Sunday, June 2, 2013

#chinaEARTHusa -- Solar Panels at the Crux

The most important thing China and the U.S. leaders can hammer out when they meet in June is not hacking, or the North Korea issue, or anything like that. It's solar panels.

Right now, the U.S. -- as well as the EU -- is playing a 20th century game with a 21st century problem. It is using dumping law to quibble with the Chinese about the terms under which solar panels can be sold in the U.S. Here's why that's all wrong . . . .


China: Assembling solar panels


Dumping law is based on the notion that the prices that exist in the U.S. (and countries like it) are based on the "free market" and thus somehow "true." If a "non-market economy" like China's is able to offer a product at lower prices, that is disallowed because it disadvantages companies in the U.S. economy.

The problem with this game, of course, is that it completely ignores the fact that the terms under which products are produced and offered for sale in the U.S. market -- particularly the parts of the U.S. market that center on energy -- are the furthest possible thing from "free." In particular, businesses that deal in alternatives to fossil fuels are hugely disadvantaged by a whole gamut of U.S. policies and laws.

So let's cut through the 20th century crap and face some 21st century facts:
  • The U.S. needs to do everything it can to get non-carbon-based energy production in place, wherever it can. It can't do this fast enough.
  • A U.S. tax policy that correctly favored non-carbon-based energy production and penalized carbon-based energy production would produce demand for solar panels that would far outstrip anything that U.S. or Chinese producers can supply.
  • China may be a "non-market economy," but be assured that Chinese producers will be very happy to charge high prices for solar panels when the "market" U.S. economy adjusts its terms of trade to reflect environmental reality.
  • The U.S. could take a lesson from the "command economy" in China about government setting a bold new direction in using alternative energy.

China: Installing solar panels


OK, leaders. Get to work . . . .

MORE: #chinaEARTHusa - Radical Change? or Planetocide?


Related posts

It has been announced that China and the U.S. will hold a top leadership meeting at the beginning of June. If the past is any indication, we will get a lot of cautious, lukewarm pronouncements about cooperation that don't begin to address the reality. It's time for activists in the U.S. and China to join hands and start to militate for radical change. We need a zero-carbon USA and a zero-carbon China. Anything less is planetocide.

(See #chinaEARTHusa - Radical Change? or Planetocide? )


A recent report says that four major U.S. corporations are facilitating the adoption of solar panels by their employees. Can we make it work in Chicago?

(See Can Chicago Corporations Make Solar Energy an Employee Benefit? on the Zero Carbon Chicago website)




Reisner's book, Cadillac Desert describe how ambitious American entrepeneurs, entranced by the potential to turn Southern California and Arizona into boom areas with the simple addition of a little bit of water, have upset the balance of nature and set us on a path for disaster

(See Cadillac Desert (Don't Try This At Home))