Apple Doing More For China’s Environment Than China’s Government

I continue to be amazed by people who believe governments are an effective way to protect the environment. It’s such a stupid belief because governments are the biggest polluters whose only interest in regulating pollution is getting a piece of the action through permit issuances. The only way to reduce pollution, which is the only way to change anything, is direct action. Oftentimes direct action to reduce pollution involves individuals whose property has been damaged by a polluter filing a lawsuit (of course such action has been illegal in the United States ever since the federal government started involving itself in pollution licensing). But that’s not the only way.

Apple has announced a plan to build solar power plans in China:

Six months after Apple said it wanted to stop climate change, rather than debate the issue, the company has announced two new programs that it says will reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing partners in China. The two schemes aim to avoid the production of more than 20 million metric tons of pollution between now and 2020 by building solar energy sources in the country’s northern, eastern, and southern grid regions, and by partnering with suppliers to install clean energy projects over the coming years.

At the same time, Apple also announced that it has completed 40 megawatts of solar projects in China’s Sichuan province, capable of producing the same amount of energy used by Apple’s retail stores and operations offices in the country. Apple says the completion of the projects makes the company carbon neutral in China, but that doesn’t factor in the energy used by its manufacturers and suppliers. The two new schemes are intended to offset that energy usage, producing more than 200 megawatts of electricity through the new solar sources — enough to power 265,000 homes in China for a year — and by helping suppliers build projects that will offer more than 2 gigawatts of clean energy.

This move by Apple will do more good than any amount of petitioning the Chinese government. In fact if companies did similar things in the United States it would do more good than any amount of Environment Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.