Skip to content

AEP’s Chinese Delusion

December 17, 2015

By Paul Homewood  




AEP is off on one of his global warming rants again, trying to persuade us that China is going to make drastic reductions in use of fossil fuels:


Whether or not you accept the hypothesis of man-made global warming is irrelevant. The Chinese Academy and the Politburo do accept it. So does President Xi Jinping, who spent his Cultural Revolution carting coal in the mining region of Shaanxi. This political fact is tectonic for the global fossil industry and the economics of energy.

Until last Saturday, it was an article of faith among Western climate sceptics and some in the fossil industry that China would never sign up to the COP21 accord in Paris or accept the "ratchet" of five-year reviews.

They have since fallen back to a second argument, claiming that the deal is meaningless because China will not sacrifice coal-driven growth to please the West, and without China the accord unravels since it now emits as much CO2 as the US and Europe combined.

This political judgment was perhaps plausible three or four years ago in the dying days of the Hu Jintao era. Today it is clutching at straws….

Coal, oil and gas companies and their investors should assume that China’s leaders meant what they said in Paris, and therefore that the balance of political power in the world has swung towards drastic reductions in fossil fuel use, and that negative net CO2 emissions by 2070 is on the cards.


According to him, China in fact is already building massive amounts of renewable capacity:





Conveniently he forgets to show the whole picture!





AEP always likes to throw in a few big numbers, to impress readers who know no better:


China invested $90bn in renewable energy last year and is already the superpower of low-carbon industries. It installed more solar in the first quarter than currently exists in France.

China installed a record 23 gigawatts (GW) of windpower in 2014.


Based on current levels of capacity loading, the extra wind capacity will produce about 30 TWh/year, about 0.5% of total electricity generation. As for solar, the extra capacity put in last year will yield even less, just 11 TWh.

It is true, of course, that China has spent a lot on new hydro capacity, and will continue to spend more on this and, notably, on new nuclear. But the real reason behind this is the country’s voracious appetite for more and more energy.





Inadvertently perhaps, AEP puts his finger on China’s real motive:


Isabel Hilton from China Dialogue says the energy shift has reached a point where Beijing has a vested commercial interest in holding the world to the Paris deal. “The Chinese think they can dominate low-carbon technologies,” she said.


As we know, China already dominates the solar panel market, and would benefit hugely from an increase in global demand. Similarly with the rare earth metals needed for wind turbines.

And, of course, they are already involved with the next stage of nuclear development in the UK.

Still, AEP might be right, in which case I suggest we suspend our decarbonisation plans and reinstate them when the Chinese start theirs!

  1. Bloke down the pub permalink
    December 17, 2015 2:42 pm

    Confusing capacity with production again. From the photo he uses, I very much doubt that the turbines on the down-wind end of that wind farm will produce anything at all.

    • December 17, 2015 4:14 pm

      That’s exactly what struck me also. Perhaps those clever Chinese were simply testing wind shadow.

  2. NeilC permalink
    December 17, 2015 2:56 pm

    Like many churnalists these days, barring a very few, he doesn’t do fact checking before putting pen to paper, or fingers to key board. As a telegraph subscriber for decades I am becoming more and more disgruntled with the quality of reporting on all things weather and climate related.

    Thank goodnes we still have people like Messers Booker, Delingpole, Lord Ridley and of course your good self who can research topics and find the real truth.

  3. December 17, 2015 3:37 pm

    And, of course, they are already involved with the next stage of nuclear development in the UK.

    Modular, portable nuke package plants was always the goal. It was just a matter of softening up the masses for its entry. Can you tell me who China is partnering with in the UK ? A link would be wonderful.

  4. December 17, 2015 3:48 pm

    The link below is good for showing and discussing Chinese air pollution, which has very little to do with coal-fired power stations. In fact it is more of those stations that they need, plus natural gas, which is what saved London from smog in the 1950s:

    • William Abbott permalink
      December 17, 2015 4:18 pm

      You are spot-on in identifying China’s air pollution primary sources. It isn’t electric production. BTW it is as bad as they say: Last winter when I was at the Beijing airport it was smoggy even inside the terminal. You could see it. You could smell it. You could feel it.

      AEP dwells in the fever swamps when it comes to many things. Nowhere does his article address the intermittency issue of wind and solar. Other articles AEP dismisses intermittency as inconsequential because advanced batteries are coming and we will just solve the problem through storage.

      One thing he does touch on is demographics. A falling population will result in falling demand. The Chinese fell for the very Western idea that they ought to impose draconian controls on population growth. The disastrous slow-motion consequences of that ill-advised decision will define China in the coming decades.

      It is possible that some important Chinese believe that Carbon Dioxide is the root cause of pollution and also CO2 is the gnostic catalyst of eminent doom. Communism and population control are probably the most destructive ideas the West could offer China and the Chinese tried them both. Opium of course was another Western ‘gift’. Europeans leftys are the only people who drink the AGW kool-aid. AEP is the Kool-aid wino.

  5. markl permalink
    December 17, 2015 4:29 pm

    The Warmist Cult will spin anything and everything to make it appear China is joining their religion. Even when China declared they would do nothing except increase CO2 output until 2030 before making a decision the propaganda machine hailed it as a win and claimed they signed on. When you control the media you can do that.

  6. December 18, 2015 12:28 am

    I couldn’t find the chart, above, showing China’s primary energy consumption according to the power source on the website linked to, but I did find this info (link below) on BP’s website, and posted it under the Telegraph article as follows:
    AEP: “China invested $90bn in renewable energy last year and is already the superpower of low-carbon industries. It installed more solar in the first quarter than currently exists in France.”

    Ninety billion dollars sounds like a lot of money to me – hell, it’s an unimagineable amount of money, to me – but let’s put it in perspective, eh?

    Scroll down to Page 41 in this pdf file, and it shows the primary energy consumption for China in the years 2013 and 2014, converted to the amount of energy equivalent in millions of tonnes of oil.

    In 2013, China’s total primary energy consumption was equivalent to 2898.1 million tonnes of oil. Of that total, the equivalent of 46.1 million tonnes was sourced from renewables.

    In 2014, total PEC equivalent rose to 2972.1 million tonnes of oil. Of that total, the equivalent of 53.1 million tonnes was sourced from renewables.

    Put it another way;

    in 2013, China sourced approx. 1.59% of its PEC from renewables.
    in 2014, China sourced approx. 1.79% of its PEC from renewables.

    Not quite so impressive as AEP suggests, eh?

    • December 18, 2015 10:15 am


      Another way to look at it is that China’s electricity generation is about 17 times the UK’s. So $90bn is the equivalent of $5bn in UK terms, or £3bn – enough for 2 gas power stations!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: