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Tag Archives: Carbon Emission

減碳政策下的中國電力發展

作者: 趙耀華 . . . . . . . . .

專家普遍認為,現時的氣候危機在很大程度上是工業革命的後遺症。工業生產會排放大量溫室氣體暖化地球,如果我們未能將升溫幅度控制在不高於工業革命以前1.5至2攝氏度之內,地球很可能在2100年就不宜人類居住。為此,我們必須在2050年以前將全球碳排放降回至2005年的水平。

造成溫室效應的氣體稱為「溫室氣體」,主要是燃燒化石燃料時所產生的二氧化碳,因此減低碳排放是為地球降溫的主要手段。

2015年的聯合國氣候變化大會(COP21)達成《巴黎協定》,近200個與會國家同意在2050年前達到碳中和的目標。協定中的最重要一環是簽署國家承諾就淨零目標推動國內立法,從而確保全人類在達成這共同目標上的步伐一致。

中國的碳達峰及碳中和政策

在2020年9月22日,國家主席習近平在聯合國大會中向全世界宣布:「中國將提高國家自主貢獻力量,採取更加有力的政策和措施,二氧化碳排放力爭於2030年前達到峰值,努力爭取2060年前實現碳中和。」在去年10月26日,國務院發表《2030年前碳達峰行動方案》,聚焦2030年前碳達峰目標,對推進有關工作列出具體行動。

2030年達到碳達峰,意指每年的二氧化碳排放量會逐年增加至2030年,此後排放量會逐年減少。人類除了懂得排放二氧化碳,也懂得回收二氧化碳(譬如植樹);中國要在2060年達到碳中和,即屆時年度二氧化碳排放量和年度二氧化碳的回收量需要剛好互相抵消。

碳達峰的前景光明抑或黯淡,可說是見仁見智。從今年到2030年底的9年間,要是碳排放以每年2%的速度增長,中國的年度排放量將會較2011年增加19.5%。

由於中國從2020年開始已經成為全世界二氧化碳排放量佔比最高的國家(在2020年就處於30%水平;見【圖1】),在這個基礎上繼續增加排放並非微不足道的事情。

根據國務院這份文件,中國力爭在2060年把全國能源生產中的80%轉為非化學生產能源。到2030年,風力發電和太陽能發電的總產能目標為1200 GW。

筆者認為這些目標並非空中樓閣。根據國家電力局今年初的預測,到年底為止,中國的電力產能會有超過一半為非化石電力。年底全部電力產能估計為2600 GW,非化石電力產能更會達到1300GW!近數十年來中國電力生產各個來源的變化可見【圖2】。

非化石能源供應的不確定性

不過,在新能源發電中,由於核能發電(嚴格來說不算新能源)有其危險性,故不能胡亂擴充;水力發電有賴天然的地理條件而難以人為增長;風力發電和光伏發電固然可作考慮,但兩者都相對不穩定:風力發電產能不穩且丈賴天氣因素。相反,燃煤發電並沒有這些問題,而且供應穩定,其作為輔助燃料的地位難以完全被取代。

中國在去年第四季出現慳電風潮。此前國內實行「市場煤、計劃電」,就是煤價市場化,價格隨市場供求而變,但電力價格則由國家發展和改革委員會(發改委)等官方機構監控。由於全球經濟漸從新冠疫情中復甦,對中國產品需求大增,導致國際煤價急升,中國的煤價亦然。

發電廠由於發電售價受到規管,不能轉嫁成本予用戶,甚至出現虧損。舉例說,全國最大的煤電廠華能國際不僅錄得全年虧損,以每股虧損計算,就超過其過去5年的每股盈利的總和!

