The United States and China are by far the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, jointly responsible for more than 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions and about 35% of total GHGs. China has become second only to the US in its national power-generating capacity - 792.5GW per year with an expected future 10% annual increase. While China has passed the USA in total GHG emissions, per capita they rank below North America and Europe. There are many negatives opening China up to criticism, including inefficiency: China emitted four times as much CO2 as the U.S. and six times as much as the E.U. or Japan for every unit of gross domestic product. But in recent years there is much evidence that China views renewable energies as vital to its national security and economic leadership, expanding its efforts into wind, solar and clean coal ahead of other nations. In 2014 coal use accounted for 64.2% of China's energy consumption  linkWind energy supplies 7% link, solar about 2% and nuclear roughly 2.4%. (Pictured: A security guard looks on as a slogan is projected onto Yongdingmen Gate in Beijing.

Latest news:

Jan. 19 2017: China builds world’s biggest solar farm. A remote 27-square-kilometre solar farm in Qinghai province, underlines China’s determination to transform itself from climate villain to green superpower. Built at a cost of about 721 million the farm now has the capacity to produce a massive 850MW of power. By 2020 China hopes to be producing 110GW of solar power and 210GW of wind power each year as part of an ambitious plan to slash pollution and emissions. By 2030, China has pledged to increase the amount of energy coming from non-fossil fuels to 20% of the total. link

Jan. 5 2017: China to invest $361bn in clean power by 2020. China is set to invest $361 billion into clean power generation by 2020, under a blueprint published today. It sets the country on a path to get 15% of its total energy from non-fossil fuel sources by the end of the decade. Coal will still account for more than half of installed electricity capacity over the period, according to the administration. The total global spending on renewable energy (without nuclear) in 2015 was $286bn. link



  • China's greenhouse gas emissions & pollution
  • Dependence on coal
  • Nuclear power
  • Renewable energy (incl. wind, solar and wave power)
  • Other news
Greenhouse gas emissions & pollution

How bad are China's GHG emissions? China's population is 19.24% of the world total, but 2005 figures show that China's emissions per capita were about 6 tons, compared to the United States at 25 tons, and Russia at 15 tons. China’s emissions per capita are also below the world average of 7 tons. link  (Note: India's are  just 2 tons per capita.)  2013 figures: While the per capita average for the world as a whole is 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, China is now producing 7.2 tonnes per person, to the EU's 6.8 tonnes. The US is still far ahead on 16.5 tonnes per person -
   The West also owns some of China's emissions. 22.5% of China's emissions are generated during production of goods and services consumed overseas, and 7.8% are embodied in exports to the US alone. link 

February 2016: China confirms 2015 emissions fall as solar and wind break records. China’s CO2 emissions and coal consumption fell for a second year in 201 . The world’s number one polluter emitted 1-2% less CO2 in the period as the cooling Asian economy used 2-4% less coal, according to a Greenpeace analysis of the data. It brings it closer to meeting targets to arrest growth in emissions by 2030. China also confirmed it broke two clean energy world records in 2015 -installing 32.5GW of wind and 18.3GW of solar power. (Declines in coal usage over the last two years equal Japan’s annual consumption.)  link

January 2016: Coal, steel sectors to suffer as China pollution drive accelerates. Coal, steel and concrete production in China faces tighter restrictions in 2016, say experts, as central government in Beijing cracks down on heavy polluters. New rules to combat air pollution came into effect from 1 January, while courts are likely to continue to use a revised Environmental Protection Law to enforce change. Zhang Boju, secretary general of the Friends of Nature NGO says. “These (rules) give environmental groups and members of the public more legislative tools with which to protect their own and the public interests. We expect to see an increase both in quantity and quality of environmental public interest cases, and a rise in the number of targeted and preventative cases – such as those on air or soil pollution, or protecting biodiversity.” link

Two conflicting stories on emissions  

November 2015: China seriously under-reports emissions. In a major setback for climate calculations, China quietly revealed it has been under-reporting carbon emissions since 2001, to the tune of 17%. That increases China's already colossal emissions by nearly a billion tons a year - equal to Germany's total annual emissions, reports the NY Times.  - link

