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China becomes global leader in clean energy: study

Oct 22, 2010 - Xinhua

China has become a leader in clean energy efforts, outstripping the United States and Japan, and leaving Australia lagging far behind, a study commissioned by the Australia's Climate Institute showed on Tuesday.

Global research unveiled countries including Britain, China and the U.S. already have set up a higher direct and indirect carbon pricing.

The Vivid Economics report, commissioned by Australia's Climate Institute think-tank, showed China's incentives to encourage low- carbon generation, such as solar and wind power, are almost triple those in the U.S.

Measures to encourage renewable energy, as well as imposing taxes on dirtier forms of generation, like burning coal, has placed China above the U.S., Japan, Australia and South Korea in a six-country study, while only second to Britain.

According to the research, the highest price went to the Britain (29.30 U.S. dollars), China (14.20 U.S. dollars), U.S. north-east (9.50 U.S. dollars), U.S. overall (5.10 U.S. dollars), Japan (3.10 U.S. dollars), Australia (1.70 U.S. dollars) and South Korea (0.7 U.S. dollars).

"China is leading and taking responsibility," Erwin Jackson, director of the Climate Institute told Bloomberg Media on Tuesday, pointing of of China's "surprising" dominance.

"If you look at it, they're doing it because it's in their economic interests. They are now commanding the largest market share of clean energy investment at a global level as a result."

The report indicated that the main driver of China's performance was its commitment to shutting down more than 100 small coal-fired power plants for cleaner coal stations by 2011, which would reduce emissions by 15 percent.

In order to generate 15 percent of the nation's total energy from renewable sources by 2020, the country has also offered subsidies worth billions of Chinese yuan for green energy projects.

China, the world's second largest energy consumer after the United State, last year pledged at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York of U.S. to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 percent to 45 percent from 2005 through 2020.

The nation targets to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15 percent by 2020, up from the current 7.8 percent.

It will be achieved by expanding its installed hydro-power capacity to 300 million kilowatts by 2015 from the current 200 million in an effort to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Development of other clean energy sources, including solar, bio-mass and nuclear energy, has also accelerated in China.