China is building more wind and solar capacity than the rest of the world combined: report

Solar panels in the Gobi Desert in northern China. China has twice as much wind and solar capacity under construction as the rest of the world combined (STR)

Solar panels in the Gobi Desert in northern China. China has twice as much wind and solar capacity under construction as the rest of the world combined (STR)

China is building almost twice as many wind and solar power plants as all other countries combined, according to a study published Thursday.

The world’s second-largest economy is the largest emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

China has pledged to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2060.

The country has been grappling with several waves of extreme weather events in recent months, which scientists say are becoming more severe due to climate change.

China is currently under construction with a total capacity of 339 gigawatts (GW), including 159 GW of wind power and 180 GW of solar power.

According to a study by the American non-governmental organization Global Energy Monitor, this is “almost twice as much as the rest of the world combined.”

As we read in the report, this number significantly exceeds the results of the second-ranked country, the United States, where the total generating capacity is only 40 GW.

China has already started building a third of the new wind and solar capacity announced so far, compared with the global average of just seven percent.

“The stark contrast in construction rates illustrates the active nature of China’s involvement in renewable energy projects,” the study reads.

– ‘Turning point?’ –

Beijing’s development of a massive renewable energy infrastructure has some drawbacks, however.

The national power grid is switching to polluting coal-fired power plants to meet rising energy demand.

The country is struggling to transmit renewable energy produced in remote regions in the northwest to economic and population centers in the east.

However, the report says the combined capacity of wind and solar power plants in China will surpass that of coal-fired power plants this year.

The report said the rapid development of renewable energy sources raises hopes that Beijing’s carbon dioxide emissions will peak sooner than predicted.

In a separate report released on Thursday, the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said China did not issue any new permits for coal-based steelmaking projects in the first half of 2024.

CREA said it was the first time in half a year that no new permits had been issued since China announced its “dual carbon emissions targets” in September 2020 — an event that the independent research organization has hailed as a possible “tipping point.”

“As steel demand in China grows and scrap becomes more readily available, there is significant potential to shift production away from coal, presenting a significant opportunity to reduce emissions over the next 10 years,” the CREA report reads.

Scientists say global warming is making extreme weather events more frequent and intense.

In China, summer was marked by heat in the north and heavy rains in the south.

The weather agency predicted last week that very high temperatures would continue in the coming weeks due to climate change.

In recent weeks, heavy rains in the east and south of the country have triggered a series of deadly floods and landslides.