煤價在去年下半年急升,發電廠為了避免虧損,寧願「躺平」,所以才會出現家居限電的情況。及後發改委採取了3項措施來應對電廠的龐大虧損:第一,允許基準電價上下浮動20%,高耗能則不設上限;第二,加速批准新煤礦場投產;第三,盡力壓抑煤價,並且規定電廠和煤礦商多採用長期協議來穩定煤價。

如何能保證煤電廠不會嚴重虧損,是確保中國能源供應的重要議題。筆者對發改委上述3項措施有以下意見。

放開電價以保電力供應

筆者認為准許電價浮動是正確的一步,但目前的做法並不徹底。首先電價仍設有上限,即煤電廠仍有可能出現虧損,這會導致兩個問題:第一,電廠可能拉閘限電,影響民生甚至經濟活動;第二,電力價格若能充分反映成本價格,就能提供誘因令消費者減少電力消費(如改用低耗能的電器)。低效能的工廠停產,汰弱留強。現在電力價格設有上限,這種資源調配的功能就失掉了。

目前電價調整並沒有明確的方程式,宜增加其透明度。電力價格應該由兩部分組成,一部分是基本價格,另一部分是燃料調整費。前者可在每年定期估算未來全年原料價格,從而訂定合理價格。後者則根據每月燃料價格的變化,作出機械式的調整;這方面可以參考香港的做法。

無上限增加電費這個可能性,當然不會受市民歡迎。政府可以為生活困難的人士提供支援,更好的做法是安排定額補貼,抵消電價上升的影響。市民可把這些補貼購買電力或進行其他消費。以現金補貼代替專項補貼是更有效率的方法,這是經濟學入門課的內容。

對於政府壓抑煤電價格和簽訂長期協議,筆者認為此舉對壓抑煤炭價格的長遠效用有限,只是權宜之計。

首先,長期協議的價格不能長期偏離現貨價格,現貨價格上升,長期協議的價格也會隨之調整。長期協議的真正作用是提高煤炭供應和價格的透明度,以及減少電力成本的波動性。

若以為去年煤炭價格上升是生產商操控的結果,政府以主動壓抑價格的方式作出干預就可算合理,但筆者並不認為如此,也沒有看到坊間有任何類似的懷疑。既然煤價上升是供求關係的結果,故增加煤炭產量才是正確方向(放開電價也是降低對煤炭的需求,緩解煤價的壓力,不過筆者估計這個作用不會很明顯)。

去年煤價大幅上升,現在仍然在高位,但大幅上升是不是就相等於價格高昂?就等於不合理?如是者,是否就應該干預?筆者並不確定。煤有兩個主要用途:發電(動力煤)和作為冶鋼等工業用途(焦煤)。煤價上升,可淘汰低效率的焦煤用家(如鋼廠、鋁廠)。

由於世界各地經濟在去年逐漸復甦,經濟活動增加,加上補充庫存之需,大大增加了對煤的需求。假以時日,煤價最終會穩定下來,甚至可能大幅度下降,這一切由市場決定。

總括而言,為了應對全球暖化,內地政府已經訂立了2030年達到碳達峰和2060年達到碳中和的目標,以非化石能源來代替化石能源是其中一項重要措施。根據年初的估計,今年底國內的電力產能將有一半為非化石能源(風電、太陽能、核能),但是投資非化石能源需時需錢,而且這些能源供應有其本質上的不確定性,因此在一段很長的時間,煤電依然會是中國電力供應的重要組成部分。保證煤電供應穩定就成為中國能源政策的重中之重。中國在能源發展方面,要貪新不忘舊。在應對全球暖化之餘,北京政府還須着眼於發展新能源車輛。


Source : HKU

China Directs State Firms to Make Deep Cuts to Energy Use to Meet Emissions Goals

China’s top state assets regulator urged major state companies to do more to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions as part of efforts to help Beijing realize its climate pledges.

By 2025, the country’s central government-controlled state-owned enterprises must slash their energy consumption per unit of output value by 15% and carbon dioxide emissions by 18%, compared with 2020 levels, according to guidance published Thursday by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council, China’s cabinet.


Source : Caixin


Read more at 国务院国资委

关于推进中央企业高质量发展做好碳达峰碳中和工作的指导意见 . . . . .

Charts: China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Exceeded the Developed World for the First Time in 2019

Source : Rhodium Group

China Emits More Carbon in 16 Days Than Australia Does in One Year

Cian Hussey wrote . . . . . . . . .