August 2015: China’s carbon emissions from fossil fuels may be 14% lower than thought. China’s carbon emissions from fossil fuels and cement production may have been overestimated by as much as 14%, according to a new analysis by scientific researchers. The report attributes the difference mainly to the coal industry, estimating that the emission factors, the amount of carbon released by the coal, were on average 40% lower than what is recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. link

December 2013: China outlines climate adaption plans. The effects of climate change have cost China $32.9 billion since 1990, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC), the country’s leading planning agency. It warns the country is ill-prepared to deal with the consequences of global warming, and has outlined a national adaption plan to ensure all sectors take the threat seriously. The NDRC recommends further investment in developing resilient infrastructure, warning that 2000 people died in the past two decades as a result of extreme weather events. link  (Cleaning up China’s air pollution will cost $285 billion between 2013 and 2017, a high-ranking environmental official has estimated. link)

China's great green wall.

Observers say China’s reforestation program in the north - also known as the “Green Great Wall” - is the world’s largest ecological engineering project. The country is building a belt of trees that will stretch some 2,800 miles across north and northwest China in an attempt to stop the advance of the Gobi desert. Overall, the country has planted 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of new forest since 2008, according to the State Forestry Administration. link

April 2015:  China’s great green wall pulls CO2 from atmosphere. China's Green Great Wall - formally known as the "Three-North Shelter Forest Programme" - is regarded by some experts as the largest ecological engineering project on the planet. Since 1978, at least 100,000 square miles of forests have been planted by Chinese citizens across the arid north, in an effort to hold back the creeping Gobi Desert. Once the project is completed in 2050, a massive belt of trees will stretch from northwestern China's Xinjiang through several northern regions to the country's northeastern part, Heilongjiang province. link

November 2012: China’s emissions expected to rise until 2030. Despite ambitious green policies, GDP growth is still the priority. Analysts say that barring any significant changes in policy, China’s emissions will rise until 2030 when the country's urbanisation peaks, and its population growth slows - and then begins to fall. China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, responsible for about a quarter of all emissions. The country accounted for over 70% of the world's energy consumption growth in 2011. China's chief negotiator to the 2012 Doha climate change conference said that the country's greenhouse gas emissions, which rose 171% between 2000 and 2011, and by just under 10% last year alone, would continue to rise until its per capita GDP had reached $20,000 to $25,000. It currently stands at $5,000.  link      

March 2013: Pollution forces China's leaders to act. About 750,000 people die as a result of air pollution in China each year. Many of the country's rivers are so polluted that authorities do not permit residents to even touch the water, not to mention use it to irrigate fields. China’s new leadership wants to transform China from a primarily agrarian and industrial country into a high-tech and service nation. The challenge and the need to break with the past are especially evident in environmental policy. China's environment policy has developed into a question of national security, not because the government is particularly farsighted, but because its power is on the line. link

March 2014: U.S. trade deals set up China as pollution haven.  As much as one-third of China's carbon load on the atmosphere can be traced to exports of cheap clothes, electronics, machinery and other goods consumed by Americans and Europeans, experts say. And while free trade to the West has made China's economy boom, Chinese people have paid dearly due to the resulting smog from factories and coal-fired power plants.  link    

According to a report by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) the UK responsibility for GHG emissions is underestimated by as much as 49%. Under Kyoto rules, the pollution produced by Chinese factories making goods for the UK belongs to China. The protocol counts only the production, not the consumption, of greenhouse gases. China says this is unfair. Around half the recent increase in its emissions arises from the manufacture of goods for western markets. This pollution should, it says, belong to the consumer nations, not the producers and if the Copenhagen Conference did not recognise this, it would punish China for the west's   consumption. link


June 2014: China pledges to limit carbon emissions for the first time.
He Jiankun, chairman of China's Advisory Committee on Climate Change, told a conference in Beijing that an absolute cap on carbon emissions will be introduced later this decade. Although the average Chinese person's carbon footprint is still much lower than the average American's, it is catching up, and is now on par with the average European’s.  link

