China can achieve economic growth without degrading the environment, by using renewable energy and raising energy efficiency, an energy investigation report has said.
The report, Energy Revolution: A Sustainable China Energy Outlook, was released yesterday in Beijing. It is part of a global study called Energy Revolution being undertaken by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).
"Our report shows that China can maintain economic growth and stabilize its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the current level by 2050," Sven Teske, an energy expert with Greenpeace International, said.
"However this is only possible if industrialized countries and developing countries work together to shift new investment away from fossil fuels toward energy efficiency and renewable energy."
China now releases about 5 billion tons of CO2 a year.
The report took into account the development necessity of China and highlighted its energy saving plan, which aims to cut energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 by 20 percent of the 2005 level, as part of the world's efforts to mitigate climate change.
The report said China's target is almost in line with the energy revolution scenario set by Greenpeace, which asks for 23.7 percent.
On renewable energy, the report showed that China could be more ambitious for the development of wind energy and a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
China has set a target that by 2020, 16 percent of the country's primary energy will come from renewable sources.
To achieve that and other measures, China plans to develop 300GW of hydropower, 30 GW of wind power, and 1.8 GW of solar photovoltaic.
According to the energy revolution scenario, China has the potential as well as the capacity to develop 118GW of wind power and 25GW of solar PV power by 2020.
Yang Ailun, Greenpeace China climate and energy campaign manager, said: "Greenpeace calls for the Chinese government to introduce strong policies such as feed-in-tariffs to support the development of wind and solar PV industries in China.
"China has to get rid of its dependency on coal. Fortunately with the enforcement of energy-efficiency targets and also the decision to close down the 50GW, its least efficient coal-fired plants, the trend of massive plants will be slowed from 2008."
(China Daily April 26, 2007)