohoo.
        Home use of coal? Err. No. For beijing it’s got nothing to do with the problem.

      • Steven Mosher:

        Your assertion must be right because your boss said so.

        Urban smog levels vary with the weather.

        Richard

      • Steven,

        Domestic use of coal has something to do with Beijing’s smog problem. Although the regime has tried to curtail urban domestic use with varying degrees of success, it continues unabated in rural areas, including around Beijing.

      • Jun 30, 2016

        After blaming power plants and factories in Beijing and Hebei province, chuan’r salesmen, and automobiles, a new study appears to have pinpointed a major source of pollution: local citizens who cook at home and use certain fuels for home heating.

        Specifically, coal used for cooking and heating are contributors to both air pollution and health problems in households in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province.

        “These benefits would be largest in the winter heating season when severe air pollution occurs,” says Liu Jun of Peking University, in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

        “Household emissions, mostly from space heating and cooking with solid fuels, are an important and generally unrecognised source of ambient air pollution in China and other developing countries,” Liu says.

        SOURCE

        Some older numbers from 2000:

        The residential sector alone accounts for around 11% of total coal use and is responsible for a large proportion of ground-level air pollution as the coal burned contains high levels of sulphur and ash.

        OK, finally tracked down some real modern figures, from Nature magazine. This gets to the actual number of interest, which is not the amount of coal consumed residentially, but the amount of pollution produced residentially. Emphasis mine:

        Though efforts have been made to reduce emissions from industrial coal consumption, pollutant emission factors from household coal combustion (without any air pollution control devices) can be ~100 times higher than those from power plant coal boilers18. Contribution of primary PM2.5 emission from household coal combustion is more than 50% of total emission from all coal consumption in China since 2009.

        Since residential is given as 50% of the PM2.5 yer both right …

        Regards,

        w.

      • “Steven,

        Domestic use of coal has something to do with Beijing’s smog problem. Although the regime has tried to curtail urban domestic use with varying degrees of success, it continues unabated in rural areas, including around Beijing.”

        Weirdly I arrived I went to the forbidden city. Sky was a gorgeous blue.
        That soon changed.. Visits to our local factory were cancelled as the government had cut off electricity to the local industry to make the sky blue for official visits. Happens all the time

        http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/15/asia/china-air-pollution-study/a n

        Ah wait.

        here

        http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2076431/blue-skies-smog-and-back-again-what-week-beijing-looks

        I arrived march 10. On the 11th it was blue again.

        http://www.chinadailyasia.com/photo/2016-03/11/content_15399088_3.html

        On monday the 13th our factory was still off. On again the 14th.. ya.. you should see my pics from the 14th

        When I mentioned home use of coal to beijingers, they laughed. But then again, they run factories that are shuttered for official visits. Shuttered to make the sky blue.

        So home use? Beijing? maybe some. But not enough to turn the sky grey. Levels were unhealthy for sensitive people depending on the hour I saw levels down at 20-30. by the 14th we measured 80+
        depends on the time of the day as some folks ramp up factory use after nightfall.

      • Willis.

        The problem with those numbers is that coal doesnt produce 100% of all PM25

        coal produces 40% ( roughly ) of all the pm25 (50% by some estimates )

        Also you always have to be careful about industry versus home use studies. The main issue is how
        you account for precursors.

        basically this isnt something you can google your way to knowledge about.

      • “Since residential is given as 50% of the PM2.5 yer both right …”

        no

        “. Contribution of primary PM2.5 emission from household coal combustion is more than 50% of total emission from all coal consumption in China since 2009.”

        All coal is 40% of TOTAL pm25
        household coal is roughly over half of the 40% or say 20% of total.

        I’d have to read the study to see if they included precursors in the accounting of pm25 from stacks.

        Basically guys, coal is going to be put to death.

      • Steven Mosher April 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        Willis.

