China agreed to peak its carbon
dioxide emissions by 2030 and
boost green energy output to
within the same timeline.
gas expansion and efficiency projects that reduce
carbon pollution from power plants.
“Notably, the United States did not set a national
clean-energy target, though many states have their
own renewable portfolio standards,” says Arthur
Yip, energy systems engineer at The Breakthrough
Institute, Oakland, California, USA, an environmental think tank. Instead it will aim to cut its net
greenhouse-gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent of
2005 levels within 10 years, requiring it to double
the current pace of carbon-emission reduction.
While wind turbines and utility-scale solar projects
are expected to expand dramatically in the coming
years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s
regulatory impact analysis of the clean power plan
suggests the near-term focus will remain on clean-
ing up existing fossil fuel production.
In contrast, China will focus on diversifying its
energy portfolio. The nation’s Energy Development
Strategy Action Plan, or EDSAP, includes specific
targets for each power source, including coal,
natural gas, wind, solar and biomass. Nuclear and
hydropower will also be two significant components of the country’s low-carbon strategy.
“China has devoted massive resources into
developing supply chains and human capital in
preparation for rolling out nuclear,” Mr. Yip
says. “China’s targeted nuclear deployment,
while unprecedented domestically, is not
unimaginable in an international context.”
But these large-scale projects come with
significant risk. Special training and certifica-
tion is required for the construction of nuclear
power plants, which have strict safety stan-
dards and specifications for the installation of
equipment. That means China will need a spe-
cialized labor force and on-site engineers who
can implement design changes along the way.
China will also have to overcome opposition from the industrial sector, Ma Jun,
director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing, China, told The
“China’s energy is very much focused on
coal, and the economy is very focused on
heavy industry, which is carbon-intensive, so
restructuring won’t be easy. But I think that
the momentum generated to solve the local
air pollution problem is a push for such a commitment,” he said.
won’t be easy.
But I think that
solve the local
problem is a
push for such a
—Ma Jun, Institute of Public and
Environmental Affairs, Beijing,
China to The Guardian
A smoggy day