China has made significant strides in its transition to green energy. The country has surpassed all other nations in total installed capacity for renewable energy generation, which now exceeds 1.2 billion kW. In addition to renewable energy, the new energy vehicle industry has also experienced explosive growth, with China leading the world in production and sales for eight consecutive years.
China’s green transition extends beyond energy and transportation. The country has implemented afforestation efforts that have led to the planting of 64 million hectares of trees over the past decade. Furthermore, efforts to prevent desertification and improve land quality have been carried out on over 18.53 million hectares of land, 40 million hectares of land were improved through sowing grass, and more than 800,000 hectares of wetland were added or restored.
These efforts demonstrate China’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality before 2060 and its goal to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030. China’s modernization is focused on achieving harmony between humanity and nature. The country has prioritized ecological conservation and is pursuing green, low-carbon, and high-quality development in all regions of the country, from the southeast coast to the inland areas in the northwest and from vast fields to the Gobi Desert.
In the northwest of China, a 2,000-MW photovoltaic project is being constructed by the Ningxia branch of the China Energy Investment Corporation on unused lands such as goafs and barren slopes. Upon completion, the project is expected to transmit 3.7 billion kWh of green electricity to east China every year. Similarly, in Zhangpu, southeast China’s Fujian province, China’s first large-scale offshore wind farm using turbines with a single capacity of 16 MW is under construction. This wind farm is expected to save about 500,000 tons of standard coal and reduce around 1.35 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
These two examples highlight the diversity of China’s green energy initiatives, from solar power in the northwest to offshore wind farms in the southeast. China’s green transition is not only good for the environment but also serves as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation in the country.
China has developed the world’s largest clean power generation system, with the country ranked first in terms of the installed capacities of wind, photovoltaic (PV), hydro and biomass power generation. These achievements demonstrate China’s commitment to transitioning to cleaner energy sources and reducing its carbon footprint.
Furthermore, the country has witnessed a significant rise in the efficiency of energy utilization, which has contributed to the nation’s economic growth. According to Zhao Chenxin, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s average annual economic growth of 6.6 percent has been supported by an average annual growth of 3 percent in energy consumption from 2012, and the per unit GDP energy consumption dropped by 26.4%. This impressive reduction in energy intensity has made China one of the countries with the fastest reduction rates.
As China prioritizes the synergetic progress of economic development and pollution reduction, green industries have grown into a new driver of the country’s economic growth. For instance, China now produces 70 percent of the global market share of key components such as PV modules and wind turbines. In addition, the country produced over 7 million new energy vehicles (NEVs) last year, while Chinese-made vessels powered by liquefied natural gas, methanol, and other green energy accounted for nearly half of the global market.
China is leading the world in the building of green and low-carbon industrial chains, which are focused on new energy, pollution treatment, and environmental monitoring technologies. These efforts have brought significant improvements to the ecology and environment in China. The country’s ceaseless efforts in afforestation, desertification prevention, and wetland restoration have resulted in millions of hectares of land being improved.
Through its emphasis on ecological conservation and green, low-carbon, and high-quality development, China has made significant strides in improving its environment. People are now getting more sense of happiness and security from a sound ecological environment. China’s remarkable progress in developing a clean power generation system and promoting the efficient use of energy has also contributed to the country’s aim to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
China’s rapid improvement in air quality has made it the world’s fastest country to achieve this milestone. From 2015 to 2022, the average concentration of PM2.5 in cities at and above the prefecture-level fell from 46 micrograms per cubic meter to 29 micrograms per cubic meter. This decrease is a testament to the country’s commitment to reducing pollution levels and promoting sustainable development.
Moreover, China has made significant progress in water conservation, with 87.9 percent of surface water at or above Grade III in the country’s five-tier water quality system. The country has also achieved the target of “zero import” of solid waste, showing its determination to tackle environmental problems.
China has always taken climate governance seriously and has intensified its efforts to achieve its nationally determined contributions targets. It will make the steepest cuts in the world to the intensity of its carbon emissions and complete the process from carbon emissions peaking to carbon neutrality in the shortest possible time. China’s renewable energy generation in 2022 was equivalent to a reduction of 2.26 billion tons of domestic carbon dioxide emissions. Its exports of wind power and PV products also helped other countries reduce emissions by about 573 million tons.
The two figures combined amounted to 2.83 billion tons of emissions or approximately 41 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions reduction converted from renewable energy. Since 2016, China has collaborated with developing countries to launch 10 low-carbon demonstration zones, 100 projects for climate change mitigation and adaptation, training sessions on climate change response for 1,000 people, and more than 200 foreign assistance programs on climate change. All of these initiatives demonstrate China’s commitment to global climate change mitigation and adaptation.
China is committed to promoting green development in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and has taken significant steps to establish a cooperation mechanism for green and low-carbon development. To this end, China has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Environment Programme to build a green Belt and Road and signed more than 50 cooperation agreements on eco-environmental conservation with relevant countries and international organizations.
The Green Silk Road Envoys Program is a significant training program that has trained over 3,000 people from more than 120 countries to promote green development under the BRI. Furthermore, China is providing technical assistance to Africa to build a “green Great Wall” that will enhance the continent’s capability to resist the southward expansion of the Sahara Desert. China’s expertise in desertification prevention and control has been instrumental in this effort.
China’s involvement in the Beleolico offshore wind farm project in Italy is another example of its commitment to green development under the BRI. The first offshore wind power project of Italy was connected to the grid with the key equipment supplied by a Chinese enterprise. This project has the capacity to power almost 20,000 households.
China’s new energy equipment and intelligent digital systems are also contributing to the green and low-carbon development of Vientiane Saysettha Development Zone in Laos. This partnership is expected to bring significant benefits to Laos in the areas of clean energy, green transportation, and smart city construction.
These collaborative green development initiatives are contributing significantly to the world’s ecological progress. They demonstrate the importance of international cooperation in promoting sustainable development and serve as a model for other countries to follow.