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China To Close 2,000 Factories In Energy Crackdown

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the anti-stimulus dept.

Power 242

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has published a list of 2,087 steel mills, cement works and other energy-intensive factories required to close by September 30 after discussions with provincial and municipal officials to identify industrial operations with outdated, inefficient technology. The goal of the factory closings is 'to enhance the structure of production, heighten the standard of technical capability and international competitiveness and realize a transformation of industry from being big to being strong,' the ministry says. The current Chinese five-year plan calls for using 20 percent less energy this year for each unit of economic output than in 2005 but surging production by heavy industry since last winter has put in question China's ability to meet this target. In addition to the energy-efficiency objective in the current five-year plan, a plan announced by President Hu Jintao late last year called for China to reduce its carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels."

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Meanwhile, here in the West... (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33202630)

The $€£ is still king.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (4, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | about 4 years ago | (#33202706)

The $€£ is still king.

Even if this was intended trolling (I don't think it is), it is an insightful point. For as much as American's rag on China as a country and their countless instances of unethical this and that, parent is correct in that here the $€£ really is king. We do not seem to have any vision when it comes to things like alternative energy, reducing our energy consumption, and industrial efficiency. Many, many businesses just keep chugging along, consuming more and more and more energy to make more and more and more money. Read the comments here [slashdot.org] for a better glimpse. Exponential growth is not sustainable.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | about 4 years ago | (#33202808)

Their is nothing wrong with pursing the $€£, the problem is being short sighted about it. If a company is only concerned about this quarter or this year they will never invest in the future and eventually be over taken by those that do. Refurbishing factories to be more efficient is expensive in the short term but is usually a good idea in the long run. Investing in research is expensive in the short term but can lead to major profits in the future. You are right exponential growth is not sustainable but continuous growth can continue on for much longer if it is planed for.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (2, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | about 4 years ago | (#33203286)

You're missing the point.

China is doing this to improve their image. Their government refuses to take human rights seriously because they would lose the great deal of control that they have over their populace. If they can look "green" instead and publicize it, they have basically traded bad human rights image for good environmentalist image while giving up far less (in their views) to get the environmentalist image. The net result is that to a body like the UN, China would look no worse than any other country. The UN would eat it up all day long. So, yes, image = money.

However...

I have been to China. Where they stand right now, even if they went full-force, it would take at least a decade to get to where Europe is. They aren't going to want to do that because their goods would cost more to produce, and that would affect their bottom line.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33203332)

Their government refuses to take human rights seriously because they would lose the great deal of control that they have over their populace.

Maybe China doesn't want to have to deal with this. [youtube.com]

Can't say I blame them.

Mod parent up! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33203340)

I am from Japan where we have tried to manage the environment. We are China's neighbor and frequently have China issues to manage. Truer words have not been spoken.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#33203386)

It's more than their image they are improving. It will also be the quality of their output, the efficiency of their factor consumption, the net cost of manufacturing and goods sold and probably a lot more. They are not only updating their technology, but updating their policies as well.

Chinese toys will be safe for children all over... that is more than good for their image -- it makes them more eligible to continue to fill WalMart's store shelves.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33203542)

Don't flatter yourself. There are materials that have been banned in manufacturing in the USA and are completely legal to import from elsewhere. Take, for instance, my friend's cookware company. They were not allowed to manufacture a part of the handle for their frying pans because it contained lead, so instead, they shipped off their manufacturing to China where the lead was no problem, and they also managed to get some cadmium yellow into certain handles. It was okay to import and sell since none of the cooking surface was exposed to the lead/cadmium, but it just goes to show.

And by the way, being environmentally clean costs money. I don't get how you claim that products are going to be cheaper when they're "green." There's a lot more to it than buying machines that can produce "green" products.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33203926)

The problem is that everyone only looks at the price they pay at the cash register. That may, in fact be only a miniscule part of the real cost, and the real cost may be spread more or less randomly over many participants - even looping back in some cases. Consider, for example, what happens when you lay off 30,000 employees. You cave money up front. But you've lost reserve capacity, lost training, and lost people who can get things done faster than replacement hires would, because they may have had years of knowledge about how your company works. That's one set of costs.

Then you have the secondary costs. These laid-off people can't afford your products anymore, may be reluctant to buy them when they do find new jobs because they're no longer as secure about spending money, and in some cases, may have developed an active animosity to your company. Which they may infect others with thanks to word-of-mouth negative advertising.

