China Builds 24 Billion Watts of Solar in Just Two Months as Trump Attacks Renewables and Defends Coal

Between the present U.S. Executive Branch and China, we can really tell which government is serious about being a moral leader on the critical issue of climate change and which government continues to wallow in the land of backwards thinking and heartless denial. For as the Trump Administration is doing everything it can to defend the coal-fired ‘Satanic mills’ that are so radically transforming the world for the worst while attacking renewable energy, China is continuing to build the solar farms that are capable of replacing them like gangbusters.

More than 10 Billion Watts Per Month

In June, China added a staggering 13.5 billion watts (gigawatts) of solar panels to its present large and growing solar fleet. In July, the country added another 10.5 gigawatts of solar. The two month total of 24 gigawatts is more than half the size of the total U.S. solar fleet of 44.4 gigawatts. In other words, China just added more solar capacity in two months than the U.S. added in all of the past two years.

(New solar market guidance for China shows an expected 180 to 230 GW of solar capacity by 2020. The present build rate indicates that even this range may be conservative. Image source: Renew Economy.)

As a result of this amazing build pace, China has already smashed through its 2020 solar goal of 105 gigawatts. The country now boasts a solar fleet of 112.3 billion watts. Long range forecasters now expect China to approach or exceed 200 gigawatts of solar by 2020 — or more than 20 percent the size of China’s present (and shrinking) coal fleet. And if China somehow maintained its amazing rate of solar installation during June and July, the country would exceed 200 gigawatts of national solar capacity by May of 2018.

No one presently expects that to happen. But China has surprised the world before. This is exactly the kind of surprise that a world wallowing in the ever-worsening impacts of climate change so desperately needs.  And the irony is that this new hope for rapid carbon emissions reductions is coming from China. Not the supposedly enlightened and progressive United States which is presently afflicted by the absolute worst form of backward-looking executive leadership imaginable.

Moral Leadership on Climate Change or Loss Thereof

I’m betting the people of the U.S. don’t want to be led down the path toward a new dark age of every worsening climate change and a fossil fuel resource curse write large by Trump. That we would much rather do our part to save the world from ramping climate destruction while taking leadership roles in the very new industries that U.S. innovation helped to create.

(Whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic about Earth’s climate sensitivity, the pathway toward worst case climate change [otherwise known as business as usual] lies in a world that continues to burn coal. So Trump’s defense of coal and attacks on renewables are, in essence, a defense of the worst case when it comes to climate change related disasters. Image source: The Brookings Institute.)

So what do we do?

We let the world know that Trump’s brand of leadership is not acceptable to Americans. That the true government leaders in the U.S. are those like California and Vermont and New York. That we support the future industries like those being pioneered by Musk and so many others. That we do not fear the future so much as recognize and embrace its mighty and admittedly difficult challenges. That we rise to the occasion by fighting for carbon emissions reductions and we do not falter.

Links:

China Added 10.5 Gigawatts of Solar in July

Trump’s Attack on Renewable Energy

Scott Pruitt’s Big Coal Lie

Renew Economy

The Brookings Institute

Human Greenhouse Gas Emissions Following Path of Worst Case Climate Change

TimeBombFig16

(Image Source: James Hansen)

In 2011, the world emitted more than 10 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere and the amount for 2012 is likely to exceed 11 billion tons. This massive pace of carbon emissions puts the world directly on the worst-case path of human-caused climate change. This path, modeled by IPCC as the A1FI is the highest CO2 emissions scenario resulting in the most global temperature increase and/or the most drastic alterations to the global environment.

A1FI model range starts in 2000 and, as you can see, the pace of CO2 emission increase follows directly along this worst-case path through 2011. What this also shows is that the world, overall, has neither pursued a balance (A1B) between fossil fuels and renewables or a transition (A1T) from fossil fuel to renewable energy. Instead, the rate of global carbon emissions increase since 2000 shows that the world has chosen to emphasize fossil fuel use and chosen not to invest in alternative energy to the degree that it replaces carbon-based fuels.

This is not to say that certain countries haven’t made great strides. But it does show that, overall, the world has failed to put in place the investments and technologies that will allow it to transition away from fossil fuels that dump massive volumes of dangerous CO2 into the atmosphere. One can see the preference the world has placed on continued fossil fuel burning by looking at the discrepancy between worldwide subsidies of oil vs worldwide renewable energy subsidies. On the one hand, oil subsidies are in the range of 500 billion dollars each year while worldwide renewable energy subsidies are less than 1/5 that number.

And what does all this emphasis on fossil fuels buy us, in the end? According to A1FI climate models, world temperatures increase by an average of 6.4 degrees Celsius by 2100 to devastating and terrible effect. This ‘catastrophic high burn’ scenario would leave posterity with a hellish world, one that grows steadily more hellish until global temperature increases top 12 degrees Celsius by 2300.

My view, is that this future is not worth one cent, much less the 500 billion dollars plus we pay each year to subsidize it.

 

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