China Still Ahead of US in Commitment to Renewables

US coal fired power plant in Florida

US coal fired power plant

This new policy from Obama is great to see ( but this line brought me up short: “officials hope that meeting this goal will help persuade other countries like China to do more to address climate change.” If anything it’s the United States that needs to be persuaded to do more to address climate change.

China has a domestic carbon trading scheme, it’s a signatory to the Kyoto protocol, it’s aiming for a 17% reduction in carbon intensity and for 11.4% of energy to come from non-fossil fuels by 2015 and 15% by 2020.  Last year China invested $54bn in clean energy – the US lags well behind and only invested $36.7bn.  By % of GDP it’s even worse – China invested 2.7 times as much as the US in 2013. It is the largest investor in renewables by value, the largest generator of hydropower in the world (229GW), has the largest installed wind capacity in the world (89GW) and has 19GW of installed solar capacity.  Compare that to the US’s installed capacity of 100GW of hydro, 61GW of wind and 10GW of solar at the end of 2013.

China’s high emissions largely come from the fact that they consume about the same amount of coal as the rest of the world combined, something they are very much aware of and moving to reduce, both with renewable generation, massive expansion of nuclear generation and investment in clean coal technology, including carbon capture and storage.

One hopes this is merely lazy reporting and not a view that’s actually held within the US government that they think China needs admonishing for not doing enough to address climate change.

Categories: Economic Indicators

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