How much of this do you suppose makes it onto the bean-counters' ledgers?

What if you make a toxic product, and people get sick and have to spend the money they'd use on further products on medical care instead? We already know that what the consequences of having a toxic manufacturing process can be. We learned that in the '60's.

Too many financial decisions are made through keyholes.

Trolling (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33202812)

I prefer to think of it as "devil's advocate"...

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (0, Troll)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | about 4 years ago | (#33202974)

We do not seem to have any vision when it comes to things like alternative energy, reducing our energy consumption, and industrial efficiency.

Yeah. We also don't seem to even have much heavy industry. That's where all the Once-American-Now-Multi-National-Corporations took the jobs to. So why worry about something that doesn't pertain to us?

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (0)

BobZee1 (1065450) | about 4 years ago | (#33203318)

The United States still leads the world in manufacturing. We won't next year - the Chinese will take over then. short and sweet article to save you all some trouble: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102761476 [npr.org]

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (5, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | about 4 years ago | (#33203122)

In the West, the $€£ is king; in China, to a large extent the Party is king. Many of these factories will be extremely inefficient and would have bell closed or replaces long long ago in the West, but have been kept going in China because of the effect on local jobs - especially local party jobs. The power that says that 2000 factories must close because of central policy is the same power that kept them open regardless of whether it was in most people's best interest to do so. Central control works both ways: when the centre is right, it can get things done very fast. But when it is wrong it can get things don, or not done, with equal efficicency. For all its defects, when the market is working properly it is remarkably efficient.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (0)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#33203350)

...when the market is working properly it is remarkably ruthless...

Many of those closed factories in the West are simply moved where labor is cheapest.. to China, for example

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (3, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | about 4 years ago | (#33203632)

Much like political attitudes in the US gravitate from left to right and back again like a pendulum, so does our desire for cheap foreign manufacturing.

Companies are increasingly becoming aware that Chinese manufacturers are not always less expensive and can be difficult to work with. Work that goes to China sometimes comes back, or goes to Mexico. Control over your manufacturing process is sometimes more important than per unit cost.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33203266)

What you don't seem to comprehend is that the factories they're shutting shouldn't have been built in the first place. The capacity wasn't ever needed and the only reason why they built them was that bank accounts in China paid at the time even less than ones in the US and Europe. It's hardly green to shutter excess capacity that shouldn't have been built in the first place. But because they couldn't get anything for their savings it made more business sense to build and build without a whole lot of consideration given to the prudence of doing so.

As inept and incompetent as the economists of the Federal Reserve are in the US, the ones running the Chinese economy are light years beyond them in terms of incompetence. You just can't assume that currency manipulation and central planning is going to get you anywhere in the long term. They flat out don't understand what it is that they're doing and it's going to cost us all dearly.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

need4mospd (1146215) | about 4 years ago | (#33203344)

Exponential growth is not sustainable.

This comment alone deserves +6 Insightful. In fact, if that were a standard high school class taking at least a semester, we wouldn't be in the financial mess we're in now.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (-1, Troll)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33202710)

Only until China calls in the loan.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (5, Informative)

jargon82 (996613) | about 4 years ago | (#33202924)

They are (mostly) bonds, not loans. They mature when they mature, you can't call them in whenever you like. There is a real risk that china will become more reluctant to lend in the future though.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33203072)

hmmm, i don't know much about how this bond stuff works, so clarify it to me.

isn't those bonds something like a company's non-voting shares ? meaning they can be negotiated in a stock market ?

if this is the case, maybe instead of calling on the loan, china can flood the market with US bonds they own, crash the market and meke it impossible for US to issue new ones (because they'd be worth nothing).

is this scenario plausible, or is there anything the US can do to stop them ? some kind of poison pill ?

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (3, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#33203190)

is this scenario plausible

No, it's not. Why would someone purposefully cause the value of an investment that they hold to tank?

