Tianjin Qingyuan Electric Vehicle Co, the first Chinese automaker to break into the United States, hopes to significantly boost sales of its self-developed electric models in the world’s second-largest market this year, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.
State-backed Qingyuan is among a growing army of Chinese automakers, including BYD Co partly-owned by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett, eager to tap the fledgling green car sector in mature markets.
Qingyuan hopes to sell 3,000 self-made electric vehicles mostly in the United States in 2010, 50 percent more than what it shipped there in the past five years, the source told Reuters.
It is also seeking opportunities to sell electric vehicles in Europe where regulators have been tightening up emission rules to tackle environmental issues, the source said.
“Qingyuan is rather positive on the outlook of its export business as market potential for green cars in the U.S. and Europe is huge,” said the source.
Qingyuan declined to comment.
Other Chinese automakers are also stepping up investment in the green car sector which is poised to take off.
BYD Co — 10 percent controlled by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc has sold several hundred of its plug-in hybrid, F3DM, unveiled in December 2008. It also plans to export its first electric car, the e6, to the United States this year.
Chery Automobile Co, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC) and SAIC Motor Corp among others have unveiled their electric or hybrid models.
The French government plans to levy a new version of the carbon tax in the second half of this year, a spokesman said Tuesday, after an initial version of the bill was rejected by the country’s highest court.
“The new carbon tax will be effective July 1st,” Luc Chatel told a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.
A previous version of the bill was struck down by the country’s Constitutional Council, which ruled that there were too many exemptions to the proposed tax of ‚¬17 ($24.5) per metric ton of carbon emitted. That tax was intended to take effect Jan. 1.
The council’s decision was an unexpected blow to President Nicolas Sarkozy, who pledged tougher environmental legislation in his 2007 presidential campaign and emphasized climate change in his victory speech after being elected.
He had championed the tax, which would have been the first such sweeping levy introduced in France in the past 20 years.
It was forecast to generate ‚¬4.1 billion for the government.
Earlier Tuesday, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde gave the first few clues of how the new draft would differ from the one rejected by the court. Large companies that pollute heavily would be penalized more in the new draft of the bill, but the rates could vary, while exemptions on electricity would be maintained, Ms. Lagarde told Les Echos newspaper in an interview. “We are considering the possibility of applying reduced rates and of setting up other incentive mechanisms,” Ms. Lagarde said.
In the draft proposed late last year, the government exempted over 1,000 highly polluting industrial sites, such as power stations, oil refineries and cement works, because they are already subject to a European Union quota system to be progressively put in place from 2013. According to EU rules, emissions at these sites will have to be cut by 21% by 2020.
An upcoming Journal of the American Medical Association article finds there are “important and unanswered” questions about risks from carbon capture and storage despite deep political support for the technology aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
House and Senate climate change bills would funnel billions of dollars into helping commercialize technology to capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants and permanently store it underground.
But in a commentary slated for publication Wednesday, two doctors say health and safety dangers associated with carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS, have not been considered amid promotion of the technology.
The doctors – John Fogarty of the University of New Mexico and Michael McCally of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine – cite asphyxiation risks from accidental large-scale releases.
“The geologic security or permanence of underground carbon dioxide storage over time also has not been well studied,” they write. They also cite potential risks to water supplies.
Carbon storage enjoys wide support among lawmakers from coal-producing states and will likely play a major role in any climate and energy legislation that emerges from Capitol Hill.
Coal accounts for half of U.S. power generation and the country enjoys abundant coal supplies. It is also a major source of power in fast-growing industrial powers including China.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu has called support for low-emissions coal technologies vital, arguing that even if the U.S. were to move away from use of coal, other nations will continue using the resource.
Chu is hopeful that widespread CCS deployment can begin in eight to 10 years. The recent stimulus law steered $3.4 billion into CCS, and pending Capitol Hill plans would expand support substantially.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to announce Wednesday that his agency will require oil and natural-gas companies to clear more regulatory hurdles before they are allowed to drill on federal lands.
Mr. Salazar’s action is likely to make it more difficult for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to fast-track the permitting of oil and gas projects on federal land. BLM field staffers would be required to seek additional approvals from their supervisors and to undertake more visits to areas where energy companies are seeking access, according to people familiar with the matter.
The BLM manages more than 260 million acres of federal land, and with it, a significant chunk of U.S. energy supplies. Domestic production from federal onshore oil and gas wells accounts for 11% of U.S. natural-gas supplies and 5% of the nation’s oil.