        The problem with those numbers is that coal doesnt produce 100% of all PM25

        coal produces 40% ( roughly ) of all the pm25 (50% by some estimates )

        I fear your reading skills are failing you. I didn’t say coal produced all of the PM2.5, nor did the Nature article. Instead, it said.

        Contribution of primary PM2.5 emission from household coal combustion is more than 50% of total emission from all coal consumption in China since 2009.

        This compares emissions from household coal combustion with all coal emissions. So I have no clue why you are addressing your strange claim to me, or why you think it is relevant in the slightest. Perhaps you should google a bit more …

        Also you always have to be careful about industry versus home use studies. The main issue is how you account for precursors.

        The nature study mentions the precursors of PM2.5, which are the volatile compounds that come off of the coal. These vary greatly depending on the type of coal.

        If you are claiming that the Nature study did NOT account for the precursors in the manner you approve of, you need to show that as well as demonstrate why your manner is the correct method. Since you’ve not done either one, I fear you’re not getting any traction at all with your precursors claim.

        basically this isn’t something you can google your way to knowledge about.

        Oh, please. You tell us an anecdote about a few days in Beijing and suddenly you’re the expert who knows more than Nature magazine? But heck, I’m interested. So let me invite you to break out your pearls of wisdom, the kind you can’t get from google. Tell us how the Nature study was wrong, point out where they didn’t consider the precursors in the correct Mosher style.

        Best regards,

        w.

      • Also, Mosh, I’ve brought actual numbers and a couple of scientific studies to the discussion. You’ve brought an anecdote of a one-time occurrence. Oh, and a lot of attitude.

        Some folks notice these things. Doesn’t make me right, to be sure, there are more rounds in the fight … but when one side has numbers and scientific studies and the other side has one lousy anecdote, I know how I’d score that round at least.

        w.

      • Willis Eschenbach and Steven Mosher:

        I had not thought my comment would arouse animosity and I apologise that it has.

        Willis, thankyou very much indeed for the reference to a recent Nature paper I had missed. It is useful to me (I am now conducting a peer review of a paper from an Eastern University concerning local coal usage and pollution).

        I do not dispute that industrial pollution exists and needs to be curtailed in China. My point was and is that urban pollution is more affected by urban domestic coal usage. There are several reasons for this including that industrial flues are tall stacks designed to disperse flue gases without ‘grounding’, but domestic flues are low level and their emissions ‘ground’.

        The low level of domestic emissions is why – in the illustration I provided – London smogs were eradicated by addressing domestic emissions and not industrial emissions.

        Richard

      • richardscourtney – April 1, 2017 at 5:12 am

        Prior to the UK Clean Air Acts London was known as ‘The Smoke’ and suffered ‘pea souper’ smogs because its domestic heating and cooking was mostly coal fired.

        Richard S,

        Did the Great Smoky Mountains ….. of North Carolina and Tennessee, …… get their name because of the vast number of early European “hillbilly” immigrants that settled therein …….. were all burning coal in their rustic log cabins for domestic heating and cooking purposes?

        Curious minds would like to know.

        A marine layer is an air mass which develops over the surface of a large body of water such as the ocean or large lake in the presence of a temperature inversion. The inversion itself is usually initiated by the cooling effect of the water on the surface layer of an otherwise warm air mass.[1] ” Read more @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_layer

        Is the cause of London’s fog problem the same as the cause of San Francisco’s fog problem?

        Curious minds would like to know.

      • Richard S, Mosher and Willis

        And, I guess the host in between. There is a little bit of guessing going on here. I hope no one is offended.

        I know a little about the largest single clean air programme (there are lots of programmes) in the Hebei area that surrounds Beijing, so here are some facts, alternative or not.

        Domestic coal combustion does not account for most coal consumption. It does account for most air pollution in lesser cities. It does not account for much of Beijing’s air quality problems. About 50% of Beijing’s PM2.5 arises from farms surrounding it. There are 18m farmers in Hebei alone. They plough, they reap, they raise dust. Another portion comes from the Gobi Desert. Another from local factories. The idea that ‘mankind’ turns switches and the air suddenly clears is not just dubious, it is misplaced confidence of god-like powers.

