CLIMATE Change Australia – Hastings Branch (CCA-H) now has first-hand information on China’s massive commitment to reducing carbon emissions using wind power.
One of CCA-H’s founding members, Greg Croft, has just returned from China and gave a report to the local climate change and renewable energy group.
Mr Croft told members about his recent visit to the Gobi Desert region in the far west of China, where he witnessed a massive wind power installation that extended for 180 km.
“It was a surreal experience to see wind turbines as far as the eye could see, kilometre after kilometre,” Mr Croft said.
China has emerged as the world’s renewable energy powerhouse.
In 2012 China invested $65 billion in clean energy, lifting it to third place among G-20 nations on renewable energy generation.
“Between 2005 and 2012, China increased its wind power capacity by a factor of 50,” Mr Croft said.
“Electricity generated from wind in 2012 was about 36 per cent higher than the previous year.
“New solar capacity expanded by 75 per cent in 2012 and solar power is expected to triple to more than 21,000 megawatts by 2015,” he said.
Emission trading schemes, which involve a carbon price, are planned to start this year in seven provinces in China, covering about 700 million tonnes of CO2 by 2014.
Although this is less than 10 per cent of China’s total emissions, it is still very significant.
By comparison, Australia’s carbon price covers around 380 million tonnes.
“Chinese officials gave us various reasons for their big investment in wind power – energy security, reducing air pollution, fostering new industries and contributing to global emission reductions,” Mr Croft said.
“My own experience tells me that China is already acting on climate change. My message to those who claim China is not doing anything is quite simple – it’s not true”.