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (0, Troll)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33203222)

Complete hate for what America stands for? A desire to see America and Americans ground into the dust of absolute poverty? I imagine it depends on how sadistic the Chinese really are.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 4 years ago | (#33204086)

So, in your head, do the Chinese all wear top hats, have long mustaches, with a penchant to laugh diabolically.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1, Informative)

Vaphell (1489021) | about 4 years ago | (#33203764)

and why people sell falling stocks before they hit the ground? They want to get at least some value back. With or without their actions China's investment loses value. If they try to sell - value of dollar reserves drops, they don't sell but USA print more money to monetize debts which they do all the time to cover gigantic deficits - value of dollar reserves drops. USA have snowball's chance in hell to pay their debt so they are forced to roll it over. The treasury issues bonds to cover maturing ones, it's enough to not buy the next tranches to put the US in a really deep shit. The FED will be forced to buy bonds from the treasury (which is the act of money creation, because money used to pay didn't exist before) and then you have a high inflation.

Chinese 'help' the US only because that accelerates the rate of wealth transfer from the US to China. They are like a drug pusher - every trillion they lend the to the US fuels the addiction to foreign money so they get a bigger leverage over the US with each passing day. The truth is that the US is the China's bitch now as the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Chinese continue to throw good money after bad, but when they suck out as much as they can, they'll drop the US with no second thought and let them rot.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (4, Insightful)

mitgib (1156957) | about 4 years ago | (#33203894)

What is more plausible is China no longer wishes to buy our bonds. We are seeing this in many countries already, shifting their holdings to the Euro. as fewer are willing to purchase US Treasuries, the higher the interest rate will need to be offered to attract buyers, which in theory would cost the tax payer more, but reality shows it is just the largest ponzi in existence.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

rockout (1039072) | about 4 years ago | (#33203178)

That's true, but they could, in theory, dump a significant portion of those bonds onto the open market at any time, thereby devaluing them (and the dollar) greatly, possibly to the point of collapse. Of course, this would cause their own economy as much harm as the US's, so this version of "calling in the loan" seems unlikely.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (0, Redundant)

digitalunity (19107) | about 4 years ago | (#33203698)

Not necessarily. China has enough investment in US bonds that they really have a lot of control over the USD valuation. They could manipulate the exchange rates by periodically selling blocks of bonds at a very low price, dropping the USD and raising the yuan.

They wouldn't though since they only very recently decided the yuan should have a higher value at all, let alone reducing the USD. The only reason manufacturing has been moving to china at all is because the yuan/USD exchange rate was favorable. If the yuan goes up or the USD goes down, they won't see as much trade with the US.

As corny as it sounds, we're in this together. China needs the US to succeed so we don't stop buying shit from them or default on our bonds. Like a junkie, they keep us just happy enough to keep giving them money or at least borrowing money from them.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33202738)

Yes, I'm sure that Zhongnanhai doesn't care about the growth of the RMB over the last forty years. Not at all.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202938)

Meanwhile, here in the west the constitution is still king. You know, that little thing that protects you against random acts from the government like, lets say, forcing you to close your factory next month just because they don't like it anymore ?

This has nothing to do with valuing money over other things or not. This is simply policy state vs democracy.

That's exactly right (3, Insightful)

stomv (80392) | about 4 years ago | (#33203012)

but China could have simply raised the tax on energy to push those inefficient industries out of business -- either because they rely on cheap energy (concrete) or because they're being out-competed by more efficient factories elsewhere (outdated, inefficient technology). Places with the $€£ could most certainly increase the tax on various energy sources to generate the same factory-closing result. It would have other results as well (everyone consuming less energy, a redistribution of wealth, etc etc) which may or may not be attractive for a given populace.

So yeah, the implementation of their policy reflects statism vs. democracy. The policy goal itself (reduce energy to GDP ratio) could certainly be attained by a democratic nation with democratic policies -- using taxation or carbon pricing.

Re:That's exactly right (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33203150)

Providing of course that the majority of the electorate is on board, otherwise next election cycle those responsible are replaced and the taxes stricken from the books. Occasionally the latter is done by itself below the federal level, WA specifically has passed many 'tax revolt' initiatives.

Re:That's exactly right (1)

digitalunity (19107) | about 4 years ago | (#33203728)

WA is unusual in this regard.

New politicians rarely repeal taxes passed before they got in office. In fact, politicians rarely repeal ANY laws.

Re:That's exactly right (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33203890)

WA may be unusual, but they should be the model. I lived there most of my life and so long as you stayed out of King County (which I sadly couldn't) it was an awesome place to live. More states need to stand up to their representatives, and when their legislatures don't do what the people want, fuck `em. Pass the law yourselves.