Every 16 days China emits more carbon than Australia does in an entire year, according to new research released today by free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. This means the annual effect on global emissions from Australia mandating a net zero emissions target would be cancelled out by China in just over two weeks.

“The complete de-industrialisation of Australia would have no discernible impact on global emissions but would inflict significant and irreparable economic and social damage,” said Cian Hussey, Research Fellow at the IPA.

The analysis identified that Australia’s carbon emissions per capita have declined by 15.4% since 2004, while China’s emissions per capita over the same period have increased by 83.5%.

China is responsible for 63.3% of the increase in global carbon emissions since 2004, while Australia is responsible for just 0.35% of the increase.

In absolute terms, China’s annual emissions have increased by over 5 billion tonnes since 2004, while Australia’s annual emissions have increased by only 27.4 million tonnes.

“It is reckless and futile for the political class to impose on Australians further severe cuts to emissions which costs jobs and livelihoods, while China – the world’s largest emitter– continues to rapidly increase its emissions without consequence,” said Mr Hussey.

“Calls for Australia to adopt a net zero emissions target ignore the significant economic, social, and humanitarian costs which would inevitably be the result of such a target,” said Mr Hussey.

The analysis also shows that China operates 57 coal fired power stations for each one currently operating in Australia.

This figure will increase in coming years as China is currently constructing 92 coal-fired power stations, with a further 135 in the pre-construction phase, while Australia has none in the construction or pre-construction phase.

The analysis also identified that Australia’s share of global carbon emissions declined from 1.3% in 2009 to 1.1% in 2019. Despite Australia’s negligible share of global emissions, under the Paris Agreement Australians are subject to the deepest per capita emissions cuts in the developed world, as identified in previous IPA research.

The IPA also analysed the most recently available information about the Paris Climate Agreement, and found that only 0.4% of countries (eight of 196) that signed the Paris Agreement are on track to meet their emissions reduction obligations.

Gambia, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Philippines, and India are the eight countries on track, and represent only 7.9% of global carbon emissions.

“Not only should Australia not proceed with a net zero emissions target, but we should withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Mr Hussey.

IPA research released on 10 February found that a net zero carbon emissions target would place up to 653,600 jobs at direct risk of being destroyed, and that those job are concentrated in industries such as agriculture, heavy manufacturing, and coal mining.

Previous IPA research estimated that the Paris Climate Agreement would cost over $52 billion over the period 2018-2030. This equates to $8,566 per Australian family.

$52 billion is the equivalent to building 22 new hospitals or paying for 20 years’ worth of the Gonski 2.0 education funding.


Source : Institute of Public Affairs

COVID Curbed Carbon Emissions in 2020 — But Not By Much

Jeff Tollefson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Despite sharp drops early in the pandemic, global emissions of carbon dioxide picked up in the second half of the year, new data show.

After rising steadily for decades, global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 6.4%, or 2.3 billion tonnes, in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic squelched economic and social activities worldwide, according to new data on daily fossil fuel emissions. The decline is significant — roughly double Japan’s yearly emissions — but smaller than many climate researchers expected given the scale of the pandemic, and is not expected to last once the virus is brought under control.

The United States contributed the most to the global dip, with a nearly 13% decrease in its emissions, due mostly to a sharp decline in vehicle transportation that began with lockdowns in March and continued as the pandemic escalated at the end of the year. Globally, the energy sector most affected by pandemic lockdowns and restrictions was aviation, where emissions fell 48% from their 2019 total.

Researchers published emissions data for the first half of 2020 in October1, but provided a complete set to Nature this week.

“The emissions decline is already less than what we expected,” says Zhu Liu, an Earth-system scientist at Tsinghua University in Beijing who co-leads the international Carbon Monitor programme that provided the data. “I imagine that when the pandemic ends, we probably will see a very strong rebound.”

Liu’s team is one of two that independently developed methods to track daily carbon emissions at the national and global levels during the pandemic. The other, part of the Global Carbon Project, published separate, partial data on daily emissions in December2 that are consistent with Liu’s team’s analysis. Both pulled information from various sources, including energy and weather reports, satellite-based observations and traffic data collected by vehicle-navigation systems in several hundred cities around the world.