        The Jing-Jin-Ji region is flat, surrounded by mountains of 2.x sides, humid and has low wind particularly in the morning. Think LA Basin.

        The principle cause of bad air is domestic coal combustion which has been removed from Beijing long ago. They converted cooking to gas. Not so the other places though the gas network is extending all the time. Gas can be from coal, natural or biomass. Coal emissions are primarily evaporation of volatiles because the manner in which it is burned is inappropriate. There is no ‘inherent smoke’ in coal. The sulphur is, and it should be burned to SO2, not H2S, then it doesn’t smell. Concentrated SO2 is a problem, diluted SO2 is not in nearly all cases where domestic burners are the sources. Domestic stoves are accepted as ‘distributed sources’ and not subject to emission concentration rules because they are by their nature, pre-diluted.

        London’s coal fire-induced smog (foggy pea-soupers are natural events, let’s not confuse them) was also caused by poor combustion of cheap coal in fireplaces or stoves (mostly fireplaces, which are inefficient and smoky to boot). They solved the problem by removing coal from the fuel supply chain. Well, there were alternatives. One is to semi-coke the coal, which is that Germany did, and the other it to burn it properly. Another is to make briquettes (egg bricks, in German) with controlled contents.

        The only option for regions of the world that depend on coal are replacement and improved combustion. This is not only a Chinese dilemma, it is all the countries in Central Asia. For this reason there is a scientific cooperation agreement, both formal and informal, seeking break-through technologies that will burn a variety of coals far better, and these days, much cleaner than any modern power station when it comes to PM2.5. This has been achieved and field tested this past winter in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

        The Dutch group Clean Air led by the Chief Scientific Coordinator of Euro-Asian Respiratory Society has just reported (last night) that the personal exposure to smoke measured in the field from the new stove combustion systems has been reduced by between 95% and 99%. All the bench-testing is currently being done in Beijing though the development of these technologies has been a coordinated scientific collaboration between Mongolia, South Africa, China and Indonesia. It happens that Kyrgyzstan is leading with field work at the moment.

      • Willis

        You ask some good questions.

        “Is the cause of London’s fog problem the same as the cause of San Francisco’s fog problem?”

        Yup. One could say the ’cause’ of some city air problems is the lack of wind that day, because lots of cities are built in valleys protected by mountains. Stuttgart is one. but that evades the root issue, which is improper combustion.

        It is interesting that Europe did not solve the problem of smoky diesel engines by banning diesel. They improved the combustion system. Europe did remove the coal smoke problem by banning coal, because they had options. Now they want to insist (European advisors) that everyone else do the same. Well, things have moved along since Europe was in an air pollution crisis in the 50’s.

        Europeans want to finance and sell semi-coking technology to poor countries. So the Japanese. But testing shows that the cleanest combustion comes not from semi-coked and processed coal, but from sized, raw coal in the right combustors. These stoves sell for $160 in Bishkek right now. It is not about the fuel, it is about the burner.

        If the armchair critics can’t work out that an inversion and fog are fundamentally different from air pollution emitted by bad domestic combustion of coal, they are going to have to, please, stand aside and watch for a while as we get on with solving the problem.

        Blaming Beijing’s still, foggy autumn mornings on ‘coal’ is not helping.

      • Crispin in Waterloo but really in Muizenburg April 2, 2017 at 11:22 pm Edit

        Richard S, Mosher and Willis

        And, I guess the host in between. There is a little bit of guessing going on here. I hope no one is offended.

        I know a little about the largest single clean air programme (there are lots of programmes) in the Hebei area that surrounds Beijing, so here are some facts, alternative or not.

        … [much more good stuff] …

        Thanks, Crispin. Always good to hear from knowledgeable guys in the field.

        w.

