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According to The Climate Group, the question is not whether China can achieve a low carbon economy, but rather, how they will do it.
Thirty of China’s thirty-two largest cities and four hundred of its six hundred largest municipalities face serious water shortages and deterioration of water quality. In order to produce one unit of GDP, China uses seven to fifteen times more water than OECD countries. Water prices in China do not reflect the reality of supply and demand. China’s average water price is 70% to 80% below water prices in countries with no water shortage.
Wu Changhua talks about China’s green energy policies, including solar and bio fuels, as well as standards and technologies implemented to make traditional sources more efficient.
She also discusses how China’s photovoltaic (PV) cell industry depends heavily on the international markets, and suffered when the financial crisis shrank the demand for solar PV cells on a global scale. This pushed the government to implement measures to build the local market and secure the survival of the local solar PV industry.
Ms. Wu talks about China’s strategy to balance economic growth with sustainable development. As the world’s most populous country and foremost exporter, China faces a difficult challenge to prevent its economic miracle from turning into an environmental tragedy. She emphasizes China’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions, and its success in keeping a rather ambitious schedule in switching to alternative energy. In this way, the giant of the east sets an example for other countries around the world.
In China, 30% of the usable land is considered contaminated, leading to over $400 billion US dollars in environmental earmarks in the 12th Five Year Plan (2010-2015). As awareness of environmental problems increases and enforcement is strengthened, there will be immense opportunities in China for companies that can help reduce pollution and mitigate the adverse environmental effects of rapid economic development.
In China many people share the incorrect belief that more development must mean less nature. Tammy Turner suggests that Taiwan’s experience is a good reference, since an increasing number of people are leading both prosperous and eco-friendly lives through Permaculture. This type of environmental economics is not a zero-sum game.
Nuclear energy is the only viable way to produce clean energy on a large enough scale to meet China's energy needs. Despite considerable investment in renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-fuels, China’s energy demand will always outstrip supply from these sources. Professor Hardiman examines the options available to China to meet its energy requirements and reduce its dependence on coal and fossil fuels. He argues that nuclear energy is the only viable choice for a carbon-free energy future.
There is a popular myth that China does not have enough water to satisfy the needs of its own population and industry. Professor Hardiman exposes the truth behind water shortage, that inefficient infrastructure and failed water-education and management result in a culture of wastefulness. Solving this dilemma is represents a lucrative opportunity for companies, and a brighter future for China.
Ms. Menant talks about the current state and future challenges and opportunities in China’s green building market. While the real estate sector has experienced sustained growth, fueled by government incentives and more stringent energy efficiency regulations, the market is still far from mature. A need exists for government legislation and incentive schemes that balance the interests of local communities, building users, developers and operators alike.
Serious about renewable energy, new Chinese government incentives have sent manufacturers scrambling to grab market share, and foreign expertise, technology and know-how are welcome. Husayn Anwar discusses the importance of two critical factors to develop strong and successful partnerships in the renewable energy industry in China: conducting extensive due diligence on potential partners, local governments and the industry as a whole, and bringing value-added to these partnerships.