29 Apr 2013

China increases use of renewable energy

9:23 am on 29 April 2013

A new report says China is curbing its carbon emissions as the Asian giant boosts its use of renewable energy sources.

The Australian government's climate commission released a report on Monday showing the world's two largest economies, China and the United States, are on the path to meet their international commitments on climate change.

Chief commissioner Tim Flannery said China had begun to curb its use of coal in producing energy after years of strong growth, and is set to become a global leader on climate change.

"China has halved its growth in electricity demand, dramatically increased its renewable energy capacity, and decelerated its emissions growth more quickly than expected," Professor Flannery said.

"They are beginning to put in place seven emissions trading schemes that will cover a quarter of a billion people (nearly 20 per cent of China's population)."

Professor Flannery said the country was reducing its water and air pollution as it moved towards becoming the world's leader in the use of renewable energy.

Worldwide, four new emission trading schemes introduced around the world this year took the number of national schemes to 35.

Global emissions continued to rise despite the strong actions taken to address them, Professor Flannery said. "To protect our society from the impacts of climate change, we all need to (go) much further in the coming years."

Australia's greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation fell in the six months to December 2012 to the lowest level since 2001/2, the report said.

The amount of renewable energy Australia could produced had nearly doubled from 2001 to 2012.