China’s Green Energy Dreams: Don’t Look Now, But. . .

Boy is this going to ruin Tom Friedman’s day: news out of China is that they have an even bigger Solyndra problem than Obama.  From the New York Times news pages:

China’s strategy is in disarray.  Though worldwide demand for solar panels and wind turbines has grown rapidly over the last five years, China’s manufacturing capacity has soared even faster, creating enormous oversupply and a ferocious price war.

The result is a looming financial disaster, not only for manufacturers but for state-owned banks that financed factories with approximately $18 billion in low-rate loans and for municipal and provincial governments that provided loan guarantees and sold manufacturers valuable land at deeply discounted prices.

China’s biggest solar panel makers are suffering losses of up to $1 for every $3 of sales this year, as panel prices have fallen by three-fourths since 2008. Even though the cost of solar power has fallen, it still remains triple the price of coal-generated power in China, requiring substantial subsidies through a tax imposed on industrial users of electricity to cover the higher cost of renewable energy.

Friedman complains that the U.S. is “losing the clean energy race,” but as my pal Ken Green says, if the race is to see who can drive off a cliff first and fastest, that’s the kind of race you want to lose.

Just wondering: if Friedman had been around in 1970, I’m sure he would have said the U.S. was in danger of “losing the race” to build passenger supersonic jets.  Look how much we suffered by letting the Europeans corner the market on the Concorde!!

Meanwhile, almost as if Friedman wants to provide Power Line with comedy material, his latest China-is-awesome column out this week has this gem:

“Success in the ‘American Dream,’ ” notes Peggy Liu, the founder of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, or Juccce, “used to just mean a house, a family of four, and two cars, but now it’s escalated to conspicuous consumption as epitomized by Kim Kardashian. China simply cannot follow that path — or the planet will be stripped bare of natural resources to make all that the Chinese consumers want to consume.”

This passage about the egregiousness of the American lifestyle goes very nicely alongside Tom Friedman’s house, which could comfortably house all of the Kardashians with room to spare:

Turns out we’ve noted Friedman’s carbon footprint hypocrisy before.


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