The pandemic has provided a unique lens on the challenge that lies ahead for nations committed to fighting climate change. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the world would need to cut carbon emissions by 7.6% per year for the next decade to prevent the globe from warming more than 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial levels — a goal set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Reductions on this scale would be even larger than 2020’s drop in emissions.

That 6.4% dip occurred only because many parts of the world came to a forced standstill because of COVID-19. Without substantial collective action to curb emissions, 2020 will register as little more than a blip in the global carbon record, says David Waskow, who heads the international climate programme at the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington DC. “Historical experience would lead us to expect that we will return to our previous trajectory, and that means we need to do other things to cut emissions.”

The data from Liu’s team show sharp discrepancies in how the pandemic has altered economic activity in various countries. Early in the year, China experienced the largest reductions as it locked down its cities and industries to tame the initial spread of the coronavirus. But after the country brought the outbreak there under control, its economy and industrial output quickly recovered — the 2020 totals even outpacing results from 2019. The United States saw its emissions drop by nearly 650 million tonnes and accounted for more than one-quarter of the global reduction in CO2 emissions. India followed, with a reduction of nearly 200 million tonnes.

Although global emissions are likely to bounce back, individual countries and sectors could experience long hangovers, says Glen Peters, a climate-policy researcher at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo who is part of the Global Carbon Project. Industry is already bouncing back, for instance, but Peters says that the transport sector could take longer to recover.

“Even if COVID-19 gets sorted out, it’s not like everybody is going to waltz into the office on Monday,” says Peters.

Liu says his team is now examining hourly emissions trends for transport and electricity generation in the United States and Europe, as well as for some cities in Japan and China. So far, the researchers have identified changes in energy consumption associated with a massive increase in telecommuting: rush-hour traffic is down, and electricity consumption is spread throughout the day, without massive peaks in the morning and evening when people wake up and get home from work.

“Right now, weekdays look more like weekends in 2019,” says Liu.


Source : Nature

How to Turn Industrial Carbon Emissions into Building Materials

wrote . . . . . . . . .

Sophia Hamblin Wang discusses MCi’s Carbon Capture and Use process and why she’s a passionate advocate for seeing carbon as a valuable resource.


What is mineral carbonation?

Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve been putting too much CO2 into the atmosphere. And so we know, based upon the IPCC report, and many of the intergovernmental organizations, that we need to reduce our emissions and reach net zero by 2050. But we also know that we’ll probably need to draw down CO2 out of the atmosphere and do something with it. So MCi is developing technology that turns CO2 into usable materials.

We use the Earth’s natural process of storing CO2, which is called mineral carbonation or weathering. Dissolved carbon dioxide reacts with the minerals in rock to produce carbonate, which is stable over a long period of time and can be used in construction. The White Cliffs of Dover in England are an example of Earth’s natural weathering process – over millions of years, CO2 has been absorbed into those cliffs and that’s why they’re white. We’ve just taken that process from millions of years into a matter of hours in an industrial setting.

What products is MCi making?

Our technology is like a black box, where you can feed in industrial wastes like steel slags or incinerator bottom ash, or quarried local minerals, lots of different minerals and then a flue gas. We don’t actually need pure CO2, but any kind of gas that may come straight out of a stack pipe, and then we react that in our facility, and we create an output which can be processed into various things. At the pilot plant in Newcastle, Australia we’ve been building and creating carbonate products every day like this cement brick, and plaster board.

It’s a whole circular economy where you treat your waste and turn it into new products. Treating CO2 as a resource and embracing carbon capture and use will, we think, bring about change quicker in harder-to-abate industries in particular. Creating business models out of climate change is quite exciting and it may bring about change to emissions faster than waiting for some governments to legislate, and waiting for behaviour change in markets, which is also very important.

Where do the emissions come from for the process?

In the past decade, the global environment has really taken off with regard to renewable energy. Australia is a resource nation, but we have such a strong capacity for renewables, and we just see the trajectory of renewables to be so healthy, but there are other sectors that really do need decarbonization options that aren’t clear. For instance, the steel industry, the cement industry, chemicals, transition technologies for hydrogen also need options for CO2.

