China’s Push for a Renewable Energy Future

Take a minute to consider the following. What if the world’s most populous nation had the necessity-driven willpower to develop the massive uptake of renewable energy like wind and solar power to offset the catastrophic effects of climate change and to secure clean, safe, abundant energy for 1.3 billion people?

Beijing, China – April 13, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] It’s not a ‘what if’ scenario, says GreenPeace, this is the new reality in this huge rapidly developing country. China is uniquely positioned, with its size, population and leadership of the developing world, to forge the way for the massive development of its abundant renewable energy resources in provinces such as Guangdong for wind and Xinjiang for solar. Ahead of last month’s National People’s Congress (NPC) the talk was of ending the ‘cult of GDP’ and of a ‘Green GDP’ which factors in the environmental costs of economic development, according to Greenpeace. The energy sector is key to this. China is seeking more aggressively to curb pollution and address rapidly growing energy demands. The 2003 NPC ordered the drafting of a Renewable Energy Promotion Law by the end of 2004. All of which signals the intent of the Chinese government to draw in the massive amounts of clean energy investments and financing waiting to be tapped from strong advocates of renewable energy like the EU. “If China does adopt large scale renewable energy production, this will boost worldwide markets, speed up technological advances and allow China to not only tip the balance of the global market, but of our planet’s ecological equilibrium as well,” GreenPeace said. It doesn’t end their either. Earlier last week a high level EU-China Conference on Renewable Energy Policy and Financing took place in Beijing. This was followed by Renewable Energy Asia 2004, running from 7th-9th April. This was both a landmark industry event and a great indicator of political intent as it was supported and endorsed by many central government and international agencies. Greenpeace was invited to put up a booth and to deliver a presentation at the exhibition and had an international team of energy experts from China, UK, Philippines and the Netherlands at the event. “The fact that we were invited shows the seriousness and deepening engagement of the Chinese government with elements of the environmental sector of civil society and that Greenpeace’s relevance in China has been recognised,” Greenpeace said. “The reception Greenpeace received at and around the event was overwhelming.” In the words of Red, one of the breathless Greenpeacers who has just returned from the exhibition, “it was inspiring and a very clear indication of the support that Renewable Energy has as the solution to climate change, and of the role that Greenpeace can play”. The support from the top for renewable energy development in China is driven by the need to secure indigenous energy resources for the nation’s huge population and growing economy. GreenPeace believes China is committed to avoiding the environmental costs of a burgeoning economy that some other nations have failed to. “Contrast this with the current US Administration’s view of the Kyoto Protocol,” the group said. “The US continues to promote its bogus ‘alternative’, and Russia’s dithering threatens the protocol’s future, while disappearing sea ice, melting glaciers, floods, famine and drought lend new urgency to the need for action on climate.” See related story in the China’s People Daily at the link below.
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