      • Crispin in Waterloo but really in Muizenburg:

        You say

        Richard S, Mosher and Willis

        And, I guess the host in between. There is a little bit of guessing going on here. I hope no one is offended.

        Your guesses don’t offend me but your fabrications do.

        You assert

        The principle cause of bad air is domestic coal combustion which has been removed from Beijing long ago. They converted cooking to gas. Not so the other places though the gas network is extending all the time. Gas can be from coal, natural or biomass. Coal emissions are primarily evaporation of volatiles because the manner in which it is burned is inappropriate. There is no ‘inherent smoke’ in coal. The sulphur is, and it should be burned to SO2, not H2S, then it doesn’t smell. Concentrated SO2 is a problem, diluted SO2 is not in nearly all cases where domestic burners are the sources. Domestic stoves are accepted as ‘distributed sources’ and not subject to emission concentration rules because they are by their nature, pre-diluted.

        Firstly, I assume you intended to include ‘not’ in the first sentence of that paragraph because it does not make sense otherwise. And there is so much wrong with those assertions that there is insufficient space for a complete rebuttal here, but the following should suffice.

        In my first post in this thread I wrote

        This large domestic use is the reason for the severe air pollution in Chinese cities and why – contrary to some claims in this thread – fitting flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) to power stations will not noticeably affect that air pollution.

        That is not contentious. As recently as June 27, 2016 this report said

        China’s plans to curb Beijing’s health-damaging air by focusing on restricting emissions from power plants and vehicles may have limited impact if household use of coal and other dirty fuels is not also curtailed, according to a new study.

        You cannot have a clean outdoor environment if a large percentage of the population is burning dirty fuels in households several times a day

        , said Kirk Smith, a professor with the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health who co-led the study with Tong Zhu of Peking University and Denise Mauzerall of Princeton University.

        “The smoke may start indoors, but soon leaves the house and becomes a significant part of regional air pollution.”

        “We show that due to uncontrolled and inefficient combustion of solid fuels in household devices, emission reductions from the residential sector may have greater air quality benefits in the North China Plain, including Beijing, than reductions from other sectors,”

        the researchers wrote. Household uses include cooking and heating.

        Your claim that domestic coal combustion was “removed from Beijing long ago” is untrue unless you are claiming that last month is long ago.
        The gas replacement was obtained by replacing coal fired power stations with gas fired combined heat and power (CHP) power stations. This was a 5-year plan and in July 2012 Hong Feng, Beijing’s vice-mayor, said that under plans released in 2010, Beijing’s four remaining coal-burning power plants are due to switch over to natural-gas combined heat and power (CHP) systems by the winter of 2014 at the latest.

        However, the last of the new CHP power stations was completed THREE WEEKS AGO. On 20 March 2017 this report announced

        Beijing: The last large coal-fired power plant in Beijing has suspended operations, with the city’s electricity now generated by natural gas, the state news agency reported as smog enveloped the Chinese capital over the weekend.

        So, domestic heating in Beijing is being switched from coal to gas by using waste heat from gas-fired power stations to provide home heating, the power stations are fitted with FGD, and smog events still occur.

        I don’t know where you got the idea that domestic cooking has been switched to gas: perhaps you are claiming the traditional coal-fired domestic cooking facilities have been replaced by electric cookers powered from the gas-fired power stations? If so, then perhaps you could provide some evidence of the electric cooker sales.

        Your comments about the solution to London smogs iterates what I said. But my first post used that issue as an illustration of my main point which was

        Similary, fitting FGD to power stations will make little difference to air pollution in Chinese cities. Significant reduction to that pollution requires plants for conversion of coal into smokeless solid fuel to replace sulphurous coal for domestic use and/or adoption of domestic downdraft stoves which consume their smoke.

        The Chinese have attempted to by-pass that by use of gas as a substitute for coal in Beijing CHP power stations. However, smog events still occur and, as I have quoted, Smith, Tong & Mauzerall suggest the gas option is not sufficient and gas supplies and costs are becoming so problematic that they seem likely to prevent that gas option in other Chinese cities: as my first link says

        Hard to copy

        Beijing isn’t the only city looking to gas. Shanghai also has a good number of natural gas power plants, and Chongqing is trying to subsidise a switch over from coal. For the rest of China’s cities, Beijing’s policies may look like an easy route to bluer skies. But, away from the centre of government, the pro-gas lobby may have a harder time getting its way.

        A draft strategy for dealing with air pollution in the south Chinese city of Guangzhou from 2012 to 2016 proposes reducing levels of PM10, PM2.5, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide by 12%, 7%, 12% and 10% respectively on 2011 levels. But the costs involved in switching to gas – an important part of the strategy – have united the city’s power companies in opposition to the plan.

        Crispin, this is not the first time you have pretended knowledge of coal issues on WUWT: I remember when you made claims which demonstrated you thought coal gasification and coal gas modification are the same thing!

        I don’t know everything about coal science, but I know enough to recognise BS and to not need to hide my words behind an alias.

        I have gained my knowledge of coal science over half a century. I was a research scientist at the UK’s Coal Research Establishment for three decades and rose to be the Senior Materials Scientist for British Coal. When the UK coal industry was shut I became an independent consultant supplying information on the environmental issues of fossil fuel – especially coal – usage mostly to governments and including the Chinese. I wrote the Chapter on coal in Kempes Engineers Year Book and for over a decade I was a Contributing Technical Editor of CoalTrans International (the journal of the world’s international coal trade) where I was responsible for providing all information on environmental issues of coal mining, handling and usage and technologies for addressing those issues. UNESCO commissioned a paper on coal liquefaction from me and PZZK (the management association of Poland’s coal mining industry) gave me an award for services to Europe’s industries.
        I hope this is sufficient to demonstrate that I don’t “guess” about these matters because I don’t need to.

        Richard

  16. In 1994 we drove south from Nanning city in China, towards the Viet Nam border. The traffic in the opposite direction was punctuated by similar-looking, decrepit trucks painted green and carrying enough coal for it to spill over the edges now and then. On asking, the coal was from Viet Nam, headed for Shanghai. Lord knows how many tonnes were in transit at a given time. China was certainly hungry for coal then and it looks as if the trend for more is increasing. Australia is helping by shipping good quality coal with fewer nasties in it, like sulphur.
    Geoff.

  17. But! Chinese coal consumption fell for the third successive year in 2016.
    https://thinkprogress.org/with-millions-of-jobs-up-for-grabs-china-seizes-clean-tech-leadership-from-u-s-a37154d02d0

    You might also note electricity demand increased and that there is significant overcapacity, reducing use of some coal plants.

    This is a more accurate picture of Chinese power use…
    http://ceenews.info/en/power-statistics-china-2016-huge-growth-of-renewables-amidst-thermal-based-generation/

    China has cancelled over 130 coal plants in the last 8 months… this 103 join 30 cancelled last autumn

    So what does all that mean? It means china is transforming quickly and at a massive scale. It has already reigned in coal plant expansion and is going full on for renewables. Picking out the percentage rate is not an indication of continuing coal growth at the old rate..

    It really is a world leader now… and it will gain vast economic advantage from is transformation.

    • Griff, as usual your news from China is less clear than you think. From the article:

      Despite the government announcement, it is far from clear that the Chinese jurisdictions most affected by the directive, including Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Xinjiang, will actually take the politically costly move of halting construction, laying off workers and canceling contracts, said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University in southeastern China.

      Go figure …

      w.

      • I think that was my point?

        That China is changing rapidly and simplistic statements – and certainly the old ‘power station a week’ – do not apply.

        Is there any doubt they are making a determined attempt to reduce new coal plants, install masses of new renewables and non-fossil fuel power and are using less coal?

