As global clean energy champion, China has ‘responsibility’ to lead at COP28: IEA

(EurActiv, 30 Nov 2023) China did the world “a big favour” by bringing down the cost of clean technologies like solar panels, said Fatih Birol, the chief of the International Energy Agency (IEA). But with increased economic clout also comes responsibility, he told Euractiv ahead of the COP28 international climate summit in Dubai.

The COP28 summit is expected to open with a pledge on Saturday (2 December) to triple the world’s installed renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030, relative to 2022 levels.

If it materialises, that target will owe a lot to China, which made clean technologies like solar panels more affordable across the world, said Birol, the IEA’s executive director.

“China is the champion of clean energy. They are the world’s number one in solar, in electric cars, nuclear, hydropower – everything,” Birol told Euractiv in an exclusive interview ahead of COP28.

For Beijing, it is the story of a rise to global dominance in clean technology manufacturing, which started with solar panels more than a decade ago.

“Europe was a leader on solar 20 years ago but it dropped the ball and China took it over. And today 80% of the solar panels in the world are manufactured in China,” Birol said

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EurActiv, 30 Nov 2023: As global clean energy champion, China has ‘responsibility’ to lead at COP28: IEA