March 2014: China is to "declare war" on pollution.  China does not just suffer from smog, but also agricultural pollution, including the contamination of farmland by heavy metals. link

January 2012: Air pollution long-term challenge. China's city dwellers to breathe unhealthy air 'for another 20-30 years'.  The cautionary note comes at the start of a year when Beijing, Shanghai and several other Chinese metropolises will begin publicly releasing data on tiny particulates known as PM2.5, which account for more than half of the country's air-borne contaminants and have the most damaging impact on human health. "It took the US and Europe 50 years to deal with their problem. Even if we cut that [PM2.5] in half, it will still take 20 to 30 years," said a haze expert. link


February 2016: Coal is now responsible for 64% of China’s total energy. According to EU data, the coal constitutes 73% of China’s fossil fuel consumption, and is responsible for 83% of the CO2 emissions that result from burning fossil fuels. This is the second year running there has been a decline in coal use despite the growing economy. link  A hefty share of the pollution rising out of China’s smokestacks comes from factories churning out material goods for the rest of the world. In 2006, China became the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, overtaking the US. By 2013, 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions came from China, according to data from the Global Carbon Project. link

November 2016: China risks $490 billion on new coal plants. As growth slows in China, the country has had a difficult time weaning itself off coal, even as the pollution it causes wreaks havoc on the environment and public health. Many of China’s giant state-owned coal mining firms are unviable and plagued by overcapacity, but the ruling Communist party is reluctant to turn off the financial taps and risk widespread unemployment, with its potential for anger and unrest. China is operating the coal units at less than half their capacity, a campaign group says. However, the country has another 205GW already under construction and plans for an additional 405GW. link

December 2015: China to halt new coal mine approvals. China will stop approving new coal mines for the next three years and continue to trim production capacity as the world’s biggest energy consumer tries to shift away from the fuel as it grapples with pollution. China will suspend the approval of new mines starting in 2016 and will cut coal’s share of its energy consumption to 62.6% percent next year. The country will also close more than 1,000 coal mines next year, taking out 60 million metric tons of unneeded capacity, according to the Xinhua report.  link

July  2015: Global coal boom ends as China and rest of world wake up to carbon pollution.  There was a true global coal renaissance starting around the year 2000, a resurgence due primarily to China. But it is now stalling.  China, which was responsible for some 80% of the growth in global demand since 2000, has completely reversed its strategy of coal-intensive growth. The driving force of this reversal is the terrible toll coal pollution has taken on the health of Chinese citizens in urban or industrialized areas, combined with the growing realization at the highest levels of China’s government that climate change will devastate China and that it must become a leader in avoiding the worst impacts.  link

May 2015: China on track for biggest reduction in coal use ever recorded. China is cutting down on its coal habit. In the first four months of 2015, the country consumed almost 8% less coal than the same period a year earlier. This means China’s CO2 emissions fell by around 5% in the first four months of the year. If the trend continues, China will close out 2015 with the biggest reduction in both coal use and CO2 every recorded by a single country. What’s behind the drop? Part of it is, of course, the Chinese economy’s own sharp slowdown. A related factor is that China had been producing way more coal than it needed when the government made borrowing unusually cheap. link

March 2015: Beijing to shut all major coal plants to cut pollution. Beijing, where pollution averaged more than twice China’s national standard last year, will close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants next year. The facilities will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with capacity to supply 2.6 times more electricity than the coal plants. Beijing plans to cut annual coal consumption by 13 million metric tons by 2017 from the 2012 level in a bid to slash the concentration of pollutants. Shutting all the major coal power plants in the city, equivalent to reducing annual coal use by 9.2 million metric tons, is estimated to cut carbon emissions of about 30 million tons. link

January 2013: China’s coal conundrum. Coal has fuelled the country's economic boom, with consumption tripling in little over a decade. Currently, China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined. But that is leaving many cities, including Beijing, choking on hazardous smog. link  (December 2013) New study finds emissions from coal were responsible for a quarter of a million premature deaths in 2011 and are damaging the health of hundreds of thousands of Chinese children. link  

