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Clean and Green
China has made real progress in boosting renewable energy
By Yu Shujun | Web Exclusive

Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China, delivers a speech at an opening plenary of the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on September 13 (YU SHUJUN)

Non-fossil fuels have reached 13.8 percent of China’s total energy consumption and are expected to account for 15 percent by 2020, said Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China, at the opening plenary of the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on September 13.

At the end of 2017, China’s installed capacity of renewable energy reached a record high of 650 gigawatts, according to Xie. Installed capacity of solar power reached the 2020 goal ahead of schedule and that of wind power is 76 percent of the 2020 goal. “The 2020 goal of 15 percent for non-fossil fuels in total energy consumption is achievable,” said Xie.

China’s contributions to the global renewable energy market are also extraordinary. In 2017, more than half of the world’s new solar capacity came from China, according to Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The world installed a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity in 2017, far more than the net additions of other renewables, fossil fuels and nuclear capacity, according to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report 2018, released by the UNEP in April.

The driving force behind the surge in solar power was China, which added some 53 gigawatts in 2017, the report stated. It also showed that China’s investment in renewable energy is the world’s largest, with a record $126.6 billion in 2017, accounting for 45 percent of the global total.

“China has initiated 13 offshore wind projects, which, in addition to reducing emissions, will generate jobs in all stages of construction and operation. This demonstrates the potential for renewable energy to fight climate change and boost economic growth," the report added.

China’s achievements echo this view. Its GDP grew 1.5 times between 2005 and 2017, but its carbon emissions fell by 46 percent, reaching the goal of cutting carbon emissions by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 in advance, said Xie.

The 2018 Global Climate Action Summit is hosted by the California state government and boasts some 4,000 participants, including government and business leaders, investors and citizens from around the world to Take Ambition to the Next Level, in order to realize the historic Paris Agreement.

Reporting from San Francisco

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

Comments to yushujun@bjreview.com

 

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