It might be hard to believe, but China is on its way to becoming the leading force in the battle for environmental protection and climate change.
Recently there has been a lot of fuss around the Paris agreement, and the chief of U.S: Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt called it a „bad deal“. He even went so far as to claim that China has made no visible effort to lessen carbon pollution, while the United States has sacrificed jobs in attempts to meet the terms of this agreement.
Sadly, the facts simply don’t support his statement. On one side, we have President Trump, who is working hard on dismantling of the U.S. climate change policy, and on the other, we have Chinese President Xi Jinping who is taking leadership in the global climate fight, and pushing for a swift expansion of clean energy.
When Trump called for a rollback of federal limits on carbon pollution, China reacted sharply, with an official statement from their Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who said that China is still committed to the Paris agreement and that “as a responsible, large, developing country, China’s resolve, aims and policy moves in dealing with climate change will not change.” China’s support means a lot for this agreement, as the U.S. stepped out of it.
China made it clear that it’s not going to step down from tackling the carbon crisis, in spite of their long-term cooperation with the U.S. in many other fields.
And while some countries seem to be regressing into old damaging and climate-endangering habits, China is progressing more and more, on both climate and energy.
Here’s how China fights the climate change.
Their coal consumption dropped three years in a row
China’s need for energy is growing, but their coal usage is getting smaller and smaller. In January, the government of this country canceled the construction of more than 100 coal-fueled power plants. This is just one part of their effort to reduce air pollution and slow down climate change. China’s coal use has already peaked, and that was a very important moment in the history of climate and economy globally. In part thanks to falling consumption of coal, China has managed for its carbon emissions to stay flat or even decline for the previous three years.
They are going to invest at least $360 billion in the generation of renewable power
China is already the world leader in renewable energy investment, and they recently announced that they will invest this huge amount by 2020. According to their National Energy Administration, they are planning for half of their electricity generation to come from hydro, solar, wind and nuclear power. This move means that the investment commitment that China had made, combined with moves made by President Trump, jobs that could have been made in the U.S. may actually go to Chinese workers.
They want to have five million electric vehicles on the road by 2020
In 2015. there were only one million of these vehicles in the world. Since then, nearly 50 percent of all new electric vehicles got sold in China. This country has very ambitious plans for zero-carbon cars, and they are going towards their goals at full speed. Beijing announced that they will replace all 70,000 of the city’s diesel and gas-fueled taxis with electric vehicles.
Their solar capacity grew by 82 percent in 2016.
Even though this country is often linked with coal, China is the largest solar producer in the world, and it nearly doubled its solar capacity recently. This is reasonable, as this country is the world’s largest energy consumer, so they are planning to have 210GW of wind and 110GW of solar installed by 2020. For instance, that is more than double the solar and wind capacity currently in the U.S., and, according to Greenpeace, China just might meet its target on solar as soon as 2018.
Jobs related to renewable energy are at an all time high in this country
In the U.S. renewable energy employs less than one million people, while in China, it employs 3.5 million. Also, they expect to open 13 million more jobs in this sector, thanks to new investments.
China’s efforts are a proof that a country can achieve high energy standards with sufficient production and a stable economy even if it turns towards the “green“ solutions.