China is the now world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, using fossil fuels to drive rapid industrialization. But it has also become the world leader in renewable energy. The Economist investigates how the country is now investing billions of dollars in green technology.


China’s investments into green tech can be clearly illustrated by the facts that China’s solar capacity grew by 82 percent last year, coal consumption has dropped three years in a row, China plans to invest at least $360 billion in renewable power generation by 2020, renewable energy jobs are booming and China aims to have five million electric vehicles on the road by 2020.

In its 2016-2020 “five-year plan” for renewables, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) laid out a plan to raise total wind generation capacity from 129 gigawatts (GW) in 2015 to more than 210 GW in 2020, with solar set to rise from 43.18 GW to 110 GW over the same period.