      • Griff April 2, 2017 at 8:44 am

        I think that was my point?

        That China is changing rapidly and simplistic statements – and certainly the old ‘power station a week’ – do not apply.

        Is there any doubt they are making a determined attempt to reduce new coal plants, install masses of new renewables and non-fossil fuel power and are using less coal?

        There is no doubt that they SAY they are making a determined attempt, and their words seem to have convinced you.

        However, as my quote above shows, the Chinese SAYING they are doing something is different from the Chinese DOING something.

        w.

    • Coal production is down slightly because of the economic downturn, not because the Communist regime has any interest in combating the non-problem of “climate change”.

    • This is a crock. Chinese factories, and I have been in many, are plagued by rolling blackouts and planned outages. Many have their own backup Diesel generators to maintain production while the local grid is down. Propoganda is everywhere, particularly from NYT. Grey Lady Down, again…

    • Griff, as usual you don’t know the subject upon which you are speculating. It is good that you are reading more. Every little bit helps.

      The photo is useful. It shows a power station emitting water vapour from four stacks (coal contains hydrogen and produces copious amounts of water vapour, condensing into ice particles on a nearly windless, extremely cold day.

      The cooling towers are also emitting a lot of steam. There is no way to determine from the photo if there is a lot or no PM2.5, and whether it is fly ash or partially burned coal. Nothing can be gleaned from the photo other than it is a really cold day.

      People heat the city homes (apartments) and offices and factories using combined heat and power hot water distribution systems. They are extremely efficient if the pipes are well-insulated (which is not the case in the old former Soviet Republics). Wind power is rejected in winter because the grid and the wind are not up to moving that much power. Homes are heated by the power stations without any electricity use at all, based on the system in that photo.

      CHP plants are essential to modern life in Asia. They run on coal and the emissions are reduced year by year as they are replaced or retrofitted. Russia has hundreds of these giant systems.

      Posts above already provided information on the tiny amount of Chinese renewables generated in an economically unsustainable manner, just as in Waterloo.

  18. to heck with Chinese coal. More pictures of Fiji PLEASE.

    Meanwhile the impact of global warming has driven the penguins entirely off the antarctic…

    • That looks like “Boulders”, a park just down the road from here. Very nearby there are hundreds of holes dug in the sand with nesting penguins at the bottom of each.

  19. In the US, however, being selfish is a mixed bag. Although public generosity is high in the US, you don’t get to be rich without a certain amount of selfishness.

    Willis Eschenbach, just how selfish are you? Are you rich? How much of your personal income goes to charity? It has been my experience that people who use a pejorative to describe others are actually describing themselves. To clear selfish is a term greedy socialists use to describe everyone else.

    • Flyoverbob April 1, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Willis Eschenbach, just how selfish are you?

      Last time I checked, I registered 4.16 on the selfishometer … how about you?

      Are you rich?

      I am in the top 1% of the globe in terms of net worth. But then remember, if your net worth is greater than $0, you’re richer than ~ 40% of the globe …

      How much of your personal income goes to charity?

      Pass. I believe that it’s called “personal” income for a reason …

      It has been my experience that people who use a pejorative to describe others are actually describing themselves. To [be] clear selfish is a term greedy socialists use to describe everyone else.

      Bob, by your own criteria, you have just declared to the entire web that you are a “greedy socialist” … funny how life works out.

      w.

      • Also, if you earn more than just around $32,000 – $34,000 per year you are in the global top 10%

      • In further support of Willis on the charity thing, a) it is not a contest and b) donating one’s time and effort is often far more useful to both the donor and recipient that money will ever be. Let’s start asking how much of our time in hours per year is spend in service to others without expectation of recompense or implied obligation.

        Robbing the masses and accumulating a fortune and ‘giving some back’ is hardly a virtuous life. Life is not like playing “Careers” where you can buy fame and happiness.

