A report released last week by the China Council of International Co-operation on Environment and Development found that China could net 9.5 million jobs over the coming 5 years if it gave dirty energy the shaft and replaced it with clean, renewable energy and other “green businesses” instead.
The head of the China Council of International Co-operation on Environment and Development is Li Keqiang, likely to become the next prime minister, and also includes over 200 domestic and overseas experts. It is an influential group.
The council recommends dishing out 5.8 trillion yuan ($911 billion) on energy-saving and cleantech policies. It estimates the results would be 10.6 million new jobs, 8 trillion yuan in added GDP, and 1.4 trillion yuan in energy savings. The costs? Only 950,000 jobs and 100 billion in lost output. Can you say “Huge net benefit.”
Of course, the story is the same anywhere in the world — investment in clean energy in place of dirty energy is an economic winner.
The report was apparently 3 years in the making and also took a harsh view of China’s extreme pro-growth policies over the last several years, emphasizing that the health and environmental costs were not taken into account enough.
“It suggests the introduction of a carbon tax and new pricing mechanisms that would encourage more efficient use of scarce resources such as water,” the Guardian reports. “The central government says it is also trying to rebalance environmental quality with economic quantity, partly by setting new goals to reduce pollution.”
Of course, China is seeing tremendous solar and wind energy growth following massive investments in clean energy. Earlier this year, it actually doubled its solar power capacity target for 2015 from 5 GW to 10 GW. But it’s also adding a ton of coal and a ton of cars. So, it’s also becoming a bigger and bigger global polluter. Hopefully this new report indicates it will continue improving its clean energy and energy conservation targets and won’t add so much dirty energy and greenhouse gases.
China flag photo via Magalie L’AbbÃ©