|Greentech Media examines the historic US-China Climate Deal this week in Historic US-China Climate Deal Is a Sign of Clean Energy’s Growing Political Strength:
"The non-fossil commitment may be the most important piece of the puzzle," said CAP's Melanie Hart. "The amount of renewable and nuclear energy China will have to deploy by 2030 to hit that target is absolutely breathtaking. It will require Chinese leaders to set even harder limits on coal."
China already has plans to get 50 gigawatts of nuclear, 70 gigawatts of solar, 150 gigawatts of wind and 330 gigawatts of hydro installed in the next few years. The new target, while not groundbreaking, would open up the opportunity for China to support nearly a terawatt of additional nuclear and renewable energy capacity.
Seven years ago, when China became the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, there were few signs that the country would slow its rate of coal-burning. The country is still by far the world's largest user of coal, accounting for roughly 50 percent of global consumption.
But a confluence of factors has shifted China's outlook on coal. Domestic backlash against air pollution, growing water scarcity problems, international political pressure and the competitiveness of renewables have all come together to make China more willing to wean itself off coal. In August, China's coal consumption dropped for the first time in a decade.
Some analysts believe Chinese demand for coal could peak this year, though the International Energy Agency says the peak will come closer to 2019.
Coal will still be a core piece of China's growing economy, but the country's leaders are becoming increasingly bullish on non-fossil energy every year.
"You can bet China's coal sector is already starting to sweat," said Hart.
The agreement would also create more cooperation between China and the U.S. on clean energy trade issues --- a track that China sorely needs to pursue after its domestic solar producers were slapped with large tariffs for uncompetitive business practices supported by the government.One of the differences between China and the US is that top-level leaders in China not only understand that humans are creating Global Warming, they are committed to clean energy to help fight Climate Change. Contrast that with ‘dumb as mud’ US politicians who are science deniers. Clearly, China is far better on climate policy than the USA.