China Going Green?

China Going Green?

China's Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydro-electric power station. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pvcg/3412711352/">PVCG (flickr)</a>
China's Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydro-electric power station. Photo: PVCG (flickr)

Can China go green without disrupting their economic growth?

Fossil fuels provide most of the energy powering the world’s post populated country, but last month China committed to producing more energy from cleaner sources.

Liu Zhenya — the president of China's largest electric provider — said that China aims to produce 35 percent of its energy from "low-emissions" sources by 2020 at a press conference in Beijing, tells Bloomberg.com.

China is currently the world's leader in renewable energy production. However, a study by Wharton University shows that low emissions sources like hydro-electricity, wind power, and solar power make up only 8 percent of the nation's total energy capacity.

China’s demand for energy is expected to double over the next decade as well — increasing consumption rates, massive amounts of industrial exports, and construction growth could potentially push electricity consumption to nearly 8 trillion kilowatt-hours a year. At that rate China would consume twice as much the United States, which is the next biggest energy consumer after China.

Considering that China’s growth in energy consumption has more than tripled the world’s average in past years and nearly 90 percent of China's energy still comes from coal and oil, the Wharton University report estimates that the nation will need $3.7 trillion to maintain its projected energy growth.

For China, the numbers don’t add up. Their demand for energy is going to double over the next eleven years and the majority of their energy capacity is highly dependent on coal. The climb to 35 percent is either going to be relatively steep or they are going to spend a lot of money converting fossil fuels.

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