February 2012: China is home to the world’s second largest proven coal reserves after the United States. In addition, prior to 2009, China was a net coal exporter. Coal is a cornerstone of the Chinese economy, representing 77% of China’s primary energy production and fueling almost 80% of its electricity. Moreover, China is the world’s top coal consumer, accounting for nearly half of global consumption in 2010. Over the past decade, China’s domestic coal output has more than doubled while its coal imports have increased by a factor of 60 - the country’s dependence on other nations’ coal exports is growing. In 2009, the global coal market witnessed a dramatic realignment as China burst onto the scene, importing coal from as far away as Colombia and the United States. China has overtaken Japan as the world’s top coal importer. link

May 2010: China outpaces U.S. in cleaner coal-fired plants. Between 1979 and 2007, the Chinese economy grew at an average annual rate of 9.8%. China’s frenetic construction of coal-fired power plants has raised worries around the world about the effect on climate change. China now uses more coal than the United States, Europe and Japan combined, making it the world’s largest emitter of gases that are warming the planet. But largely missing in the hand-wringing is this: China has emerged in the past two years as the world’s leading builder of more efficient, less polluting coal power plants, mastering the technology and driving down the costAfter relying until recently on older technology, “China has since become the major world market for advanced coal-fired power plants with high-specification emission control systems,” the International Energy Agency said in a report on April 20 2009.  link

Nuclear power

March 2015: China restarts nuclear power build up. Currently, China has 22 nuclear reactors in operation, with a total capacity of 20GW. China has now approved the construction of two new nuclear reactors, giving a long-awaited go-ahead to Chinese nuclear developers. The country halted its rapid nuclear power expansion in 2011, when Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex experienced meltdowns. While Chinese officials allowed several already approved nuclear projects to complete their construction after passing safety reviews, they did not approve starting new projects—until yesterday. Experts say the approval of new nuclear reactors is critical for China to achieve its target of installing 58 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2020 - link

March 2011: Pause following Fukushima disaster. 
China currently gets only about 2% of its electricity from nuclear power from 13 reactors, but it has launched an ambitious project to drastically increase those figures. China is currently building 27 new reactors, about 40% of the total number being built around the world, and according to the World Nuclear Association, China wants to build a total of 110 nuclear reactors over the next few years. link

October 2012: Nuclear power ban lifted. The Chinese government has released a new nuclear strategy, confirming that it has lifted the moratorium on new nuclear plants imposed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and expects a "small number" of new coastal nuclear reactors to be approved before 2015. Plans allow for about 26 new reactors to move forward, increasing the country's nuclear power capacity from around 12.5GW currently to just over 40GW. link

January 2011 - China joins Britain, France and India in the ability to reprocess spent nuclear fuel.  China has been working on this technology for 24 years, and has an ambitious program of building new nuclear power stations. link   

Renewable energy  (including wind, solar and wave power)

November 2013: China will build more renewable power plants through 2035 than the European Union, U.S. and Japan combined, according to the International Energy Agency. link

September 2016: China emerging as global clean energy leader. China’s coal consumption peaked in 2014, and the continued decline is happening because of fundamental shifts in the economy, in response to climate and clean energy goals set by the government. There is also good reason to believe that, based on this progress, the country’s CO2 emissions will peak well before the 2030 planned date. While China’s solar contribution is small in absolute terms, more than 20GW of solar were installed during the first half of 2016, much higher than the 15GW installed during all of 2015, which was a world record at the time. link

June 2016: How China can ramp up wind power. Research forecasts that wind power could provide 26% of China's projected electricity demand by 2030, up from 3% in 2015, if it properly integrates wind into its existing power system. But the projection comes with a catch. China should not necessarily build more wind power in its windiest areas; instead, it should build more wind turbines in areas where they can be more easily integrated into the operations of its existing electricity grid. link

