Chinese Cleantech Market Could Reach $1 Trillion, Report Predicts

Chinese Cleantech Market Could Reach $1 Trillion, Report Predicts

Beijing pollution -- CC licensed by Flickr user kevindooley

With the right blend of government policies and incentives, the Chinese greentech market could reach $1 trillion -- or 15 percent of the country’s GDP in 2013, a coalition of business and policy experts said this week.

The China Greentech Initiative, a group of more than 80 private and public stakeholders from the U.S. and China, released a report at the World Economic Forum outlining hundreds of opportunities to grow the mammoth country’s environmental technologies market in a bid to help decision-makers navigate the market's challenges and opportunities.

The report identified more than 300 greentech solutions across seven sectors in a country whose economy has grown into the world's third-largest, but not without significant environmental costs, including pollution and water scarcity issues. The report says the private sector can also play a large part in driving the cleantech sector, but will do so only if the underlying policy framework makes for an attractive business case.

The report’s release comes just three months before the pivotal negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conferencee in Copenhagen, where the world’s nations will try to draft a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. refused to ratify Kyoto, citing the exclusion of developing but highly emitting countries, namely China.

Although China has publicly rebuffed calls for mandatory emissions caps, arguing that developed countries should shoulder the bulk of responsibility and cost of reducing emissions, several reports have surfaced in recent months signaling the country’s willingness to join the global effort to address climate change.

In addition to a U.S.-China memorandum of understanding signed in July pledging the countries to work together to reach an international climate agreement, the pair are also expected to sign a bilateral agreement in November during a visit from U.S. President Barack Obama, the Guardian reported.

The roadmap unveiled by the China Greentech Initiative could play a role in this bilateral treaty. “This is a coming-out party for China’s ‘greentech’ initiatives,” said the Clean Air Task Force’s Ming Sung this week, as reported by the Guardian. “China and the U.S. can take over the world on low-carbon technology.”

It wouldn’t be the first time that China and the U.S. have collaborated to advance environmental technologies, although cries of protectionism have overshadowed some developments. The world’s two top emitters formed a research partnership in July to study energy efficiency buildings and communities through joint analyses, exchange of experts and technicians, and demonstration projects.

Around the same time, they launched the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center to help researchers from both countries pursue technologies to address climate change in the most affordable fashion.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user kevindooley.