China Leads the World in the Race to Go Green

China Leads the World in the Race to Go Green

[This article originally appeared on]

China is taking advantage of the green technology revolution that the challenge of climate change provides, according to a new report launched recently by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Beijing.

The report from The Climate Group shows that China is leading the development and commercialization of a range of low carbon technologies. With a new breed of entrepreneurs and ambitious government policies, Chinese businesses are amongst the top producers of electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and energy efficient appliances.

Tony Blair, speaking at the launch event in Beijing, said: "China is already playing an important role in producing and consuming those technologies needed to solve the climate change challenge."

"To beat climate change, we all can and must do more. As well as extending the technologies we already have, we need to speed up the development of important new ones, like carbon capture and storage, large scale solar power and smart grids that will all be essential after 2020.

"A new global climate agreement will set a route map for this to happen and for our journey to a prosperous low carbon 21st century. As one of the world’s major economic powers, China will have to be at the forefront of this journey. This report shows that it can be."

This new report - China’s Clean Revolution II: China’s opportunity for a low carbon future - is a synthesis of the latest information on China’s progress towards a low carbon economy and aims to keep a-pace with the rapidly evolving green agenda in China, as well as expanding to cover new industries including geothermal power.

The report examines four key areas of China’s low carbon economy: low carbon vehicles, energy efficiency in industry, renewable energy and low carbon buildings and urban design. In each of these areas Chinese businesses, supported by the Chinese government, are demonstrating solid progress:

1. Low carbon vehicles: China is now the world’s largest auto market, in January this year car sales in China exceeded those in the US for the first time. 13 Chinese cities have signed up to a government scheme to buy 13,000 electric vehicles this year. The aim is to manufacture half a million electric vehicles in China by 2011.

2. Energy efficiency: the energy intensity of the Chinese economy has fallen by 60 percent since 1980 and the government has set a goal of reducing it by a further 20 percent between 2005 and 2010. China is well on the way to achieve this target.

3. Renewable energy: China is driving rapid growth in renewable energy. Internationally China supplies 40 percent of the world’s solar PV technology; domestically China is the largest wind power generator in Asia and fourth in the world. Between 2007 and 2008 China’s wind power capacity doubled and it is likely to double again in 2009 accounting for one third of the world’s new capacity.

4. Low carbon buildings: China has set a 50 percent energy conservation standard for all new buildings and a 65 percent standard for new buildings in some major cities by 2010.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director at The Climate Group, said: "It’s a 70-30 situation. We have 70 percent of the solutions today, but they are not all proven technologies and none are at the scale we need. 30 percent of the solutions will be found in the future. Therefore we still need foreign investment to drive the revolution."

Tony Blair, founder of the ’Breaking the Climate Deadlock’ initiative, said: "A major part of the solution to tackle climate change and make the necessary reductions in carbon emissions will be achieved through new technologies.

"Although there are major challenges ahead, China has demonstrated that it has the capacity and determination needed to achieve a rapid, large-scale transformation to low carbon ways of building, producing, and consuming. Achieving such a transformation will take continued leadership from China’s government and the support of a global deal on climate change. The benefits, in terms of avoided climate change as well as economic development and energy security, will be tremendous."