China is eating our lunch on renewable energy. So is India.

  • Published on May 16th, 2017

Last year, in its annual evaluation of the 40 most attractive national markets for investments in renewable energy, the accounting and China solar workers at Motech Industries renewable energyprofessional services firm of Ernst & Young assessed the United States as No. 1. But this year the U.S. slipped to No. 3 with China placing first, and India second. The reason: that climate science denier squatting in the White House. You can see an E&Y infographic for all 40 countries here.

By Meteor Blades

Nina Chestney at Reuters reports:

Trump has issued orders to roll back many of the previous administration’s climate change policies, revive the U.S. coal industry and review the Clean Power Plan, which requires states to cut carbon emissions from power plants.

Meanwhile, China announced this year that it would spend $363 billion on developing renewable power capacity by 2020. India‘s government has unveiled plans to build 175 gigawatts of renewable energy generation by 2022.

Among European countries, Germany ranked fourth, France eighth and Britain moved to 10th place, from 14th last year.

India currently has a total installed electricity-generating capacity of 329 gigawatts, so if it succeeds in adding 175 gigawatts of renewables, it will be no small matter. But both India and (to a lesser extent) China are adding coal-burning plants, too.

The three nations are the world’s largest carbon emitters, ranked in order: China, United States, India. But while China’s aggregate emissions exceed the U.S. aggregate, per capita emissions are much higher in the United States. U.N. data for the most recent year available, 2013, show the average American emitted 16.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013, as opposed to 7.6 tons by a Chinese person and only 1.6 tons by an Indian citizen. The U.S. continues to reduce its aggregate and per capita emissions, while China and India are still adding to theirs.

Marianne Lavelle at InsideClimate News reports, nonetheless, that both China and India are headed toward beating their own carbon emission goals under the Paris climate pact, according to an analysis by Climate Action Tracker:

Greenhouse gas emissions from both countries are growing more slowly than they predicted just a year ago, and the difference is substantial—roughly 2 to 3 billion tons annually by the year 2030.

That would be enough to more than offset the relatively poor performance expected from the United States as President Donald Trump rolls back controls and puts the U.S. on track to miss its Paris pledge. […]

“Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping—or even slowing—coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought by many to be necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these countries,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, one of the research consortium members. “Recent observations show they are now on the way toward overcoming this challenge.”

While all three countries are making progress, the reality is that none of them have adopted policies that would meet the Paris pact goal of keeping the global temperature rise at no more than 3.6° Fahrenheit above the pre-industrial level. Reaching the goal will require far more aggressive policies. Indeed, the crafters of the Paris goals designed the pact to be upgraded with even tougher goals.

The Trump regime is at odds with itself over whether to bail out of the Paris pact altogether. How that will shake down won’t be known until after the conclusion of the G7 meeting in Italy next week.

In the United States, building policy that can meet the 3.6° rule will require throwing elected and appointed Republicans out of office at the federal and state levels. It will also require educating those Democrats who have been—let’s be charitable—too timid in their approach to dealing with cutting carbon emissions and expanding green energy.

(Originally appeared at DailyKos.)

About the Author

Meteor Blades is a writer and contributing editor at DailyKos. He believes there is something profoundly wrong with our system. - the unchecked accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a very small group of corporate business interests has contributed to the wholesale corruption of our political system. For an understanding about the level of corruption in our country, he encourages you to view these two PBS documentaries: (1). ,The Untouchables; (2) The United States of ALEC.