Of course you're right that repeals are rare, especially at the federal level, but that doesn't stop the constant talk of repealing the Bush tax cuts does it?

Re:That's exactly right (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33203302)

The problem was way beyond that. They had a massive overbuild of factories due to incompetent monetary policy. It wasn't like the steel industry in the US which is somewhat smaller than necessary production. In China, low interest rates and limited stable investments led to an over construction of these factories. The only way that taxation would help would be if they raised it enough to purposely put factories under, which would've been a lot more harmful and disruptive than this was.

Re:That's exactly right (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#33203922)

"but China could have simply raised the tax on energy to push those inefficient industries out of business "

That also punishes EFFICIENT businesses to some degree.

An order to close target industrial plant stops the problem without also hurting the businesses Beijing wants to thrive.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (2, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | about 4 years ago | (#33203054)

Meanwhile, here in the west the constitution is still king. You know, that little thing that protects you against random acts from the government

I find it a sad state of affairs when the general consensus is that I need protection from my government. It should be that the government needs protection from us, the people. I'm the one with the right to bear arms. Any guesses why I was granted that right?

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#33203412)

Any guesses why I was granted that right?

Because it's in the Constitution?

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | about 4 years ago | (#33203508)

Any guesses why I was granted that right?

Because it's in the Constitution?

That would be how, I was fishing for why.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | about 4 years ago | (#33203918)

because founding fathers thought that armed citizens act as a counterbalance to the force the government has and if the oppresive regime ever came to life it wouldn't be able to take liberties of citizens away with no resistance? Considering they had quite recent experiences with the british, it's completely understandable.
What do i win?

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 years ago | (#33203484)

Yes, to make it easier for you to protect yourself from the government.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33203218)

Sadly incorrect. I wish the constitution had any power left in it in the US. But unfortunately our last 2 presidents have seen fit to use it as toilet paper.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33203510)

The last two? The Constitution hasn't been worth the paper it's written on since at least FDR's threat to pack the courts. It wouldn't be unreasonable to take it back even further.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202998)

Americans Plan to Fight Global Warming: Jesus! ... Profit!

In that Order.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#33203436)

It's King in China too. There is such a thing as enlightened self-interest.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

camperslo (704715) | about 4 years ago | (#33204108)

Not to be outdone, the West too finds ways to cut energy use in buildings and travel.

Lobbyists' offices will be closed, and all will soon share space in Congressional offices.

Re:Meanwhile, here in the West... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#33204122)

And you think it isn't in China?
In the US if a company decided that shut down a factory because it wasn't efficient enough and cost effective it would have to deal with the Unions.

Let me translate this story into western for you.
Large corporation shuts down profitable factories / steel mill / cement plant throwing thousands out of work.
Mega corp today announced that it would be closing the Anytown steel mill next week. A company spokesperson today stated, "because of the high cost of energy we are shutting the Anytown steel mill down". "More energy efficient mills like our new mill in Otherplace are far cleaner and more profitable." Cut to picture stores about how this will destroy the town and interview soon to be unemployed persons.

Yeah you really don't think that it might just be that other factories are cheaper to run and more profitable?
Just maybe...

So who will be the next China? (4, Interesting)

Allnighte (1794642) | about 4 years ago | (#33202702)

Even though I didn't really expect China to do things like this (at least this early), it looks like they're willing to raise the standards of their production at the cost of business; something that most "western" societies have been doing for some time (and hence why they now import these goods from countries willing to produce from the cheap labor and lax restrictions).

If this continues, it will slow their growth. Some other country will be able to produce the same things China has without these same restrictions. I know people talk about India being similar or replacing China in this regard, but won't India follow a similar path of cleaning up their own "manufacturing ethics" as they grow? What happens when *all* countries have tighter manufacturing limits in place?

Re:So who will be the next China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202754)

China already has economic problems due to the fast economic growth. With these measures, the huge environmental problems China faces can be relieved while at the same time preventing economic overheat.

Re:So who will be the next China? (1, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33202786)

"What happens when *all* countries have tighter manufacturing limits in place"

The West will look even more shortsighted/ridiculous than it already does...?

If America is the self-proclaimed "leader of the free world" then why isn't it leading by example?

