Chinese investment in Canada's clean energy sector - Dr. Wenran Jiang [4/7]





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Published on Mar 15, 2012

China's environmental issues need to be understood in a global rather than a narrowly national context. While China as a nation is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide on a per capita basis Chinese citizens produce far fewer emissions than citizens in advanced industrial economies. Further a large proportion of these emissions result from export industries producing goods for export abroad.

Environmental protection and climate change mitigation are major concerns of the Chinese government even as industrial growth and increased domestic consumption drive ever larger emissions and energy demand. Coal now amounts to about 70 per cent of China's energy needs. Because of vastly increasing demand, this percentage is unlikely to decline even as cleaner energy sources expand.

At a time that Canada is looking at direct energy exports to China, Canadian policy makers need to link energy exports to environmental concerns in two ways. First, Chinese firms should be encouraged to invest in clean energy technology in Canada. Second, a principal aim should be reduction of China's dependence on coal through provision of less dirty oil and natural gas. To be effective, a national strategy is needed in which the provinces, Alberta in particular, are major players in connecting energy exports to environmental improvement.

Learn more about Asia Pacific Memo, by the Institute of Asian Research, at www.asiapacificmemo.ca/about

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