Is a greener China on the horizon?

In the last 20 years China has been known by many as the most polluted and polluting country in the world. This is caused by mainly two things. One, it’s immense growth and it’s newly born rivalry with the US. As China developed so quickly, and because they have so many people, their pollution has skyrocketed as well. A lot of people believe that, because of this, China is the doom of the planet and that they do not care about it one bit. But is that accurate? Or is China trying to make changes, now that they have the financials to do so? Is China becoming one of the leaders of the battle against climate change?

It is clear, the nation is investing heavily in renewable energy, during a time where the US is slightly more passive on the issue of climate change, one good example of this was found at cop 23 where the chinese introduced a new initiative called the green technology bank. The project revolves around chinese engineers disassembling wind turbines along with other products that produce renewable energy and improving upon the current technology. It is then transferred onto a database. This information could potentially be transferred to developing countries.

Even a green industry fund of 530 million has been established to support similar green energy projects in the future. But in addition, China is seeking outwards. Right now, the nation is looking to set up a joint research center with nations like Israel and Canada and is hoping to use the “one belt one road” initiative to further strengthen trade.

On cop 23 also, China along with a few other big coal user countries, like the US, has not signed a new initiative called Powering Past Coal Alliance. This alliance aims to phase out coal by 2030. The reason why China, for instance, did not sign this, is that it would be perhaps impossible for such a big user to phase out coal entirely by then.

However, ever since 2014, China has made huge cuts in coal emissions which were according to their talks with President Obama. This suggests that they are in fact ready to make changes but do not want to commit to something they are not able to fulfil. China is also now the leading power in solar energy, but it seems not ready just yet to “break up” with fossil energy sources.

Balazs U. and Jacob S. / S6 / EEB1 Uccle

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