Re:So who will be the next China? (2, Interesting)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33202852)

And no doubt you expect it to 'lead' by eliminating the pesky 'free' part, just as China does. If the US government tried to shut down two thousand industrial facilities at a stroke, the people would vote that administration out and rightly. China can do what it does because these facilities are likely owned wholly or in large part by state industries, and whatever backlash might come from 'the people' (who supposedly own the industries through the auspice of the state) is rendered entirely meaningless through the lack of democratic accountability.

Re:So who will be the next China? (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#33202936)

And no doubt you expect it to 'lead' by eliminating the pesky 'free' part, just as China does.

Well, signing up to initiatives like Kyoto would at least be a start.

Re:So who will be the next China? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#33203210)

Well, signing up to initiatives like Kyoto would at least be a start.

Only when they put all nations on the same footing. It's absurd to expect the United States to gut our economy while China brings a new coal power plant online every wekk.

Re:So who will be the next China? (0, Troll)

bunratty (545641) | about 4 years ago | (#33203326)

In the United States, California has lead the effort in energy efficiency [pbs.org] . Their economy doesn't look gutted to me.

Re:So who will be the next China? (3, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#33203610)

Really? California has the third highest unemployment rate in the US [bls.gov] . It's third or fourth [cnn.com] in the country for foreclosures. Sacramento is broke and has the lowest credit rating of the 50 states.

Seems pretty gutted to me.

Re:So who will be the next China? (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 4 years ago | (#33203916)

I think you're exaggerating when you're saying it's gutted. In any case, the economic problems California are having bear no relation to energy efficiency. For example, Sacramento is always broke because California's citizens must approve all new taxes, and they don't like paying for the spending they've asked for. You're going to have to do better than that if you want people to believe that improving energy efficiency destroys the economy.

Re:So who will be the next China? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33203704)

Problem is: The rest of the USA lampoons California as a bunch of loonies every time they Do The Right Thing.

Re:So who will be the next China? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#33203746)

They are a bunch of loonies [businessweek.com] .

Seriously, would people knock it off with that? (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33203654)

If you are tossing around Kyoto as what needs to be done this means one of two things:

1) You are not very well informed about how it actually works, and how nations are doing with it. You are being an idealist about it, not considering the reality.

2) You just dislike the US, and figure they should suffer.

The reason I say this is because Kyoto is completely worthless. Not just because certain nations are exempt, but because the nations who have signed on don't have to give a shit either. Any nation can walk on it at any time, no consequences. So what you see is places like Russia, who's economic collapse has made it easy to meet Kyoto goals patting themselves on the back about it, for now, and places like Canada just ignoring it. What, Canada, one of the driving forces behind it? Yep. Canada has been doing jack and shit to meet its Kyoto commitments and as such is considering simply bailing on it (http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/709146--canada-s-kyoto-view-triggers-a-walkout).

Kyoto is a sham, a way for politicians to pat themselves on the back and accomplish nothing in the long run. The US is just one of the few nations that wasn't hypocritical about it and just refused to sign on. Perhaps this is simple politics (though the Senate voted it down 98-0 when it came up, they have to ratify treaties by US law) or perhaps it is because US law places a higher weight on treaties than some places, or perhaps it was simple pragmatism. Whatever the case that the US isn't signed on to Kyoto just means they are being honest about it.

Re:Seriously, would people knock it off with that? (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 4 years ago | (#33203936)

The Kyoto Protocol is history. The Copenhagen Accord is what we're working on now.

Re:So who will be the next China? (1)

dpolak (711584) | about 4 years ago | (#33202876)

I'm not sure how much it will slow their growth. As China is a communist country, they can dump the necessary resources needed to build these new facilities fast and efficiently before the old ones are shut down. The companies that are affected are not really bound to the same economic restraints that Western companies have with capital, land appropriation, permits, etc.

Just my thoughts, but knowing the way the communist governments work this is likely how they approach this. They do not want any affect to their economy and still prove to the rest of the world that they are responsible and a good choice for future investments in manufacturing work.

"the West is also raising the standards " (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33202896)

Whenever I read the news every new fuel consumption target or windfarm a politician tries to introduce is beaten down by the auto manufacturers or hordes of NIMBYs. Maybe they are raising standards but it's going to take an *awful* long time for things to improve at this rate...

