The United States withdrawral from the world stage in terms of Climate policy has paved the way for China to establish itself as the leader in environmental policy.
Evidenced by Premier Li Keqiang’s joint statement with the European Union in Brussels on Friday reaffirming that China would fully meet its Paris Agreement goals and the US’s withdrawral from the 2015 international pact to tackle climate change due to the risk to US jobs and the US economy, Beijing has stepped into the world leadership space vacated by the US.
Within China, the march to transform a polluted environment, and pump billions of dollars into attempts to boost renewable energy sources, has been driven by domestic politics – and public unhappiness with air and water quality.
In the first three months of 2017, China’s ministry of environment protection punished 5000 businesses for violating emissions laws, a 200 per cent increase.
A spot raid by the newly established environmental investigators found 79 per cent of 319 companies inspected around Beijing had failed to install pollution control equipment, or had excessive emissions.
The last coal-fired power station in Beijing was shutdown in March, as the city of 30 million turned to gas and wind for energy and China’s coal consumption fell for the third year in a row in 2016.
Helen Clarkson, chief executive of The Climate Group, which will host the clean energy forum in Beijing next week, said: “China has been taking leadership on climate change for many years.”
She said China’s five-year plan showed Beijing was committed to curbing coal consumption and CO2 emissions beyond global expectations, and it was also the world’s largest renewable energy employer, with 3.5 million people employed in the sector.
Furthermore, China will commit to cutting fossil fuels, increasing green technology and a $100 billion fund to assist poor nations cut emissions.
Overall, China has stepped up in a big way in becoming a leader on the world stage.