10 november 2009

[Read to the end. Despite the 'Clean Coal' rhetoric and the apparent desire of energy companies and their political spokespersons in the U.S., The Netherlands and elsewhere to sell CCS technology to China, it seems increasingly probable that the Chinese have correctly assessed CCS as a non-starter and are forging ahead with their own wind and solar programs. As other articles on this news site have made evident, CCS is still experimental, expensive, uses 25% more coal, cannot be commercially available before 2030, and entails such long-term monitoring risks that no insurance company will cover them and no company will undertake large-scale deployment without government guarantees of liability in case of disaster. Considering the powerful industry lobbying that has induced widespread political and institutional support for CCS (IEA, G8, EU, US), one can only view it as a desperate effort by carbon energy giants to stave off the end of their era by promising CCS retrofitting for "Clean Coal", while meanwhile building as many dirty CO2-emitting coal plants as possible.]

Deal to boost clean energy projects

By Edward Luce in Washington, Financial Times, November 10 2009

Barack Obama and Hu Jintao are set to unveil a deal to boost clean energy co-operation between the two countries in Beijing next week, writes Edward Luce in Washington. But the agreement, which will include joint research projects on carbon capture technology and electric cars, is unlikely to include a breakthrough on climate change before the Copenhagen summit in December, say officials.

White House officials say that the emerging deal to enhance bilateral clean energy co-operation will top the list of "deliverables" of Mr Obama's first state visit to China as president. Many had been hoping that the US could use the moment to cut through the impasse between the developed and developing world ahead of Copenhagen, given that the US and China account for roughly 40 per cent of global carbon emissions.

That looks unlikely to happen. Instead, both sides will stress the potential for co-operation on producing breakthrough technologies, particularly in the area of carbon sequestration given that both rely on coal for internal power generation. "It makes huge sense for the US and China to work together on clean coal," said a senior US official.

But analysts caution that the US and China have a history of joint ventures on alternative energy that were initiated by Hank Paulson, George W. Bush's last Treasury secretary, but which failed to take off.

They also point out that China is racing ahead in its commercial development of wind turbine, solar panel and other green energy capacity. "The incentive for China to go big with the US is not as strong as it used to be," said an expert who advises the US on clean energy co-operation with China.

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