Chile’s Atacama Desert is one of the most inhospitable places on earth. Situated 2,300 meters above sea level and encircled by mountains, the region receives almost no rainfall and the blinding sun singes exposed human skin within minutes. But 40 meters below the salt flats lie our planet’s largest and purest reserves of the chemical element lithium. Lithium, the lightest of all metals, has the best electrochemical potential. This makes it perfect for rechargeable batteries, a technology that powers our smartphones and is expected to become even more crucial in the future. Now, a Chinese firm is attempting to gain control of the Atacama reserves.
Decades of breakneck development in China have taken a terrible toll on the air, water, and soil. The good news is that the government has started a massive anti-pollution campaign, investing at least $477 billion in environmental protection and shutting down thousands of factories. While many are being driven out of business by the campaign, it’s also creating new opportunities for green technology companies and pushing manufacturing companies to upgrade. And although a government-led campaign, further clean-up efforts can be made by private companies as local governments search for clean solutions.
Just a few years ago, China was a major obstacle to a global agreement on climate change. But the attitude of the government has changed, to the delight of all. But it will take more than good will to clean up and it will be a long time before the smog lifts. In this sense, the idea that China will be a ‘Green Leader’ anytime soon says more about how far they have to go than how far they have come. Yet in recognizing the problems and directing investments towards new technologies, China has stumbled upon a realistic expectation of leadership in the energy technologies of the low-carbon future.
Is renewable energy in China a good investment option? We look at which of China’s green investment areas offers the best return.
The week that was: Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with the Queen, RMB gains more tradability , and some facts about the over-exaggerated Chinese property bubble. Li Keqiang Goes Shopping in the UK Following President Xi Jinping’s visit to Europe in March, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the UK and Greece this week, taking with him contracts […]
Why solar energy is growing, how it will change the world, and who will profit from it. By 2020—or sooner, depending on how much sun you get and how expensive store-bought electricity is in your region—power from photovoltaic solar cells on your roof will be the same price as power from your local utility. And […]