China may be having some trouble coming to grips with its status as a nation that no longer truly qualifies as 'developing' -- its per capita emissions are higher than France's now -- but it looks like it may not have much trouble realizing that relying on fossil fuels is for the economic giants of the past. Reports have surfaced that China plans to funnel as much as $738 billion into clean energy development and deployment over the next ten years -- which would leave the United States firmly in the dust. Here's Bloomberg:
China, the world's biggest polluter, may spend about 5 trillion yuan ($738 billion) in the next decade developing cleaner sources of energy to reduce emissions from burning oil and coal, a government official said ...This is good news for a lot of reasons -- first of all, that the world's most polluting nation is showing a potential dedication of a major magnitude towards breaking its habits. Second, the carbon reductions that stand to emerge from that kind of investment may be serious enough to put China on track towards a more sustainable energy model (though just about anything would be more sustainable than its current habit of throwing up a new coal plant every week).
China needs between 500 billion and 600 billion yuan annually to develop energy-conservation and low-carbon technologies, according to the government's 2050 China Energy and CO2 Emissions Report published last year. The country attracted $11.5 billion of asset financing in clean-energy technology in the second quarter, more than Europe and the U.S. combined
Finally, news of an investment of that size may finally be able to spur some of the foot-draggers in the United States to realize that we may indeed lose out to China in the future energy market -- and that serious investment in clean energy now, as well as serious carbon-pricing policy might be a good idea to get under way. China is already outspending us by a wide margin when it comes to clean energy, but that 738 billion number is truly jaw-dropping.
Also, all ye American conservative politicians who so enjoy denying the existence of climate change, take heed of the words of one Hong Kong policy analyst: "The government is taking the issue of cleaner energy seriously for the reasons of climate change, energy security. It's already meeting some of its targets for sectors like wind power well ahead of schedule."