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China Leads the Way in Renewable Energy Growth

Jun 26, 2014 03:20 PM EDT

Having long been one of the world's top polluters, it might be surprising to learn that China has been, and remains the world's largest user of renewable energy (RE) products and technological advances, leading a 25 percent global increase in size of the RE market since 2012.

This information was revealed in a report this week at the first United National Environment Assembly (UNEA).

According to the report, China not only is the world's largest provider of RE products, it's also one of the largest users of these products. It's constantly revamping its massive and incredibly toxic energy sector to become more and more efficient and environmentally "friendly."

Despite being one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters, China has also been ahead of the pack in making use of "green" technology - cutting more potential emissions and spending more funds on RE technology than any other country since 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The latest UN Green Economy report, entitled "South-South Trade in Renewable Energy: A Trade Flow Analysis of Selected Environmental Goods," details how RE tech consumption has actually seen a decline among developed countries in 2013.

However, China and developing countries are more able to readily take on green technologies by applying them to growing industrial sectors without the cost of having to utterly restructure old ones.

"While there was a decline in growth in Europe in 2013, there was strong growth in China and several other developing country markets," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner told the UNEA. "The [environmental service and goods market] - which is expected to grow to around $1.9 trillion by 2020 - offers developing countries an unprecedented opportunity to drive the green economy transition."

The report projects that if growth rates remain constant, the global market in low-carbon and energy-efficient technologies will nearly triple between 2010 and 2020, creating an estimated 20 million jobs by 2030.

You can download and read the whole report - open to public access - here.

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