Re:So who will be the next China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202900)

Let's see, your asking who will be the next country to ignore rule of law and force 2000 factories to close and countless people to lose their job simply by the whim of beurocrats with no trial or ability to defend their lives. Hopefully no other country will be this fascist/communist. In the U.S. and in countries with civil rights we set up fines and incentives to change behavior we don't /can't just shut places down on a whim like the chinese.

Re:So who will be the next China? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#33203204)

Let's see, your asking who will be the next country to ignore rule of law and force 2000 factories to close and countless people to lose their job simply by the whim of beurocrats with no trial or ability to defend their lives.

Beero? Burro? Anyway, our 'crats do the same thing. There have been several booming industries in the USA which have been declared illegal at various times, and some of them still are (like growing hemp.)

Re:So who will be the next China? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 4 years ago | (#33203078)

What happens when *all* countries have tighter manufacturing limits in place?

They won't but they will lie about it.

Peter Mandelson-type inspector guy: What is the electricity consumption of your manufacturing sector?
Chinese guy: 1
Peter Mandelson-type inspector guy: Great! Keep up the good work! *Gold Star*

Re:So who will be the next China? (2, Funny)

cacba (1831766) | about 4 years ago | (#33203460)

Every few years pick a country and bomb it, 20 years later they will start to recover. Remember this is for our children.

Re:So who will be the next China? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#33203942)

"it looks like they're willing to raise the standards of their production at the cost of business; "

Key words being "looks like". Closing some shifts business to others. If one regards the whole country as a business, this makes perfect sense and is no sacrifice.

Nah, can't be (3, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33202728)

TFA starts with:

Earlier this summer, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China promised to use an “iron hand” to improve his country’s energy efficiency,

While less energy/carbon intensive as the steel, to get the iron for the hand he'll still need to use carbon. Consequence: his grip on the problem will very likely be 20% softer to the end of this year and about 40% softer in 2020.

Re:Nah, can't be (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33202822)

Sure you need carbon, he's just figured out that some plants were using a lot more of it than others. Those were the ones he closed.

Re:Nah, can't be (0)

asukasoryu (1804858) | about 4 years ago | (#33202848)

Did you account for the lead and cadmium present in all Chinese products?

Re:Nah, can't be (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 4 years ago | (#33203112)

No, no. Iron hand is a martial arts technique he learned at a Shaolin Temple. It will come in handy when he has to fight the Five Deadly Venoms.

Re:Nah, can't be (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33203884)

Huh! My monkey-style kung-fu beats his iron hand pants-down.
I bet I can close more steel mills and cement factories then...
Wait... I'm posting on /. !!! Hmmm... this means I can't possibly be owning steel mills and cement factories, now can I?

Nuclear Cement Plants Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33204010)

I believe 10% of China's energy consumption is to make steel or cement - or is it 10% for cement alone?

If they can do something about this, then they can really clean up. They sure need lots of steel and cement - floods mudslides and earthquakes are not going away.

Interesting to note they identified they least efficient plants - something the WEST would not dare to do -
oh no you can't do that in Cleavland.. Job politics in USA is most important.

Manbearpig nutted on a Portland "masseuse" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202730)

She told police he was acting like a crazed sex kitten, and that after he pinned her down there appeared to be jizz on her clothes. Sounds like manbearpig has a hair-trigger. LOL, both he and his former boss have a penchant for nutting on womens' clothes.

economic growth through government regulations! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202792)

In other terms, China's authorities make it a compelling demonstration that unregulated free trade and laissez-faire is unable to find any kind of economic optimum, at least in this kind of rapid growth situation. So much for Chicago boys...

Re:economic growth through government regulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202854)

Considering the inefficiencies of their current processes this might bring them in line with the US standards of 1985 in 2020.

Re:economic growth through government regulations! (3, Insightful)

nlvp (115149) | about 4 years ago | (#33202930)

Or they're saying they don't like where the economic optimum will take them (i.e. inefficient factories burning massive amounts of energy in a period of rapid growth in energy demand), and would prefer to pre-empt the energy crisis this would create by intervening now.

The alternative is to leave these factories alone. What happens then?

1) China can't increase energy production fast enough to meet demand.
2) Energy prices increase.
3) New, more efficient factories gradually enter, taking over the business of the inefficient factories as they are forced out by rising energy prices.
4) Meanwhile, the increased energy prices affect the rest of the economy, slowing economic growth and raising prices for consumers.

