Impacts of Energy Use Due to Change in Chinese Economy

by Aurora Silva

This is a very interesting article that illustrates the implications o the change of economic structure on the emissions and energy use in China. The Chinese CO2 intensity and energy intensity targets are rather stringent. Reaching the CO2 intensity target is difficult even with the optimistic assumption of fast expansion of renewable energy capacity and fast structural change. The Chinese economy is in a transitional state: Chinese leadership hopes to steer the economic development away from exports and investment and towards serving the Chinese domestic market, increasing the living standard of the Chinese citizenry as well as reducing the environmental impact that the long-enduring high economic growth has caused. In addition to the long-enduring high economic growth has caused. Among the global economies, China is the largest emitter of CO2 emissions and the development of its economic system in the next fifteen years will have great weight in determining cumulative global emissions. Continue reading

Evaluating the Environmental Impact of the California High-Speed Rail

by Abigail Schantz

Chester and Horvath from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley determined that a life-cycle environmental inventory was necessary to fully understand the pros and cons of the proposed project. The life-cycle environmental inventory reviews emissions resulting from use of this transportation method as well as the environmental costs of building and maintenance. Presently, people traveling in this corridor rely most heavily on automobiles, secondarily on airplanes, and lastly on heavy rail transit. Because we are unable to predict the precise usage of a high-speed rail system, when comparing the environmental impacts of each of these modes of travel, it is critical to take into account differences between low-demand and high-demand scenarios, and to account for an expected initial transition period of low-usage.  Continue reading