As one of the largest countries in the world with the biggest population, China faces unique challenges in its energy sector. With more than 1.3 billion residents, the effects of global warming have the potential to affect millions and millions of its people, so climate change is undeniably of great concern to China. Because of the vast quantities of coal consumed by the country, China is also the world’s largest emitter of energy-related CO2 emissions. The use of coal for electricity generation is not only responsible for large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, it is also responsible for a significant amount of China‘s air pollution.
Changing to a cleaner energy supply is a key part of China’s plans to tackle climate change and the Chinese government is actively promoting renewables as an important part of transitioning to a low carbon economy. In 2013, China installed more renewable energy capacity than all of Europe and the Asia Pacific region and it is still increasing. China’s 13th Five Year Plan for energy was released recently and it outlines specific targets for energy consumption and energy resource use including increasing the percentage of non-fossil energy consumption to at least 15% of total consumption and reducing the share of coal to 58%. This is a big transition for historically coal-dependent China but it has stepped up and made impressive changes already. There are going to be a large number of clean energy projects coming online in the next four years and we will see unprecedented growth in related jobs.
To continue to read the full China report as part of our Research Series “The Future is Renewable: Targets and Policies by Country”, please click “Read More”.