The domination by China of the energy markets, long the driver of surging consumption of fossil-fuels and increased carbon pollutions, has not turned the world toward a cleaner path.
The largest energy consumer in the world is moving toward ending an era after it burned its least amount of coal in the last six years, became the top producer in the world of renewable energy and lowered emission of gases that are climate warming, showed new data released on Wednesday.
An analyst with UBS said China influence the energy market in a large way and it has a goal of moving away from consumption of coal towards energy sources that are much cleaner.
China developed a huge appetite for energy since the start of this century thanks to its growing economy burning up large amounts of the world’s fossil fuels so factories could continue and cars could keep moving.
During that period, it helped to drive up coal, oil and natural gas prices, while also taking the top spot as the largest emitter of carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas.
Approximately 20% of the world’s population is in China and its middle class is growing which means it is using more energy currently than at any prior time, but its patterns of consumption are undergoing change.
Money is being poured into clean energy and coal is being discouraged in the battle to improve the quality of air in some of the world’s most polluted metropolitan areas.
The world’s second largest economy is becoming more services oriented which are less intensive when it comes to energy consumption that heaving manufacturing.
The overall numbers are quite striking. China still represented close to half of the world’s coal burned in 2017, but its consumption of coal dropped by 1.6%.
That is in comparison to an average growth per year of 3.7% in coal consumption the previous 11 years.
Policy changes in the government resulted in the production of coal falling by nearly 8% in comparison to the average growth of 3.8% the past decade.
Meanwhile China dominated renewable energy and accounted for 40% of the growth globally and surpassed the United States to become the biggest clean energy producer in the world.
The solar capacity in China that was installed increased 79% last year to over 78 gigawatts, while wind energy grew to 149 gigawatts or by 15%.