July 2015: China’s pledge - growth of renewables. Renewable energy is all go in China, as set out in its climate pledge this week, with huge growth planned for wind and solar. (Coal will be the big loser.) China is so far in advance of other countries that it can only be described as an emerging renewables superpower. Wind and solar are racing ahead of nuclear, and hydro is being stabilized. China's 2015 commitments are much stronger than those it was prepared to make in 2009, reflecting the enormous strides it has made in building the world's largest renewable energy industry. The goals being aimed for by 2030 (which reiterate and elaborate on the goals announced as part of the historic November 2014 climate pact with the US) include peaking of CO2 emissions by 2030 or earlier, reducing carbon intensity by 60-65% relative to 2005 levels, increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 20%, and increasing forest stock volume by 4.5 billion cubic metres relative to 2005 levels. link

July 2014: China three years behind on off-shore wind energy. China is three years behind schedule on a plan that would make it the world’s biggest market for offshore wind, a setback for the $15 billion industry that’s seeking to produce affordable electricity from the one of nature’s most reliable energy sources. China set out an ambitious plan in 2011 to build 5,000MW of offshore wind turbines in four years, enough to power 5.4 million homes. With less than 10% of that capacity in place, officials now say they won’t meet that goal. China is said to be more cautious on offshore wind than it was on solar and onshore wind because of costs and risks.  link   

December 2013: China doubles renewable energy capacity amid push to cut pollution. 
China doubled the pace of adding renewable energy capacity in the first 10 months of 2013 as the government worked to cut pollution in its largest cities. Including nuclear power, the nation installed 36GW of clean energy capacity in the 10 months through Oct. 31. The additions bolster China’s case that it’s tackling climate change by using less-polluting forms of energy in economy that has surpassed the U.S. as the biggest polluter. China is on course by 2035 to add more electricity generating capacity from renewables than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined, according to the International Energy Agency. link

August 2012: China plans to spend $372 billion on energy conservation and anti-pollution measures over the next three-and-a-half years. The measures, meant to reduce China's dependence on fossil fuels and slow down its carbon emissions, are part of the so-called 12th five-year plan. They will center on energy-efficiency, emissions reduction and recycling projects. The investments will help the country get halfway toward its goal of cutting energy intensity by 16% below 2010 levels by 2015, says the China Sate Council. China is the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases; it plans to cut its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2020.Rapid growth in China has made it difficult for the country to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, China was responsible for 29% of the world’s total CO2 emissions. Despite that dubious distinction, China earned the No. 7 spot on a recent ranking of national energy focused on the world's top 12 economies. link

March 2012: China's spending on renewables soars. The remote, wind-blasted desert of northwestern Gansu has started to undergo a transformation as it moves to the frontline of government efforts to reinvent China's economy with a massive investment in renewable energy. Wind turbines, which were almost unknown five years ago, stretch into the distance, competing only with far mountains and new pylons for space on the horizon. Jiuquan alone now has the capacity to generate 6GW of wind energy, roughly equivalent to that of the whole UK. The plan is to more than triple that by 2015, when this area could become the biggest windfarm in the world. China is erecting 36 wind turbines a day and building a robust new electricity grid to send this power thousands of miles across the country from the deserts of the west to the cities of the east.
This is the other side of China's development. Although it is the world's biggest CO2 emitter and notorious for building the equivalent of a 400MW coal-fired power station every three days, it’s long-term plan is to supply 15% of the country's energy from alternative and renewable sources by 2020. Most of that will come from nuclear and hydropower, but the government is also tapping the wind and solar potential of the deserts, mountain plateaus and coastlines. National planners have earmarked seven regions for huge wind projects, each at least 10GW in size. The state grid has struggled to keep up. Two years ago, almost a third of the turbines were wastefully unconnected. In 2012 China will, for the first time, account for half the coal burned globally, according to the World Resources Institute. In 2011 this dirtiest of fuels increased its share of national energy supply to above 72%. Link with video