This way is better, because they're creating room for the competition without waiting for the energy price to do it for them. This will reduce the consequences of future energy shortages on the rest of the economy, and accelerate the adoption of more efficient technology in heavy industry.

Will that be enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202914)

To make the air in China breathable?

Last time I was in Beijing a few months ago, you could cut the air with a knife.

I was there for a short time, but I am sure the glorious leadership is starting to feel uncomfortable with the noxious fumes.

Has anyone based there experienced brownouts or electricity stoppage?

Stupid to leave this to the Chinese. (5, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 4 years ago | (#33202972)

Its very shortsighted of us in the west to give this whole area of development to the Chinese. As they get more efficient and starts getting good at using alternative energy we in the west will still fight about oil, coal and other forms of non renewable energy.

The future lies at the feet of whom have energy in wast amounts. If China wins this race, they win in the long run. I wouldnt be surprised if we end up paying royalties to China for their technology instead. Some politicians cling to the idea that the west will supply the brains and the rest of the world will pay.

Our greed comes back to bite us over and over.

Re:Stupid to leave this to the Chinese. (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#33203254)

They weren't exactly talking about putting these things on wind power you know? Half the stuff being taken offline by China was likely regulated out of existence in the west long ago.

They're not boldly embracing some green future.

Re:Stupid to leave this to the Chinese. (5, Informative)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 4 years ago | (#33203550)

You do know China is doing a really strong push into renewable energy? They are the worlds largest manufacturer of wind power equipment and has put serious efforts into solar, wind, energy crops, has this written into law and they even (gasp!) signed the Kyoto protocol the US took a dump on.

Re:Stupid to leave this to the Chinese. (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 4 years ago | (#33203896)

and they even (gasp!) signed the Kyoto protocol the US took a dump on.

They signed Kyoto because, being a non-Annex I party, they didn't actually have to do anything!

Re:Stupid to leave this to the Chinese. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 4 years ago | (#33204026)

"they didn't actually have to do anything!"

Well, even better then that they actually reference the Kyoto protocol for a wast number of projects they do but doesnt have to. Obama just held a pretty speech and just didnt gave a fuck in putting it into action (not that he has much to say about anything).

Re:Stupid to leave this to the Chinese. (1)

Tarsir (1175373) | about 4 years ago | (#33203948)

The future lies at the feet of whom have energy in [v]ast amounts.

The future lies at the feet of whoever has energy in vast amounts.

Whom is correct in 'the feet of whom', because it is not acting as the subject of a verb phrase. However, in the example above, it also serves as the subject of 'have' in the second part of the sentence. The phrase could be expanded to:

"The future lies at the feet of them who have energy in vast amounts."

Note that there is an objective case pronoun for the 'feet of' prepositional phase, and a subjective case pronoun for the 'have energy in vast amounts' verb phrase. According to this [grammarbook.com] reference, that compiles down to 'whoever'.

I'm not trolling, or trying to be a grammar Nazi. It's a tricky sentence, and an easy mistake to make. I just try to spread the good word of proper grammaticality wherever I go.

Maybe Democracy isn't all it's cracked up to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33202982)

If you want to see why America is in such deep trouble, just look in the mirror.

Did you vote for G.W. Bush not just once but TWICE?
Do you oppose any meaningful energy policy (like a large tax on petroleum) despite the fact that it sends HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS YEARLY to countries which hate our guts? (and support terrorism?)
Did you oppose health care reform because of "death panels" and "socialized medicine" despite the fact will SAVE money (extending Medicare 12 years), provides many new benefits as well as extending coverage to many millions?
Did you think the government's bailout of GM was a plot to take over private enterprise? (GM is now planning an IPO).
Do you think that Global Warming is a giant hoax perpetrated by virtually the entire climate science community? (These scientists are the same people who brought us things like electricity, jet planes, anti-biotics, computers, cell phones, etc. Realize that scientists can, and do switch and work in different fields).
Do you doubt Evolution, despite being THE lynchpin for the biological sciences ("without Evolution, nothing in Biology makes sense")
Do you doubt Obama's citizenship despite the fact that he (and not McCain!) was born on American soil.

If you answered yes to these questions, I think it is clear where the problem lies: YOU.

