Hu Jintao's speech on climate change at the UN by mattsteinglass
September 22, 2009, 10:52 am
Filed under: Environment

Live-blogging this is the most tedious live-blogging ever in the history of the blogosphere.

That said: Hu just said developed countries need to subsidize the greening of the energy economies in the developing world. This is a pretty significant point. At the GreenBiz 2009 conference here in Hanoi last week, a questioner asked several senior officials from the Ministry of Planning and Investment why the country was going towards nuclear rather than doing more immediately to build out wind power. The response was quite forceful: where does the money come from? Vietnam sells electricity to consumers cheap, at about 5 cents per kilowatt hour. It can do that because it has huge amounts of installed hydropower. But major new wind farms will produce power for 10 cents a kilowatt hour. At current prices, that means the government would have to be subsidizing a 1000-Megawatt wind farm to the tune of around $100 million a year. Vietnam doesn’t have the cash for something like that. This kind of shift is going to have to require, in the long run, that Vietnamese consumers start paying more for their power. But in the meantime, the people who have the money are going to have to pay for the greening of the global economy.

Further: “We will endeavor to cut carbon emissions by a notable margin by 2020 from their levels in 2007. Endeavor to cut portion of fossil fuel by 15%. Increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares from 2005 levels.” — At least Hu has some numbers. Obama had none. But “endeavor” isn’t “commit”.


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