August 2011: China tops 2011 index rankings for renewable energy. China overtook the US at the end of 2010 to become the world leader in wind power, having installed around 16GW in 2010 or almost half of global installations, taking cumulative installed capacity to 42GW. This is contrasted with an additional 5GW installed in the US last year and a total of 40GW. However, China ranks second globally in terms of grid-connected capacity; more than a third of wind capacity had yet to be connected to the national grid at the end of 2010. China's PV market also experienced strong growth in 2010, installing around 1 GW and taking cumulative capacity to 2.6 GW. link

January 2010: 
China leading global race to make clean energy.  link  

May 2011: China's production of green technologies has grown by a remarkable 77% a year, according to a report commissioned by the World Wildlife and has made, on the political level, a conscious decision to capture this market and to develop this market aggressively. Denmark earns the biggest share of its national revenue from producing windmills and other clean technologies while the United States ranks 17 in the production of clean technologies. link

March 2012: China to levy carbon tax before 2015. China's biggest energy-consuming companies are likely to face a direct tax on CO2 emissions by 2015, the Xinhua-backed Economic Information Daily reported. It said proposals for a new environmental taxation system had already been submitted for review to the Ministry of Finance and were expected to be implemented before the end of the 2011-2015 five-year plan. link

[The Chinese Government plans to develop emissions trading schemes in seven key cities and provinces from 2013. These schemes will cover around 250 million people. The Chinese Government aims to work towards a nation-wide approach after 2015. link]

Wind energy in China

January 2015: China now has 96GW of grid-connected wind power  China kept breaking its own wind farm records by adding 20.7GW of capacity in 2014 or 40% of all new wind power globally. China installed 38% more wind than it did in 2013 and now has 96GW of grid-connected wind turbines. link

April 2013: Almost 500 new wind projects planned by 2015. China's National Energy Administration recently announced the inclusion of 491 wind power projects with a combined installed capacity of 27.9 GW into its approval plan for the 12th five-year period spanning from 2011 to 2015. China's installed wind power capacity is expected to reach 100GW by 2015 when wind power will account for 30% of power generation -  link

January 2013. Wind has overtaken nuclear power as China's third largest energy source. According to data from the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA), wind energy capacity has now surpassed nuclear power to become the third largest source of electricity in China, after coal, and large-scale hydro-electric plants. Wind energy capacity has grown rapidly over the years, fuelled by ambitious renewable energy targets, and strong government support of wind energy manufacturers. By the end of 2012 China had 60.83GW of installed capacity, and targets aim to see a total of 100WGW by the end of 2015. link

September 2009: China could meet its energy needs by wind alone, according to a new report. Moving to a low-carbon energy future would require China to make an investment of around $900bn (at current prices) over the same 20-year period. The scientists consider this a large but not unreasonable investment given the present size of the Chinese economy. Moreover, whatever the energy source, the country will need to build and support an expanded energy grid to accommodate the anticipated growth in power demand. ‘Wind farms would only need to take up land areas of 0.5 million square kilometers, or regions about three-quarters of the size of Texas. The physical footprints of wind turbines would be even smaller, allowing the areas to remain agricultural.  link   

Solar Power 

June 2014: China’s solar panel production comes at a cost. The environmental cost of Chinese-made solar panels is about twice that of those made in Europe, according to research by Northwestern University and the United States Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. The analysis tallied the costs at every step of production, including the mining of raw materials, transportation and the factory’s power supply. link

January 2104: China sets record for solar installations. China installed a record 12GW of solar power in 2013, doubling its rate of solar installations. This is more than has ever been installed by any country in a single year: no country has ever added more than 8GW of solar power in one year before. It is also more solar than China had installed in all the years prior to 2013 put together, according to Li Shuo, a policy and energy analyst at Greenpeace East Asia.  link

August 2013: China’s big push on solar: China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar capacity in the six months ended June 30, double 2012's additions. China now has 23GW of solar power supply. China’s race to add renewable energy comes as policymakers push for ways to combat the nation’s growing problem of air pollution. link

July 2013: China confirms goal of 35GW solar energy by 2015. China, the world’s biggest maker of solar panels, plans to increase fivefold its installed solar capacity to more than 35 gigawatts by 2015 to support an industry faced with declining profits, slowing exports and a supply glut. link    (In 2009 the goal was 9GW by 2020.)

