Facing ongoing pollution challenges and a push to diversify energy sources, China’s energy planners kicked off 2017 by announcing an array of 13th Five-Year Plans (13FYPs). Offering quantifiable short-term goals for limiting reliance on coal in favor of oil and gas, these plans collectively focus on emissions cuts, renewable energy development, and improved energy industry efficiency, while encouraging technology solutions such as data centers.
China’s energy planners seek to increase production, distribution, and consumption of renewable energy as a means to diversify energy supply. However, as China attempts to transition from coal to other energy sources, it struggles to utilize existing renewable capacity. This inefficiency, caused by overcapacity and grid limitations, has hindered the country’s ability to achieve renewable sector development goals.
As the world braces for an expected shift in US climate policy under Trump, China will suddenly be in position to take the lead in the global fight against climate change. This is a complex proposition, as China has proven both its impressive renewable energy development capabilities, as well as its current inability to control pollution.
Climate change and clean energy issues continue to be a noticeably encouraging point of bilateral cooperation between the US and China.
Facing surmounting challenges, China seeks to revise its environmental trajectory, determined to smoothly and successfully transition from an overdependence on fossil fuels—particularly coal—to an embrace of clean energy.
The international community tends to associate China with environmental degradation—and for good reason: China is responsible for one-third of Earth’s greenhouse gas output and host to 16 of the planet’s 20 most polluted cities. Recent headlines disclose that China—the world’s largest producer of carbon emissions—is actually burning up to 17% more coal per year than…