CHINA SPENDING BILLIONS TO BECOME WORLDWIDE RENEWABLE ENERGY LEADER
President-elect Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax created by the Chinese. The Chinese disagree—and are pumping billions of dollars’ worth of investments into green energy over the next three years.
On Thursday, Reuters published details of the latest installment of China’s plans to break its deadly use of coal, an addiction that makes it the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitter.
The funds—$361 billion by 2020—are designed to create 13 million green jobs, according to the country’s National Energy Administration. New projects such as solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power will form half of all new electricity generation by 2020 and will create the energy equivalent to 580 metric tons of coal.
The announcement matches China’s past pledges to kick its coal habit—the fuel that dominates its electricity production and creates heartburn for the country’s leaders, as the public’s angry reaction to foul air becomes a major political threat. Despite China’s so-called “war on pollution,” this week brought yet another toxic “airpolcalypse” to Beijing’s skies. Watch this incredible time-lapse video of the smog rolling into town:
China has been pulling out all stops to create a clean-tech revolution. Last year, a Chinese firm topped a reputable global ranking for wind energy production for the first time, beating America’s General Electric. China already leads the world in solar. China is also on track to peak and then begin to taper its greenhouse gas emissions around 2025—five years ahead of a promise made by its leader, Xi Jinping, in November 2014, as part of China’s historic deal with the United States. This year, China will launch the world’s biggest national carbon trading market.
But China is on the verge of losing its major global partner in these endeavors. Trump has promised to end America’s role in the Paris climate agreement and cancel contributions to U.N. climate programs. He has also tapped pro-fossil-fuel and anti-regulation types, including some unapologetic climate change deniers, for top positions in the new administration. For example, as Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt has repeatedly sued the Environmental Protection Agency—which Trump wants him to lead.