I am no fan of China, years ago I divested my holdings (despite some serious profits) because of their policies towards things like Tibet and North Korea (supporting a brutal regime that is destroying the lives of tens of millions just to keep America off its doorstep). However, their direct and bold actions such as closing these plants mirror some of their other enlightened policies (such as their huge investments in renewable energy sources that will make them the leaders in that technology). Maybe they really are "the Harvard Alumni association with an Army".

So what do you prefer; an authoritarian state that tramples on the rights of its citizens but has (some) wise long-term policies or the "idiocracy" where everyone is entitled to an SUV and does things that are, idiotic, both for themselves and for the world?

I no longer login because I feel that while attacking a company's products is fair game (specifically Apple), having stories singling out their users as "selfish" and unkind is not "news for nerds stuff that matters". Am I an Apple fanboi? Let's just say I've used NIX for decades (yes I'm old) and I'm not talking OS X.

Playing Civ (4, Interesting)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 4 years ago | (#33203084)

Anyone get the feeling the Chinese are behaving as if engaged in a game of Civilization, while the US is played more like a game of Monopoly?

Re:Playing Civ (3, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#33203470)

What would China know about civilization? (runs)

Re:Playing Civ (2, Interesting)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 4 years ago | (#33203736)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_China [wikipedia.org]

Its the oldest civilization in the world and the only one that has managed to hold together and not desintigrate with time.

Re:Playing Civ (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#33203534)

...while the US is played more like a game of Monopoly?

I was thinking more like the game of Stratego, or Risk...

Re:Playing Civ (4, Insightful)

need4mospd (1146215) | about 4 years ago | (#33203536)

Agreed with one exception: In Monopoly, the bank can't win.

Re:Playing Civ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33203686)

Nah because they would have have lost to cultural takeover long ago in civ... :P

Re:Playing Civ (1)

tokul (682258) | about 4 years ago | (#33203862)

Anyone get the feeling the Chinese are behaving as if engaged in a game of Civilization, while the US is played more like a game of Monopoly?

Democracy and Republic is not most efficient government form for Civilization (or at least for FreeCiv). Monarchy and Communism work better for expanding player.

THAT'S a country that takes its plans seriously (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | about 4 years ago | (#33203146)

In the U.S., the President would give a speech about the importance of energy efficiency, Congress would pass some token tax rebates, Democrats and Republicans would end up deadlocked in am ugly partisan fight over anything more meaningful than that, and nothing more would ever get done. In fact, that's pretty much what HAS happened in the U.S.--many times, over the course of pretty much every Presidency going back at least as far as Nixon. Guess there are some real advantages to a oligarchy over a democracy.

Re:THAT'S a country that takes its plans seriously (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 4 years ago | (#33203264)

"Guess there are some real advantages to a oligarchy over a democracy."

Lets see, we have a two party system ruled by very influental corps and small interest groups with more power than any number of voters could ever have.

On the other side we have a one party system ruled by politicians.

I cant really decide which is worse because they both suck on so many levels.

Re:THAT'S a country that takes its plans seriously (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#33203528)

Guess there are some real advantages to a oligarchy over a democracy.

I'll pass.

What is there power gird like? any thing like the (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33203166)

What is there power gird like? any thing like the us one that was lots of old parts that need to be rebuild? If so adding wind and sol is not that easy.

Are they big on nuke plans there? or the old COAL.

they need crack down on air pollution as well! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33203188)

they need crack down on air pollution as well!

Next Cold War race? (2, Interesting)

ckhorne (940312) | about 4 years ago | (#33203212)

While not exactly staged liked the US vs USSR during the cold war, an economic battle between the worlds top producing (and consuming) countries would be the best thing we could ever hope for. IE- countries battling to be the most energy conscious or "greenest" or most efficient.

An economic battle like this, of course, would require consumers to push it, of course, although it wouldn't necessarily be based on cost, but on "feel-good-ism", and that's a hard sell...

I can't believe this! (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 4 years ago | (#33203714)

Man, their economy must just be screwed with all of that government interference! I'm sure glad their economy will be dropping off a cliff any day now!

Out of the woodwork (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#33203770)

Always fun to see stories like this... the authoritatian greens can't help but applaud and criticize the West for not being more autocratic like China.

Hu's on First (1)

Tonyrockyhorror (1132879) | about 4 years ago | (#33204018)

I think it's awesome that the two top leaders in China are named Hu and Wen. It's an Abbott & Costello skit waiting to happen.
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