China, as you would expect with all those people, is the world's biggest energy guzzler. They are also the world's biggest polluter.
Nothing wrong with being the biggest energy user, it would be elitist to declare a hard stop on air conditioners now that Chinese people can afford them, but with 75% of that energy coming from coal, which is cheap but dirtier than natural gas, they would like to see about ways to get cleaner. Solar is fine for selling to the West, who happily subsidize it to make Chinese companies rich, but for their own needs fracking is probably the way to go.
'Fracking' is short for using pressurized water mixed with chemicals to fracture soft shale deep underground and then pump out natural gas trapped inside. Thanks to fracking, and our keen economic policies which have relieved us of so many people driving to jobs, America is back at 1992 levels of CO2 emissions and coal usage is back at 1983 levels. That is a big environmental win, though environmentalists who used to love natural gas now hate it - and hydroelectric power too.
But China has a problem America does not have - a lack of water in the places where they can get natural gas. Fracking takes a lot of water, though that may be a technology issue rather than a resource one; semiconductor manufacturing used to waste huge quantities of water but as the demand for computers ramped up, so did recycling, and now TSMC and others are positively Muad' Dib-ish in their ability to recycle what used to be waste water.(1) That is an approach that may work in China as well.
Yang Fuqiang, with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Beijing, says they can avoid the controversy that America has because "Chinese environmental groups still don’t know much about the technology", but neither do American ones and that hasn't stopped anyone from claiming it leads to cancer and headaches and earthquakes and even the Earth deflating.
(1) It isn't just awesome corporate companies recycling water efficiently, you can do your part as well. This Raincatch coat created by design students Hyeona Yang and Joshua Noble transforms collected rain water into the purified drinking kind.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Ghost Light From Dead Galaxies - A Hubble Halloween
- Greenpeace Says Its GMOs Are Better Than Science's GMOs, Still Hates Golden Rice
- Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk By Sleeping With Lots Of Women - But Not Men
- Homo Floresiensis: Hobbit Species Continues To Provoke Questions About Human Evolution
- Everyone Hates Daylight Savings Time - But It Might Improve Public Health
- Okay With Disgusting Images? You Vote This Way 95 Percent Of The Time
- Supersonic Laser-Propelled Aircraft Get A Step Closer
- "Twelve years in a major urban public school system, and I couldn't once bring myself to eat a school..."
- "Hardly a day goes by without some creative new take on the eternal Evil White Man meme. Without..."
- "There would be no controversy if it were all balloons and ponies stories like that. But I hope..."
- "Let's talk about this disaster: I lost a course at the university where I work and became ineligible..."
- "Partisan nastiness doesn't advance dialogue. We are all in this together. You asked for solutions..."
- Battle of Britain: NGOs and scientists clash over proposal to loosen EU GMO restrictions
- Genetically modified clean energy from bacteria
- Designer babies: You can screen for cystic fibrosis but intelligence is a ways off
- Science as profane: What superstition of 1752 and 2014 share in common
- What’s so “natural” about “natural crop breeding”?
- Worried you have cancer? Take a Google pill!