China's Renewable Energy to Outpace U.S., E.U. Combined

A windfarm outside Beijing. (National Journal)

There are many ways to look at the global picture on emissions and climate change. A Tuesday report from the International Energy Agency says the globe is on pace for disastrous temperature rises nearing 4 degrees Celsius, thanks to a projected 20 percent increase in emissions by 2035. An increasing portion of those emissions are coming from the developing world, as National Journal noted Monday, as countries like China and India industrialize and outpace the carbon output of the U.S. and E.U. Bloomberg has another takeaway from that report:

China will build more renewable power plants through 2035 than the European Union, U.S. and Japan combined.... The share of energy sources including hydropower, biomass, wind, and solar in world electricity supply will rise above 30 percent in that period, "drawing ahead of natural gas in the next few years and all but reaching coal as the leading fuel for power generation in 2035."

It's worth remembering that China's emissions per capita are still less than many developed countries, and its dramatic carbon spikes are largely a function of its rapid industrialization combined with massive population. Essentially, its actions on climate — whether in the form of toxic coal pollution or large-scale investment in renewable energy — are magnified to a huge degree.