Could reform pave the way for China to play a more active role in global climate protection?

In 2013, China overtook the USA and became the world's largest power producer. The country is also the world's largest energy consumer. To prevent the negative consequences of climate change, which will indubitably affect China alongside the rest of the world, the country has been investing massively in an energy turnaround. In their article "China's energy policies and strategies for climate change and energy security" Haifeng Deng and Paolo Davide Farah deal with the regulations and reforms of the energy market in China. For example, they examine the problems caused by a lack of energy diversification—a not insignificant factor, considering that China still gets a large part of its electricity from coal. However, now China also fulfils a quarter of its needs through renewable energy sources. With regard to renewable energies, energy storage plays a major role. China wants to become the world market leader in this area. Battery production and pumped storage are the most important areas of interest for China. In order to keep energy access stable in the future, and to ensure access for the general population, new technologies in the field of smart and micro grids are being used. However, in order to keep growth and progress high, China must become more and more involved in international cooperation. The high energy demand in Guangdong province shows that it is necessary to obtain energy from external sources as well. Various measures should ensure a successful opening of the market and stabilization of the energy network. China is cooperating with Germany in this regard and is taking parts of the German energy turnaround as a model. Deng and Farah present an overview of the policies in detail, such as the "Energy Basic Law" and the "Coal Law". Interesting here is their classification into aspects of environmental protection, since this might be especially relevant for a larger audience. In view of China's massive efforts to turn the tide, it is clear that energy demand will continue to rise sharply across the board, which is why reforming the energy sector is beneficial. Deng and Farah explain the important role energy security plays for China and thus show the problems that can arise. The subdivision into energy supply, energy economy and energy ecological security seem logical and easy to understand. However, in all these efforts, one should not ignore the current situation and plans outside the ecological range. Given the large number of coal-fired power plants in China and those that are being planned, it does not seem to be a very realistic goal to reach the climate targets. However, if the massive expansion of renewable energies continues and pushes coal-fired power plants further out of the market, this would at least be a major contribution and an important sign in the fight against climate change. Deng and Farah consider at least the reforms to be a sensible approach. However, it cannot be denied that the quality of the air in China's cities has already been noticeably improved by electromobility. This is gratifying to see when one considers the role China must play in global climate protection.