The Obama administration is already locked in a bitter fight with the oil and gas industry over proposals to raise billions of dollars in additional taxes from energy companies, and to cap the emissions of gases caused by burning fossil fuels, which have been linked to global warming.
Mr. Salazar’s action follows litigation from some environmental groups and criticism from the Government Accountability Office that the BLM has often misinterpreted and violated a 2005 federal law. The legislation was designed to speed oil and gas drilling in the West by allowing federal land managers to waive extensive environmental reviews normally required.
Part of the problem, the GAO said, is that the 2005 law fails to clearly spell out the conditions under which such waivers, or exclusions, can be granted.
Business groups fear the administration’s action will discourage domestic energy development, by adding new red tape to the permitting process for oil and gas drilling. In a letter to Mr. Salazar last week, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, a lobbying group that represents manufacturers, credited the 2005 law with reducing drilling-permit backlogs and boosting natural-gas production.
“At a time when we should be working to enhance our energy supplies here at home, we believe it would be a mistake to pursue policies that would make it more expensive or difficult to access critical natural-gas resources,” the group said. Republican lawmakers also have urged Mr. Salazar not to do away with the practice of granting categorical exclusions altogether, saying better guidance to BLM staff is needed.
“We are concerned that the [U.S.] Department of the Interior is prepared to use a sledgehammer where a scalpel would suffice,” four Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington, said in a letter to Mr. Salazar last fall.
But some congressional Democrats and environmental groups say the BLM has abused its authority in too many cases, and the rules need to be tightened.
There are so many different companies trying to influence the shape of climate policy in Washington that it’s hard to get a sense for the sheer scale involved. According to the Center for Public Integrity’s latest tally, there are now 1,160 businesses and groups wrangling over the issue””and they’ve hired a whopping 2,780 climate lobbyists. An even better sign of the frenzy is the fact that companies you’d never expect to care about the arcane details of cap-and-trade are now taking a keen interest. Like Campbell Soup and Kellogg:
“It wasn’t until we analyzed what was going on in the House that we thought, ‘Oh, gosh, we are being affected by this,’” said Kelly Johnston, Campbell Soup’s vice president for public affairs, in an interview.
At issue are the free “allowances,” or carbon dioxide pollution permits that the House-passed climate bill would give to manufacturers that use a lot of energy to produce internationally traded products, like steel and aluminum. Those energy-intensive industries fighting international competitors successfully lobbied for protection from loss of jobs to China and other cheap-energy countries if the United States unilaterally enacted a carbon reduction program that would make coal-burning more expensive here.
But the House bill’s approach means manufacturers that don’t use as much energy “” like Campbell “” would have to bid at auction for carbon emissions allowances from the federal government. Johnston argues that Campbell should either be exempt from that process or provided some freebies, too.
This looks like a fairly important development. Last summer, remember, when Henry Waxman and Ed Markey were cobbling together a climate bill in the House, they struck an intricate balance on how to divvy up the pollution permits under the cap. Some were given away gratis to big polluters or industries at risk of fleeing to China (steel, cement, aluminum, etc.); others were doled out to local electric utilities with the provision that the money would be used to cushion the blow for ratepayers; still other permits were set aside to reduce deforestation or fund new energy sources.
You can read Robert Stavins’s detailed breakdown of where all the permits went “” he argues that about 20 percent of the permits were pure corporate giveaways, while the rest went to ostensibly public purposes. But the point is that this was all a delicate compromise, and still the bill only barely passed through the House. Now that the bill’s wending its way through the Senate, a bunch of new companies have decided to get into the lobbying game and try to force a revision to that formula. Natural-gas producers, for example, feel they got short-shifted by the House. And they have a point. But any new revision also risks alienating the industries that backed the original House bill.
Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Tuesday pledged to work closely on climate change and other global issues.
Nasheed said his country appreciated the important and active role played by China in the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference held last month.
He said the Maldives is looking forward to strengthening its cooperation with China in dealing with global issues including climate change.
Nasheed said his country respects China’s sovereignty and core interests, adding that the Maldives will not do anything that might hurt China’s core interests and the two countries’ relationship.
Yang said China will continue to work closely with the Maldives on climate change and other issues, promoting the interests of developing countries including those of Small Island Developing States.
The two leaders said they were satisfied with the good relationship between the two countries and pledged to promote the cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, tourism and fishing.
Yang also held talks with Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed in the visit.
Yang arrived here Tuesday afternoon on his way of paying official visits to five African nations and Saudi Arabia. He is expected to leave Maldives Wednesday morning to continue his tour.