Green Group Declares the Future Leader in Clean Energy Is… China?

By Eliza Strickland | August 1, 2008 4:36 pm

windmill chinaChina currently leads the world in its use of renewable energy, and is poised to also take first place on investment in clean energy technologies, according to a new report from an international non-profit, The Climate Group. The report serves as a stark contrast to the steady drumbeat of recent news about China’s pollution problems, which include the smoggy air of Beijing that may imperil Olympic athletes during this month’s summer games.

The report says that China has hardly shed all of its allegiance to dirty energy; [I]t is building one coal-fired power station a week and its carbon dioxide emissions have surged since 2002, from seven percent of the global total to more than 24 percent [Reuters]. However, the government’s investment in clean technology is on an upward trend, the report says. In 2007, China’s $12 billion investment in renewables was second only to Germany’s; by 2009, China’s renewables-investment is expected to be the world’s largest [Grist].

While the report’s authors acknowledge the major role China is currently playing in producing the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming, they say China’s ongoing “clean revolution” has been largely ignored by Western nations. “For too long, many governments, businesses and individuals have been wary of committing to action on climate change because they perceive that China – the world’s largest emitter – is doing little to address the issue,” said Steve Howard, chief executive of the Climate Group. “However, the reality is that China’s government is beginning to unleash a low-carbon dragon which will power its future growth, development and energy security objectives” [The Guardian].

Some of the report’s findings have to be understood in context, like the determination that China leads the world in installed capacity for renewable energy generation; it wins that title largely because of the controversial Three Gorges Dam, which has been criticized by environmentalists for its effects on wildlife and the landscape. But other sectors of China’s renewable energy portfolio are likely to be applauded by environmentalists. According to the report, China is the world’s fifth-largest wind-power producer, the biggest manufacturer of both solar panels and solar water heaters, and will soon be the world’s top exporter of wind turbines [Grist].

Image: flickr/George Lu

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
  • f**k me

    I insistent refect this infromation to all people in China, it is a very improtant massage sent to the UN. The pouplation is getting higher than is usually be. Chinese people trying to make the environment the best they can get.
    thank you

  • Uncle B

    If the U.S. had chosen to be a moral people, and leaving Iraqi oil alone, and following Al Gore, decided to develop the South Western deserts, with the technology of the times – solar/thermal-molten sodium – electricity installations, for the same amount of money as that war cost, ($650 Billion), today, we would be tapping into the largest, renewable, sustainable, energy source the world has ever known. It would have paid every energy bill in the U.S.A. for maintenance fees only – FOREVER! It would be equivalent to an oil field that can NEVER run dry! Low cost electric power, and storeable hydrogen gasoline replacement from the electricity, for all!
    After the millions of murders, and $650 billions of dollars, borrowed from our children’s futures and pissed away, with thousands of our own and others maimed and disfigured for life, millions of families utterly destroyed, ours and theirs, we are no closer to Iraqi oil production than the Iraqis are!
    The next time you hear a blithering idiot spoiled brat, drunken, drug addicted, sociopath, rich Arabic saber dancing daddie’s boy oilman, stand at a microphone and threaten YOUR safety with someone ELSE’S weapons, remember what you lost America, remember, and weep! (also see http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan)

  • Yew Tze Ee

    i am happy to read this report. i hope usa will “compete” with china in renewable energy sector,so we will have a better future.

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