So we’re really looking at this transition medium-term, where we need to be decarbonizing rapidly, all industries, not just energy. And we can do it without a carbon price actually. At our next scale up, we’re already looking at making a profit and that’s quite a significant thing when you compare it to other ways of treating carbon dioxide, like underground storage and similar technologies.

How much progress have you seen in 2020 around decarbonization and does it make you hopeful?

I’ve been working with MCi since 2013 and we’ve been building this technology in commercial secrecy. Seeing a lot of change within global governments and attitudes towards targets, emissions trading schemes, other market-based incentives for carbon has definitely been volatile.

But at Davos this year, I was on a panel called ‘Building a New Carbon Economy’, and we had circular economy titans like Kenneth Rogoff saying carbon dioxide isn’t actually a villain. It can be something that can be used to create lots of valuable products, not just building materials, but chemical feedstocks and fuels and all kinds of things. So that was a real starting gun for technologies like mine.

A lot of the world’s largest companies used Davos to commit to net-zero, negative emissions pledges. Microsoft, Apple, BHP and Rio Tinto had all committed to net zero at that stage, and I just thought, wow, it’s no longer waiting for people and companies and countries to get up to speed, it’s now going to be a race. It’s a race to see which technologies are going to help us meet these ambitious targets. And it’s setting a new standard for what ambition actually is.

What more needs to happen?

Significantly in the last few weeks, Japan, China, South Korea, have all committed to net zero by 2050 – 50% of the world’s GDP has signed up to net zero, which is profound. As the world commits to these really crucial targets, it’s time for the technologies to line up, to develop, to accelerate, to run as quickly as we can, in order to get there. We know that we have less than eight years before we hit a tipping point, so the next eight years is the most critical in that trajectory.

MCi is really clear that we’re going to be one of a portfolio of important solutions that are going to help our world to decarbonize. We’re going to help the steel sector, the cement sector, the chemical sector, we’re going to be partnering with direct air capture, to draw down CO2 out of the atmosphere, and lock it back down into safe and inert materials that can help with the built environment.

The market for carbon capture and utilization has been estimated to be almost $6 trillion per annum and that will grow in the future. If we’re looking for support for technologies like ours for investment, for policy certainty, then it’s really helpful to have market estimations like that and they’re only starting to come out in the next three years. More than half of that is in building products.

What’s next for MCi?

MCi has completed a pilot phase, we are processing a few hundred tonnes of CO2 every year and we’re able to test it in a lot of different settings. Right now, we are focusing on decarbonizing settings like nickel, creating a pathway for sustainable nickel as well as cobalt and lithium and other mining operations, as well as steel, cement and hydrogen. We will be scaling up into a demonstration phase next to make a significant amount of carbonates.

But the real end-goal here is that we want to be locking away 1 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2040 and that is very achievable given the amount of applications where our technology can work. A lot of carbon capture and storage technologies rely on tax rebates and other incentives in order to be worthwhile. We absolutely need mechanisms and incentives. But our technology doesn’t need to wait for that. And in fact, we’ve had to develop our technology whilst having a high ROI because it wasn’t clear how long it would take for our markets to line up behind it. We expect that pension funds and ESG will want to fund our plants.

What advice do you give to business leaders?

Business leaders today know that they need to not only make ambitious climate targets in order to be market leaders, but they need to be thinking about a truly evolved way of considering emissions. So not just your own emissions and scope 1 [direct] and scope 2 [indirect] emissions of their business, but also looking at the way that their full supply chain and ecosystem are also decarbonizing [scope 3]. And we’re really seeing that with the largest companies in the world all starting to really look at decarbonizing these scope 3 emissions.

We’re really interested in that in Australia, because we’re a resource-based nation and we’ve got companies like Rio Tinto and BHP making net-zero-by-2050 pledges, and really considering their scope three. So that’s looking all the way down to the steel manufacturers when you’re an iron ore miner. We need to decarbonize, we need to be ambitious, but also you need to help your whole ecosystem also to do the right thing and reduce and remove our emissions starting now.


Source : World Economic Forum