On April 1, 2016, China signed the Paris Climate Agreement. According to its pledges and targets for the Paris Agreement, China set the following goals: to increase the share of non-fossil energy sources in the total primary energy supply to around 20% by 2030, to lower the carbon intensity of its GDP by 60% to 65% below 2005 levels by 2030, to increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters (compared to 2005 levels), and to increase the share of natural gas in the total primary energy supply to around 10% by 2020. China also pledged to reduce the production of HCFC-22 to 35% below 2010 levels by 2020 and 67.5% by 2025, and to “control” HFC-23 production by 2020.
To fulfill its Paris Agreement goals, China has started using electric buses to replace diesel-powered vehicles and buses. According to the article “The Electric Bus Is Running Late,” by Linda Poon, there were about 425,000 electric buses in service in the world’s cities last year. Almost all—99% of them—were in China. The booming industrial city of Shenzhen in particular is one of only a few cities to have fully electrified its fleet. The rest of the globe, meanwhile, is racing to catch up, and is falling further behind. From the graph above, we can see the amount of carbon dioxide produced by different types of transit buses. Compared to diesel-powered buses, electric buses produce 40% less carbon dioxide emissions. 40% less carbon dioxide emissions might not seem like much, but if we compare one city with all diesel-powered buses with another city with all electric buses, we can see the superiority in efficiency of electric buses. This comparison assumes that both cities have 40 buses, but are powered differently. If we use the data above, we will get 107,200 carbon dioxide emissions produced by 40 diesel-powered buses, and 43,120 carbon dioxide emissions produced by 40 electric-powered buses. If we subtract 43,120 from 107,200, we get 64,080 less carbon dioxide emissions produced by electric buses.
China is also one of the countries that produces the most solar energy in the world. According to the article “The 5 Countries That Produce the Most Solar Energy” by Justin Walton, as of 2015, China is the largest producer and buyer of solar panels. The vast majority of photovoltaic products, or solar panels, is being installed in remote areas by giant solar farms that sell energy to utility companies. Satellite imagery shows the incredible growth of these enormous solar farms that continue to pop up all over China. Looking at the graph above, we can see that solar energy and photovoltaics can reduce a tremendous amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Compared to other energy sources, solar photovoltaics produce less greenhouse gas emissions than burning fossil fuels such as lignite, coal, oil, and natural gas. In addition, the use of solar energy gives cost advantages over burning fossil fuels. Per the article “Positive Effects of Solar Energy” by Ethan Shaw, in 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy noted that the cost of photovoltaic panels had fallen in price by 50% from the preceding three years. Compared with the volatile price fluctuations typical of fossil fuels – stemming from political tension, strife, and other regional factors – solar energy offers the potential for more stable energy costs which benefits consumers as well as utility companies. Solar energy relies on solar radiation, an energy that is given off by the sun. Therefore, we don’t need anything but the sun to produce this energy.
Moreover, China launched the world’s first fully electric cargo ship. According to the article “China Launches World’s First All-Electric Cargo Ship, Will Use It to Haul Coal,” the world’s first 2,000-metric-ton all-electric cargo ship launched in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province. The ship, manufactured by the Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Ltd., represents a technological breakthrough: it is the first in the world to use a lithium battery in a fully electrically powered cargo vessel in the inland section of the Pearl River. Unlike diesel-powered cargo ships, electric cargo ships produce zero emissions, and the cost is much less than with diesel-powered cargo ships. Electric-powered ships like cargo ships and ferries use sustainable energy sources like solar and wind which reduce a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
Poon, L. (2019, June 27). The Electric Bus Is Running Late. Retrieved December 2, 2019, from https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/06/electric-bus-china-grid-ev-charging-infrastructure-battery/591655/.
Walton, J. (2019, November 18). The 5 Countries That Produce the Most Solar Energy. Retrieved December 2, 2019, from https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/092815/5-countries-produce-most-solar-energy.asp.
Shaw, E. (2019, March 2). Positive Effects of Solar Energy. Retrieved December 2, 2019, from https://sciencing.com/positive-effects-solar-energy-6192992.html.
Hanley, S. (2017, December 3). China Launches World’s First All-Electric Cargo Ship, Will Use It To Haul Coal. Retrieved December 2, 2019, from https://cleantechnica.com/2017/12/02/china-launches-worlds-first-electric-cargo-ship-will-use-haul-coal/.