China invested $65.1 billion in clean energy in 2012

Clare Saxon Ghauri
7 May 2013

BEIJING: A report by Australia’s Climate Commission states that China is quickly becoming a global leader on climate change.

The report, 'The Critical Decade: International Action on Climate Action' presents analysis of global economies’ activities on climate change over the last nine months. Findings show that although all major economies have policies in place to address climate change, China is leading the way and looks to continue its ambitious action.

In 2012, China invested US$65.1 billion in clean energy, which represents 30% of investments from all of the G20 countries combined. The figure is 20% up on China’s 2011 total and remains unchallenged by any other nation, the report states.

China’s growth was largely driven by new solar capacity, which grew 75% and wind power, which generated 36% more electricity than in 2011.

Tim Flannery, co-author and a key figure at the Climate Commission, said: "China is accelerating action. China has halved its growth in electricity demand, dramatically increased its renewable energy capacity, and decelerated its emissions growth more quickly than expected. After years of strong growth in coal use, this has begun to level off. They are beginning to put in place seven emissions trading schemes that will cover quarter of a billion people. Whatever the reason, the results speak for themselves. China is quickly moving to the top of the leader board on climate change."

Close behind China was the United States, which invested US$35.6 billion into clean energy. The report says momentum has also grown globally with 98 countries committing to limiting their emissions.

But as the Bonn climate talks kicked off last week, many climate leaders stated that such progress is not enough, particularly after Tuesday’s news that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide hit record levels.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group said: “As we can see with this report from Australia, China's leadership in the global clean revolution is becoming more and more recognized by the international community. The world largest emerging economy has adopted a national strategy that will improve energy efficiency, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, create more green jobs, and lift the living standard of its people. All the achievements have been made by setting clear policy direction and certainty, with mandatory targets every five years, offering more incentives to inspire technology and institutional innovation, and using public financing to leverage more investment from the market, as well as providing more clearly-set market signals to regulate and guide consumption.

“And yet, China has not managed to solve the puzzle of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. While intensity has been declining, total emissions continue to rise, thus China continues to be the largest emitter in the world.

“But what is encouraging, is the new leadership in office today which has reconfirmed and revised its clean revolution ambition. Sustainability has now been lifted to the top of national and political priorities. As the new generation of leaders have a huge task to deliver the targets set by the previous generation of leaders, it is expected that more ambitious and drastic efforts will be put together in the latter half of this year, when the picture will become clearer in terms of specific actions and strategy to address the more fundamental challenges for the country. This will include how to continue to achieve economic growth in a world of increasingly more resource and environmental constraints.”

Our related reports

Shaping China’s Climate Finance Policy

Consensus and Cooperation for a Clean Revolution: China and global sustainable development

Leadership for a Clean Revolution

By Clare Saxon

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