China’s Claytons’ Carbon Cap

Ken Stewart, March 2011

Four times I heard on ABC radio this morning, confirmed by a Google search, that China has unveiled a plan to produce 11% of its power from non-fossil (i.e. nuclear) fuels by 2015, and to cap its energy consumption from fossil fuels at 4 billion tonnes of coal equivalent.   Wow!  And just in time to shame Australians who aren’t keen on Julia Gillard’s (or anyone’s ) Carbon Tax.

Except this is not a Carbon Tax, but government regulation.  Now what was it the Opposition was proposing?

I thought I’d run the old Reality Check calculator over these reported figures.

In 2009 energy consumption was about 3.06 billion tonnes of coal equivalent, but by 2010 it was up to 3.25 billion.

By 2015 China will cap its fossil fuel energy consumption at 4 billion tonnes of coal equivalent.

That’s an increase of  “only” 23% in 5 years.   Up by nearly a quarter.

Some cap.

Compare that with Australia’s 2008-2009 figures:  using the approximate conversion factor of 1 tonne of coal = 29.3 Gigajoules, about 0.197 billion tonnes of coal equivalent (source: ABARE).

That’s right, China will increase its fossil fuel use by three and a half times Australia’s annual total.

It’s the cap you have when you’re not having  a cap.

And no doubt the Greens and ALP will hail this as a reason to introduce the Carbon Tax.

2 Responses to “China’s Claytons’ Carbon Cap”

  1. val majkus Says:

    thanks Ken, I’ve put a link on Dr Marohasy’s blog under Pondering the Carbon Tax

  2. John Trigge Says:

    Where will China get a lot of its coal from to achieve this ‘cap’ – Australia, of course.

    Perhaps the pollies might argue that Australia is not selling coal overseas as the coal mines are increasingly being bought by China/India/etc:

    From The Australian 22Dec10
    “The IEA’s projections underpin the growing push by China and India to secure long-term coal supplies from around the world. As part of that drive, Chinese and Indian private and state-owned corporations are seeking to invest in Australian coal projects.
    Two of the most recent Indian investment examples are last week’s move by Lanco Infratech to buy Griffin Coal’s thermal coal assets near Collie in Western Australia for about $850 million, and the Adani Group’s $2.9 billion cash-and-royalty deal in August to purchase Linc Energy’s Galilee coal tenements in Queensland.
    The world’s largest coal producer, Coal India Ltd, is also on the hunt for Australian mines, with Peabody Energy’s Wilkie Creek mine in Queensland a possible investment. CIL is held 90 per cent by the Indian government.
    Late last year, China’s Yanzhou Coal Mining agreed to pay $3.5 billion for Felix Resources, which produces thermal and coking coal from four sites in New South Wales and Queensland.
    Another Chinese player, Citic Resources Holdings, has a stake in Macarthur Coal, a coking and thermal coal operation in Queensland.
    In New South Wales, Chinese state-owned Shenhua Watermark hopes to begin production from an open-cut coal mine near Gunnedah in 2013. Shenhua agreed in 2008 to pay $600 million to explore and develop the Watermark project.”

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