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Despite massive Green Manufacturing Expansion, China’s Greenhouse Effect to grow to critical levels by 2020

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China Solar and Wind

China’s renewable (solar & wind) manufacturing industry has generated a massive global oversupplying leading to a price crash in solar panels and wind turbines. This had made these two primary forms of green energy seeing increasing adoption globally as prices reach grid parity. However despite this glut of Chinese green manufacturing, the country’s carbon emissions keep growing, as the overall growth far outstrips the growth in green energy capacity. Despite installing around half of the world’s wind energy capacity last year and projection to become the world’s largest solar installer, China will still manage to increase its renewable energy generation to 16% of its electricity requirements by 20%. This means that the increasing power demand will be met by Coal which is very damaging to the environment. As coal power plants are being shuttered down in the West, they are growing exponentially in China and India. China is said to install a thermal power plant each week ironically making Coal a great future investment.

After overtaking USA in Carbon Emissions,China surpasses USA in Energy Consumption as well

China surpassed the USA as the largest emitter of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in 2006 when it produced 6.2 billion tons of CO2 overtaking the USA at 5.8 billion tons. It has only increased the gap with the USA in the intervening 4 years as the Chinese economy has grown roughly at a 10% average. Now International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that China has also become the world’s largest consumer of energy overtaking the US with a lead of 4%. IEA said that China consumed the 2.252 Billion Tons of Oil Equivalent overtaking USA at 2.17 Billion Tons. BP in its statistical overview had said the same thing a month ago. The increase in Energy Consumption by Emerging Countries like India and China is going to result in substantial increase in the prices of energy.

China which is the world’s largest emitter of GHG emissions will increase its Greenhouse effect by another 40% . There are reports that China may be producing even more GHG emission than reported. China could be under reporting its GHG emissions by 20% . This means that by 2020, China’s GHG missions would be almost 10 billions tons of CO2 equivalent which is a truly alarming figure. This means despite its effort in the cleantech sector, global warming is set to become even more acute. A truly alarming situation given the global leadership has given up on its responsibility on climate change.

 Grey with tints of green

 By contrast, the structural barriers to greening China’s economy are imposing. An addiction to energy-intensive heavy industry ranks high among them. Persuading local officials, who are graded on their economic performance, to risk sacrificing growth for the sake of the greener good is another systemic stumbling-block. Probably the biggest reason for pessimism, however, is China’s abundant reserves of (cheap) coal—the third-largest in the world.

Coal’s kingdom in China is set to grow. The current five-year plan (2011-15) pushes a scheme to build up 14 large “coal bases”. In relative terms China’s coal use will dip from 66% now to 59% at decade’s end, according to the EIU. Yet China will burn more of the sooty fuel as its overall energy needs expand. On the EIU’s measurements, renewable-energy (including burning waste for energy) plus nuclear will provide over 16% of China’s energy mix by 2020, up from around 12% in 2010. But overall carbon emissions will nevertheless rise by more than 40% this decade.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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