Does China see the Trump presidency as a chance to position itself as a world leader in fighting climate change? The Guardian looks at China’s green edge and its troubles at home to make renewables work.
Amit Ronen, director of the George Washington University’s GW Solar Institute, describes feeling “awed” by the scale of the Chinese solar industry during a recent trip to the country, reports Tom Phillips for the Guardian. “The numbers are just crazy,” he told Phillips. But just five years ago, Phillips writes, solar power was considered too expensive a potential source of energy for China’s domestic market and now the country “hopes to be producing 110GW of solar power and 210GW of wind power each year as part of an ambitious plan to slash pollution and emissions.” Meanwhile, earlier this month, China’s national energy agency announced it would invest more than $360 billion in renewable power generation by 2020 and increase jobs in the sector to 13 million.
Recent moves by China have left campaigners feeling hopeful that China – the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases – will step into a green leadership position they fear the new US president will turn away from. But some question whether China is ready to do so or even wants to. The Guardian continues:
Zhang Junjie, an environmental expert from Duke Kunshan University, believed China would stick to its Paris commitments out of self-interest, particularly since the fight against global warming empowered its environmental agencies to crack down on toxic smog despite strong resistance from vested interests.
“[But] if China needs to do more, to commit more, I don’t expect that is likely,” Zhang added, noting that China wanted to be a climate leader but not the climate leader. “Leadership is not just power … it is responsibility.” …
China’s push to develop renewables [at home] has not been entirely plain sailing either …