The Chinese Climate Movement

With China starting to take an active stance in sustainability, climate action is seeing a global roll-out.

The Chinese Climate Movement

When we talk about ESG and climate commitments, we mostly see action from European or North American countries and companies. But how are we going to effectively lower global emissions, if high-polluting countries like China or India, Russia or Brazil keep on churning out greenhouse gases? We decided to investigate a bit, to find out what happens in other parts of the planet, and we can tell you this much so far: when it comes to China, we’re really surprised with the results. It seems like the whole country awakened to a climate sensitivity. And there is much more to come. We’ve put together some fascinating facts that we found on Chinese climate action: 

 

China is the #1 in hydroelectric power generation, and not just since yesterday. 

The country invests a lot in innovation projects in other Asian countries like Malaysia, especially due to the long-term cost effectiveness of clean energy production. Around 10 billion US dollars were contributed to green energy by Chinese investors in 2021 and mostly in other countries that could not afford a transition themselves. It is worth noting that while hydroelectric power is a great source of renewable energy, the Chinese hydroelectric ambitions, notably the Three Gorges Dam project, had controversial beginnings. That said, China has stated they would stop investing in new coal projects.  

 

Regulations for emission-intensive industries 

The Chinese government started regulating environmentally criticized industries like the rubber industry under the umbrella of the state. While the list of environmental issues arising through rubber are endless, it is essential for other related industries all over the world, since there is no sufficient universal substitute to it yet. In 2017 the “Guidance for Sustainable Natural Rubber” was published, and it is the first worldwide - a regulation, that surprisingly came from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporter. China is the biggest consumer of rubber globally. But while they barely produce it themselves, they rely on international supply. The regulation was built to secure long-term supply of rubber, but the effects for the environment are more than great. 

 

Sustainable food to secure food supply 

The meat-intensive cuisine in China is seeing a shift towards protein-based alternatives. Food security in China’s growing population is becoming really crucial. Plant-based supplies are part of Xi’s long-term solution to secure food supply. The government wants to invest heavily into alternatives, not only to make sure, they will have enough food long-term but also to protect the environment. China is seeing climate change consequences in many rural areas. This also heavily affects the Chinese’ farming industry. China also sees a huge potential in laboratory produced food based on animal protein. 

 

Chinese investors look out for future-proof ideas 

While China is still struggling with its domestic coal and gas emissions, the green trend can especially be seen in the direction Chinese investments go into. 8.5 billion US dollars were invested into climate tech in 2021. While it was a lot higher in the US (56 billion US dollars), the Chinese capital market is still adjusting to the international move towards climate action. A lot of Chinese banks have set up extra funds for sustainable businesses. And emerging markets are full of climate friendly businesses.  

 

The green future of China 

As we know from the past, China is very fast in adapting to new situations and opportunities. The trends that we have displayed above show several things equally:  

 

 

Where is China heading in the future? While there is still a lot of uncertainty on how seriously the country will focus on climate-based action compared to their economic focus, there is more than just hope that leads to the conclusion that China must and will become greener over the course of the next few years. 

 

Photo by Road Trip with Raj from Unsplash