The infamous rise of China is a prime example of a country becoming industrialized. Factories were popping up at tremendous rates. As with any developing country seeing extreme growth, environmental concerns were pushed to the side. Smog and high pollution levels often follow as a result. China is no outlier, and international news headlines have reported on the population throughout the country. Primarily in major cities such as Beijing, citizens level of quality of life is affected.
Therefore, it may come as a surprise that China has announced a $365bn investment into renewable energies. Fossil fuels may have been the previous driver of the manufacturing revolution. By 2020, this reliance should shift towards cleaner fuels.
As the world’s largest energy market, any positive trends towards renewable energy by China is welcomed. At a cost of approximately $75billion a year, a significant impact can be made. Solar power is identified as being a key area for investment. Although China already is the world’s top solar generator, their overall output relative to the countries size is relatively small. Since 2010, large-scale solar plants have decreased in cost by roughly 40%. As technology improves, the energy output cost will decrease and make the fuel source a wide spanning viable method.
Wind farms, hydro power and geothermal and tidal power will also receive extra funding. All areas are benefiting from lower sector costs leading to more attractive investment opportunities.
Compared to the United States, China’s commitment to renewable energy is over double in monetary terms. At the current rate, the US spends roughly $50bn annually, whereas China exceeds $100bn.
Benefits stretch further than cleaner air for all citizens. Employment opportunities are constantly being created in the expanding sector. With China’s commitment to renewable energy investment guaranteed until 2020, an estimated 13 million jobs will follow. In the past, fossil fuels held the key to expanding the economy. Now, as the nation looks to move away from cheap manufacturing, investment in emerging markets such as renewable energy should continue the growth.
Naively, experts have commented that China’s promise is hollow. Claiming to be a mere game of smoke and mirrors, purposely announced as it is contradictory to the current President of the United States beliefs. As the United States is about to take a step backwards, in shunning scientific evidence in favour of climate change, China looks to be acting smartly in the future of their country and the world.
As with many problems China has faced however, their answer appears to be money. Problems are not always fixed by throwing money about. Set within the 5-year plan is a target of 50% of China’s energy output would come from renewable sources. If achieved, a major step forward will have occurred. However, without an effective strategy, future energy projects could be mishandled and the investment wasted.
The opportunity has been created for China to show the rest of the world how to properly commit to a green future. Many critics have been appalled at China’s pollution levels. If tackled successfully, this could be the wakeup call for many other nations to follow suit.