With Paris Agreement, China seeks new revolutions in environment and economy

World Today

Aerial view of shipping yard in South China

China’s signature codifies the promises made in Paris last year. Those promises are also in line with the country’s 13th five year plan.

“In 2015 for example, if you look at new power plants that were built in China, 63 percent of capacity was non-fossil. That means primarily wind, followed by hydro, followed by solar and nuclear fourth. That’s a real change, where you go back ten years ago and China was building almost 100 gigawatts a year of new coal plants, that number has dropped dramatically.” Joanna Lewis, Associate Professor of Science, Technology & International Affairs at Georgetown University said.

Over the next five years, China aims to grow its economy by more than 6.5 percent each year. Much of the growth is expected to come from the services sector as well as more efficient and innovative manufacturing.

“The energy transition coincides with another transition in China and that is the economic transition,” Liu Yadong, CEO of CEFC Global Strategic Investment said.

China also plans to implement an emissions trading system in 2017, covering sectors such as power, iron, steel and chemicals.

Experts say the economic and energy transitions China is currently undertaking, will likely foster closer U.S.-China ties.

“This revolution, has opened new opportunities for China and the U.S. to cooperate and I would say the U.S.-China climate agreement is a great example,” Meghan O’Sullivan, Director of Geopolitics of the Energy Project at Harvard Kennedy School stated.

The efforts China have been making to combat climate change are critically important. Actually stopping climate change will ultimately rest on all signatories adhering to the Paris Agreement.