EconoMonitor

China and the Alternatives to Oil

Last year, in the town of Quanzhou, right across the straight from Taiwan, a company you’ve probably never heard of opened up the world’s largest production base for bamboo fabrics (Chinese). People who follow the green blogs have probably heard of bamboo fabrics super-green qualities, or the fact that those super-green qualities are all lies, but the take away I got from that little piece of news is somewhat different. Whether or not bamboo is green, its most important quality to the Chinese is that it’s not made with oil (as most synthetic fabrics are). As oil quickly increases in price, China is doing everything it can to find other resources that can be used as alternatives; cotton and even bamboo are beneficiaries.

As ugly as it is outside my window right now, you have to give China credit for its unceasing efforts to cut its demand for petrochemicals. Solar cells are used wherever possible. Most cities run electric buses, and they are pushing into electric taxi cabs. With companies that are among the world’s largest battery manufacturers, it’s only a matter of time before a full electric car push is underway.

Some of the reasons why technological solutions are so popular in China are that you only have to look outside to see that pollution is a problem, the country doesn’t have the bountiful access to middle-eastern oil that America has and the government is well aware that any solution that depends on enforcing regulation will fail miserably in their country. China is not alone with these issues as imposing and enforcing effective regulation is proving to be a tricky endeavor elsewhere, access to middle-eastern oil is getting more and more difficult in the US, and after the BP spill, pollution is sure enough visible. It seems like there is more we could be doing.


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One Response to “China and the Alternatives to Oil”

Hao JunAugust 5th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I do not quite understand your point in this article. However, putting the main point aside, it also appears you are unsure which country is loosing “access” to Middle East crude: is it the US or China? I suggest you have a quick look at where China and the US’s imports are coming from. The Middle East actually plays a bigger role in China than in the US (both in percentage terms and recently in absolute terms). So what does “access” have anything to do with your point!?!?! Don’t companies simply pay a price for crude according to supply and demand? Please let me know if you have information to the contrary.

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