Australian researchers say the rest of the world should follow China’s lead and boost markets for wind, solar and water power technologies.
John Mathews of Macquarie University and Hao Tan of the University of Newcastle argue that by placing emphasis on production scale and market growth, China is driving down costs and “contributing more than any other country to a climate change solution”.
In a comment piece in the journal Nature, the business management academics say the production of solar cells has expanded about 100-fold since 2005 and the costs of renewable energy devices have fallen.
“China’s rise to become the world’s largest power producer and source of carbon emissions through burning coal is well recognized,” the researchers write.
“But the nation’s renewable energy systems are expanding even faster than its fossil fuel and nuclear power.
“China leads the world in the production and use of wind turbines, solar-photovoltaic cells and smart-grid technologies, generating almost as much water, wind and solar energy as all of France and Germany’s power plants combined.”
But others, including the United States and United Kingdom, seem yet to notice this shift and are pursuing ineffective energy policies, including considering alternative fossil-fuels sources, putting trade tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels and importing energy technologies.
Mathews, professor of strategic management, and Tan, senior lecturer at Newcastle Business School, call for a new narrative in climate and energy discussions.
“As in China, renewables must be seen as a source of energy security, not just of reduced carbon emissions,” they write.
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