China is Leading Global Shift to Renewable Energy


Now, ever half of world’s new solar capacity is in China. Beijing is  pushing investments in renewable energy, last year they have gown at a record pace as countries look to move away from fossil fuel-based power production to eco-friendly generation. 


Global investment in renewable energy continued its upward trajectory last year, raising the proportion of world electricity generated by green sources like wind, solar, biomass and geothermal to a new high,  revealed the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, released last month by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Center and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

According to UN, last year, global investment in renewables exceeded $200 billion, since 2004, the world has invested about $2.9 trillion in green energy sources. The lion’s share of this investment went into expanding solar power production, with the world installing a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity last year, far more than the net additions of any other technology — renewable, fossil fuel or nuclear.


Uneven growth paths: Countries worldwide have been increasingly looking for green sources of energy as part of their efforts to combat climate change.


In total, solar power drew investment worth $160.8 billion, up 18 percent year-on-year , and China is the forefront of this solar boom, adding some 53 gigawatts of capacity, equivalent to more than half the global total.

PRC’s total investment in renewables — at a record $126.6 billion —  let Beijing became the largest investor in renewable energy. China has faced an uphill battle transitioning from coal, which is used to generate roughly three-quarters of its power, according to the International Energy Agency.

Still, the country is seen as a potential leader in the fight against climate change after Donald Trump  administration withdrew his country from the Paris accord struck in 2015. The US saw a drop of 6% in investment, amounting to about $40.5 billion, while Europe faced a much bigger fall of around 36%, to $40.9 billion.


Opening up old wounds: Trump administration’s uncooperative approach to climate negotiations has made the country “a burden” to international talks, plus the lack of political engagement by Washington  in global climate negotiations is “making things very difficult”.


Trump sidelined as California and China partner on climate change. Even more unprecedented, China had played a leading role in the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), hosted by California from September 12-14. China’s national Ministry of Ecology and Environment is co-hosting the China Pavilion, a showcase of the country’s efforts to fight climate change.

China’s participation in the summit is the latest episode in the unique partnership it has built with the “Golden State” in recent years. After President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, discussed climate change with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing – sending a strong message to Washington that cooperation between the two powers would continue.

More important, during that trip, and a prior visit in 2013, Governor Brown signed a slew of MOUs (memoranda of understanding) that joined California and China together to fight climate change. Since then, California and PRC have been working together to fund clean technology, shift to electric vehicles, cap and trade carbon emissions, and more.

Their progress, on display in San Francisco this week, is an example of China and the US working together to fight climate change – despite the tumult of the Trump presidency.  Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change affairs, attended the event, plus, the China Pavilion have shown, China’s climate actions and relevant lessons from other geographies, as well as China-California climate cooperation.  


Funding clean technology, electric vehicles and trading carbon, is China leading the cleantech innovation? Maybe, but Beijing is movie forward facing climate changing and it’s looking for foreign and partners.


One key event at the China Pavilion was the launch of the China-California Cleantech Partnership Fund, designed to promote cleantech innovation between Asian Giant and one of the richest state in US. A joint investment plan released by Jiangsu province in south-eastern China and California last year provides a preview of what these funds might look like.

The new “China-California Clean Technology Partnership”, it is also a nPRC bus manufacturer BYD, which is one of the protagonist for the electric bus revolution in China, is manufacturing its buses in Lancaster, California for use in US cities like Los Angeles.

The new fund intends to further this cross-pollination of cleantech. According to the agenda for the China Pavilion, the fund will contain four sub-funds: three between California and Beijing, Shenzhen, and Jiangsu province; and one sponsored by GCL, the Chinese solar manufacturer.

According to the plan, parties will communicate funding decisions to each other and agree to fund “mutually beneficial clean technologies that help each participant’s region achieve shared climate change and air pollution reduction goals, as well as facilitate economic growth”.

China is now the largest electric vehicle market in the world, and California is the largest market in the US. Both governments aim to radically increase the share of electric vehicles on the road: California plans to have five million emission-free cars by 2030; and China is aiming to park definitely petrol and diesel car i the next future.


Will China step up? Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative of climate change affairs, speaking at the Global Climate Action Summit in California  last September said: ’We will not backtrack or renegotiate’


How Chinese Government is facing its personal battle against pollution? Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative of climate change affairs, told reporters at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last September that “Most of the countries – except for a few – have demonstrated flexibility and strong political will,” said Xie.

“We have agreed that we can only move forward from the Paris Agreement, and will not backtrack on what has already been agreed,” he added. Avoiding names, Xie also said the stance of certain countries had been “disappointing” during the recent negotiationsbecause they had disregarded “the irreversible trend” of global decarbonisation.

Xie was likely making a veiled criticism of the Trump administration, which plans to formally withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement in 2020, and has been looking for ways to subsidise a declining domestic coal sector and rollback vehicle emission standards.



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