Keeping Up With China
China’s incentives for low-carbon projects are almost triple those of the United States, according to a new report by the Sydney-based Climate Institute. Measuring efforts to spur renewable energy projects and to tax fossil fuels, and then adjusting for purchasing power in the respective countries, the study estimates that the U.K. spends $29.30 U.S. per ton of carbon on energy incentives, with China coming in second at $14.20. The U.S. trails far behind at $5.10, followed by Japan at $3.10, Australia at $1.70, and South Korea at $0.70.
Clean energy seems good for business, too: China recently overtook the U.S. atop a quarterly index of the most attractive countries for renewable-energy projects compiled by the global accounting firm Ernst & Young. Three of the world’s top ten wind turbine manufacturers, measured in megawatts produced, are based in China.
"The Chinese leadership have made a strategic decision that they missed out on the last two industrial revolutions and they don't want to miss out on the third one," Erwin Jackson, director of the Climate Institute, told AFP.
Don’t get too giddy: China is the world’s top carbon polluter, having passed the U.S. in 2006-2007. And none of the six countries studied was on track to meet reduction targets agreed on after last year's climate summit in Copenhagen.