China's Clean Revolution II

Opportunities for a low carbon future
Reading time: 47 minutes
20 August 2009

Despite economic downturn, China's domestic markets continue to scale-up low carbon technology

This report shows that in an incredibly short space of time China has taken the lead in the race to develop and commercialize a range of low carbon technologies.

On the back of ambitious government policies and a new breed of entrepreneurs, Chinese businesses are amongst the top producers of electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and energy efficient appliances. Even with this growth, the opportunities for Chinese and foreign companies are huge. A successful agreement in Copenhagen later this year will open the door to further collaboration and growth.

Building on The Climate Group's 2008 report, the new report, China's Clean Revolution II: China's opportunity for a low carbon future is a synthesis of the latest information on China's progress towards a low carbon economy and aims to keep a-pace with a rapidly evolving green agenda in China, as well as expanding to cover new industries including geothermal power.

In the last year, the global economic turndown has hurt China's exports of renewable and low-carbon technologies and created a new impetus to expand its domestic markets.  The Chinese government's 4 trillion Yuan (US$ 585 billion) stimulus package put a strong emphasis on clean development and is backed by many new laws and policies focused on increasing the uptake of low carbon technologies.

The report examines four key areas of China's low carbon economy: low carbon vehicles, energy efficiency in industry, renewable energy and low carbon buildings and urban design.  In each of these areas Chinese businesses, supported by the Chinese government, are demonstrating solid progress*:

  • Thirteen Chinese cities have signed up to a government scheme to purchase 13,000 electric vehicles (EVs) this year in total. The aim is to manufacture half a million EVs in China in 2011;
  •  The energy intensity of the Chinese economy has fallen by over 60% since 1980, and the government has set a goal of reducing it by a further 20% between 2005 and 2010;
  • Internationally, mainland China supplies 30% of the world's solar PV technology (Greater China, including Taiwan, 40%); domestically, China is the largest wind power generator in Asia and fourth in the world;
  • China's energy conservation goals include a 50% energy conservation standard for all new buildings and a 65% standard for new buildings in some major cities by 2010.

* China's Clean Revolution II draws on a wide range of sources, including government reports, independent academic analysis, news reports, interviews and informal conversations. While every effort has been made to present a balanced account with information corroborated where possible, some evidence - in particular the most recent information - is inevitably circumstantial.

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