Wave Power

August 2012: China leads USA in wave power. China is already planning for the installation of its second, third, and fourth wave power plant from SDE, an Israeli company. When they are all completed, SDE will have a total of 12 commercial wave power ventures worldwide including Chile, Mexico, Tanzania, and Kenya. China’s first SDE installation was in Guangdong Province on the South China coast, and the three new ones are being constructed in Guangzhou. The first in this threesome is already completed, the second is nearing completion and the third will get under way soon. link

Other news

March 2013: Desertification expands due to drought. Four years of drought in southern and northwest China have resulted in severe desertification, and water shortages, affecting the lives of 400 million people, according to The China Green Foundation, which says a total of 2.6 million square km of land has turned into desert – 27.4% of China’s land. On average 2,460 sq. km become desert each year, with the drought quickening the process.  link

June 2015: Solar panels multiply in Gobi Desert. China plans to boost its share of non-fossil fuel energy use to 20% by 2030. Construction began nearly six years ago on the country’s first large-scale solar power station in the Gobi Desert where sunlight and land are abundant. Recent photos from NASA satellites show that solar panels now cover about three times as much Gobi land as they did three years ago. In 2014, the IEA says China boosted its capacity from solar panels by 37% to reach a total capacity of 28.1GW gigawatts. And in 2015, during the first quarter alone China added another 5GW. Last year China invested a record $83.3 billion on renewables, up 39% from 2013. link

November 2012: China planning ‘huge fracking industry’. With about 20% of the world's population and only 6% of the world's water resources, China is one of the least water-secure countries in the world. Its water shortages are made worse by pollution: According to the Ministry of Water Resources about 40% of China's rivers were so polluted they were deemed unfit for drinking, while about 300 million rural residents lack access to safe drinking water each year. If fracking takes off in China as planned, it will likely exacerbate the nation's existing water crisis.  link  February 2015 – Update on fracking. China is in the early stages of a fracking revolution, attempting to copy the rise in U.S. shale-gas production in an effort to combat unhealthy levels of pollution and meet a surge in energy demand. By 2020, China aims to produce 30 billion cubic meters of shale-gas a year, up from the current level of 1.3 billion cubic meters. That would take fracking output from just 1% of all of China’s gas production to 15% in five years. link

March 2010: Beijing's sandstorms. China's expanding deserts now cover one-third of the country because of overgrazing, deforestation, urban sprawl and drought. The shifting sands have led to a sharp increase in sandstorms, the grit from which can travel as far as the western United States. The government has spent millions of dollars on projects to rein in the spread of deserts, planting trees and trying to protect what plant cover remains in marginal areas. But the battle is being fought against a backdrop of rising average temperatures and increasing pressure on water resources after three decades of booming growth. link

December 2009. Earth-friendly elements, mined destructively. Some of the greenest technologies of the age, from electric cars to efficient light bulbs to very large wind turbines, are made possible by an unusual group of elements called rare earths. The world’s dependence on these substances is rising fast. Just one problem: These elements come almost entirely from China, from some of the most environmentally damaging mines in the country, in an industry dominated by criminal gangs. link  
(China controls 97% of rare earth production - More on rare-earth metals)   

(April 2009)  China vies to be world’s leader in electric cars  - story   

November 2013: E-bikes have exploded in popularity. The lustre of car ownership is now wearing off in China and drivers stuck in traffic are being drawn to these silent low-polluting two-wheelers getting to their destinations on time. In just a decade, the e-bike population in China will go from near zero to more than 150 million by 2015, the largest adoption of an alternative fuel vehicle in the history of motorization. Early observations show that e-bike crashes are increasing faster than their growth rate and are more severe than say, bicycle crashes. E-bike riders tend to behave badly as well exhibiting only slightly better beaviour than car drivers  link.

Suggested sources for further information  
Congressional Research Service (pdf)

The (U.K.) Guardian offers a regular compilation page of environmental items on China.


Copyright 2008 thinkglobalgreen.org   All Rights Reserved