David Victor on China's Gas Push
Can China Follow U.S. Shift from Coal to Gas?
Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times
Here’s an effort to look ahead from a promising American environmental trend to a prospect for the same in China, starting with two observations.
First, the combination of abundant and cheap natural gas and tightening regulations on coal-burning power plants in the United States — along with a general intensification of efforts to conserve energy — has led with unpredicted speed to a remarkable, and likely persistent, drop in coal-based electricity generation and related decline in emissions of the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.
Second, several years ago, I heard that teams of Chinese engineers were spending months in Oklahoma to learn about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a method for liberating gas and oil from previously untappable shale deposits. More recently, reports showed that China — which was once considered gas poor — now has estimated volumes greater than those of the United States (which are, as you know, enormous). This week China signaled that it may indeed be gearing up for an ambitious gas push. An article in China Daily, “Will China embrace a shale gas boom?,” essentially answers its headline question with a resounding yes.Click here to read the full article.
David G. Victor is a professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and director of the School’s Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. His research focuses on how the design of regulatory law affects issues such as environmental pollution and the operation of major energy markets. He is the author of Global Warming Gridlock, named one of The Economist's best science and technology books of 2011.