Cancun delegates praise China’s wind energy push

China is responding to climate change on many fronts and its efforts in developing green energy are noteworthy, according to delegates attending the UN climate change conference here Wednesday.

Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in China, spoke highly of China’s efforts to combat climate change, especially its achievements in developing renewable energy.

"China has worked in this field for many years. In 2006, it promulgated the renewable energy law and for the first time set targets to double the proportion of renewable in the total energy consumption mix from about 7 percent to 15 percent by 2020," she said.

China became the world’s biggest investor in clean energy in 2008, with about $34.6 billion, which was considerably more than the largest developed country, according to Lok-Dessallien.

"China is now a world leader in renewable energy manufacture with 40 percent of the global market share of solar panels in 2009, 30 percent of the world’s wind turbines and 77 percent of the world’s solar hot water collectors," she added.

Martin Khor, executive director of South Center, an intergovernmental policy think tank of developing countries, also spoke positively of China’s achievements in wind energy development.

"I attended a very important and interesting side event in Tianjin on the way that wind power has been promoted. Laws (in China) have been changed so that wind energy can be part of the national grid. And solar energy is trying to find its way into that equation," he said.

In recent years, China has actively optimized its energy mix and made great efforts to develop low carbon energy such as renewable and nuclear energy.

Wind farm projects have developed very quickly in China due to government policies. Between 2005 and 2009, the installed capacity of wind power in China experienced annual growth of over 100 percent for five years in succession.

As for solar energy, the Chinese government in 2009 published The Interim Measures for the Administration of the Financial Subsidy Funds to the "Gold Sun" Exemplary Projects to support its development.

In April this year, China also modified its Renewable Energy Law. The modified law "provides a strong legal support to the development of renewable energy," said Su Wei, head of the climate change department of China’s National Development and Reform Commission.

In Cancun, a Mexican resort city, about 25,000 participants from governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and research institutions in almost 200 countries are attending the climate change talks, scheduled for November 29 to December 10.

The Cancun conference serves as another chance for the international community to advance the "Bali Road Map" negotiations after the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last year, which failed to reach a legally binding treaty for years beyond 2012.

The negotiators at the Cancun conference will try to establish a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges rich nations except the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012, although chances of reaching agreement appear slim.

They will also deal with issues such as green technology transfer and additional financial support to developing countries.