China embraces renewable revolution

China is the world's leading renewable energy producer and is overtaking more developed economies in the clean tech race.

International non-profit organisation The Climate Group said the country is ahead of the game when it comes to exploiting economic opportunities, creating green-collar jobs and leading development of low carbon technologies.

In a report entitled China’s Clean Revolution, the organisation says China’s transition to a low carbon economy is well underway, led by supportive Government policies.

It leads the world in terms of installed renewable capacity, with 152 Gigawatts in 2007, researchers found.

Despite its coal-dependent economy, the country’s six biggest solar companies already have a combined market value of more than US$15bn.

The report predicts that in the next year, the country will become the world’s leading exporter of wind turbines and a strong competitor in markets for solar water heaters, energy efficient home appliances and rechargeable batteries.

“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, CEO 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.”

Changhua Wu, China director for The Climate Group, said: “Far from ignoring climate change,

Chinese leaders have already committed to improving energy efficiency and scaling up the growth of low carbon industries.

“China is beginning to pull its weight on climate change and the targets and policies in place are in line with those being taken by ‘leading’ countries like the UK and Germany.”

Investment in renewable energy in China is almost level with world leader Germany as a percentage of GDP, the report added.

China has recently overtaken the US as the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for almost a quarter of total global emissions (see related story).

Kate Martin

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