On a recent screening of CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria’s GPS commentary show he asked why China’s progressive renewal energy policies is taking that country into the 21st Century; while the USA’s current energy policies is retreating it back into the 19th. The GPS program pointed out China’s advances in the field of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind energy projects. GPS also mentioned China’s plans to have millions of electric cars and other vehicles on the roads by the year 2030 to at least partially reduce the country’s severe air pollution problems.
This appears to make China a global leader in renewable energy programs.
On the other hand, the current US administration’s plan to increase production and use of fossil fuels, including reopening long closed coal mines, indicates a desire to retreat to energy policies in use more than a century ago. Why does China’s renewable energy program appear to be so progressive, while America’s energy plans seem to be going the other direction? The answer lies partially with China’s more liberalized economy that has enabled Chinese consumers to own automobiles, resulting in severe air pollution in large metropolitan areas. This pollution has become so severe that use of fossil fuels is responsible for more than 90% of China’s sulphur dioxide emissions, causing more than 1.6 million deaths per year.
The severity of China’s air pollution has resulted in the Chinese government allocating more resources to the development of renewable energy as well as the production of electric cars and other vehicles, used for public transport. China’s new “5 Year Plan for Electricity” hopes to have around 35 to 39% of total electricity produced by non-fossil fuel sources. The result are giant Chinese solar energy farms, even those that float over water (above photo).
China is a strong backer of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, while the USA administration has decided to withdraw from it and even use more coal for energy, as in the photo below: .
Chinese renewable energy companies have entered into partnerships with those in other countries; including those in Israel, a country which has been credited with numerous innovations in renewable energy, especially solar energy. Due to the discovery of large undersea natural gas fields, Israel is changing its energy focus towards the use of “clean” natural gas, which it still a fossil fuel. This makes that country, as well as the Palestinian Authority appear to be going the same energy route as the USA. What will it take for Israel and the USA to finally decide to follow China’s energy policy direction?
Read more on Chinese renewable energy joint projects: