We are often reminded that China is the world’s largest polluter emitting about 10,357 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere every year. That may be a fact and now well known, but what is less known is that China is now also the world’s largest renewable energy investor. With huge solar and hydropower projects already completed and in the pipeline, The Chinese government have promised to spend around $360 billion on clean energy projects by 2020, by far the largest investment into renewables by any one country.
Attitudes towards the environment and sustainability are fast changing in China. The catalyst for this change is undoubtedly mainly down to the pollution levels many millions of Chinese people are having to endure on a daily basis. The almost permanent smog and the dangerously high pollution readings in many major cities in China mean that something needs to be done and China is now focused on going from being the great polluter to the renewable energy leader and cut on fossil fuel use dramatically year on year.
The future is renewables
At a time when the world’s leading economy, the USA, under Donald Trump, is moving away from renewables and in certain quarters some even consider the whole climate change scenario a hoax, China has seized it’s opportunity to now lead the world with massive, high tech projects to harness sunlight and wind and to move towards a more sustainable energy economy. The Chinese people feel they can no longer hold back on the move towards the ending of mass fossil fuel use to power their industries and cities. The astounding pace of growth in the country in the past decade and a half has come at a price but it is now a price the Chinese are no longer willing to pay. With around a third of deaths in the country said to be contributed to by the pollution, the Chinese know that the status quo is no longer an option.
Of course, China still has a long way to go before it can shed it's image of the world's worst polluter, but it appears that China now fully understands it's industrial drive can not be sustained without investing heavily in renewables and with the USA seemingly no longer wanting to take the lead in this field, China has positioned itself to take over the reigns and is investing heavily in super sized projects around the country.