      • How exactly do you rob the masses by producing a product that they want to buy, at a price they want to pay?
        When it comes to robbing the masses, nobody competes with government.

    • By public charity, do you refer to government transfer programs?
      If so, that’s not charity. It’s not charity until you are spending your own time and money.

  20. The company that I used to work for made the motors and controls for a new rock crusher and conveyor system for one of china’s largest coal mines. It was shown that using the conveyor to remove the overburden increased production by a large margin. They are ordering more systems.

  21. I thought the Three Gorges Dam was to supply a lot of hydroelectric power. I guess not enough to reduce coal use.

    • The Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2012, you will note that coal use went down, at least as a percentage, from 2011-2015. Probably a much bigger impact than all the renewables China may have produce. However much power the dam produces, its’ effect is now baked in. The increase is going forward.

  22. “You don’t get to be rich without a certain amount of selfishness.”

    In most cases, I don’t agree with that conclusion. If you own a commercial business, you only get rich by providing goods/services that have a greater perceived value to the buyer than to the seller. That is why the buyer voluntarily chooses to transact. Apple having warehouses full of whatever gizmo they are currently hawking has almost no value to Apple, but they have enormous value to people who want to buy the latest gizmos.

    You get rich as a hedge fund manager trading securities because you are better at allocating capital and identifying value than your peers. Institutional investors are willing to give you money to invest on their behalf and let you participate in the returns you generate. The better you are at it, the more money you will be given to manage. If you suck at it, they will withdraw their money from you and give it to someone who is better and you’ll have to find another line of work.

    So whether you get rich in a traditional commercial business enterprise or by trading financial assets, it is not selfishness that made you rich. It was providing a good/service someone else wanted to voluntarily pay for.

    Don’t get me wrong. There ARE charlatans who get rich preying on people. But they are the exception. You seem to suggest they are the rule. I don’t agree.

    • Selfishness or self-interest?

      It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

      Adam Smith

      • Selfishness is one of the nebulous terms that those who are consumed with envy like to use.

  23. “Now, everyone knows the law of supply and demand. Per the article quoted above, China imports on the order of a QUARTER-BILLION METRIC TONNES of coal per year. If there are more global customers for the coal, that immutable law says that with increasing demand, coal prices will go up.

    So should we be surprised when China tries in every way it can to discourage the use of coal?”

    Exactly. Less global demand for coal means China can get it cheaper. I recognized this years ago.

    • http://reneweconomy.com.au/china-to-phase-out-coal-imports-78992/

      “…the rapid increase in China’s coal prices since June 2016 was mainly driven by shrinking domestic supply due to China’s effort to cut overcapacity in the coal industry.
      In order to stabilize coal prices, the Chinese government is taking measures to increase supply and is encouraging coal and power companies to sign long-term supply contracts.
      In the long term, China’s coal demand will stabilize at around 4 billion tonnes, which can be fully met by domestic supply. As China reaches a balance in domestic coal demand and supply, the coal price and coal imports will decline.”

      (above dated last December)

  24. In the US, however, being selfish is a mixed bag. Although public generosity is high in the US, you don’t get to be rich without a certain amount of selfishness.

    I am interested in this conclusion, because there is a philosophical system that exalts the quality of the selfishness of the individual as the only motive for doing well in a free trade economic model. I am sure I do not need to name names.

    I want to offer an alternative view. All people are endowed with rationality and free will. The essence of rationality is to plan ahead and act in order to accomplish a goal. If this is successful, the individual is able to support their loved ones, enjoy the satisfaction of employment, offer something others appreciate, and perhaps even become wealthy. I do not think this is selfishness, but is the very essence of first reasoning and then acting freely with a desired goal in mind.

    ref below

    • We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life.

      But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

      Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

      ~Frederic Bastiat

  25. In general, liberals define selfishness as having more than the liberal believes you should be allowed to have.
    Which usually works out to having more than the liberal has.

Comments are closed.