One of the most alarming realities of our government's failure to take real action to solve the climate crisis: the Chinese have jumped into the lead. Last week Repower America’s blog highlighted five ways in which China is a player in the clean energy arena:
"1. Admitting It Has a Carbon Problem. – China has recently admitted to being the world’s number one greenhouse gas emitter, and outwardly recognizing a problem is the first step towards making it better, right? Even though data have shown for several years that China leads the word in its GHG pollution, China has also been taking steps to increase its efforts to combat climate change and ramp up clean energy technology."
"2. Significantly Growing Wind Energy Capacity. – According to an October 2010 Bloomberg New Energy Finance release [PDF], in 2010, China “will install 25% more new capacity than in 2009, when the country set a record with 14,000 new megawatts,” whereas in the United States, “installations [of wind turbines are expected] to fall 39% in 2010 compared to 2009.”
"3. Surpassing the U.S. as The Most Attractive Market For Renewables Investment. – The August 2010 Renewable energy country attractiveness indices by Ernst and Young “sees the U.S. relinquishing its top position held since 2006 — dropping two points to slip behind China, effectively crowning the Asian giant the most attractive market for renewables investment.” Green jobs and investment are moving from the U.S. to China because the American government is not implementing policies that would give more confidence to investors. Ben Warren of Ernst and Young stated, “China has all the benefits of capital, government will, and it’s a massive market.” In 2009, an American company called Applied Materials opened a new research and development facility in China. Mark Pinto, the company’s CTO said, “We’re doing R&D in China because they’re becoming a big market whose needs are different from those in the U.S.” He added that he also sees China becoming “the biggest solar market in the world.”
"4. Setting Targets To Reduce Its Carbon Intensity. – In response to climate change, last year China pledged to reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent compared to 2005 levels. A recent NRDC working paper [PDF] states that “China‘s CO2 intensity target is a big step in the right direction and it provides the right incentives for future improvements in reducing emissions.”
"5. Doing Something About Coal-Fired Power Plants. – China still gets around 80 percent of its energy from coal, which means the country is continuing to pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Chinese are trying to balance this by building more efficient coal power plants and by shutting down less efficient plants. But China needs to do a lot more in order to end its reliance on coal."
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