Solar energy, electric vehicles, batteries, and the like contributed 40 percent to the increase in gross domestic product last year.
China leads the way regarding greenhouse gas emissions (PDF): Almost 30 percent of global CO2 emissions are caused in the People’s Republic. At the same time, China is leading the expansion of renewable energies. The green tech sector was also the most crucial driver of China’s economic growth in 2023, as shown by a new study by the Finnish climate research institute, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), With a “record value” of the equivalent of 1.6 trillion US dollars, it contributed 40 percent to the increase in gross domestic product.
According to CREA, investments in areas such as solar energy, electric vehicles, and batteries rose to 890 billion US dollars compared to the previous year, which also corresponds to an increase of 40 percent. According to the authors, the government’s growth target of around five percent would have been missed without the growth in the clean tech sector, as investment in other sectors, especially in real estate, is declining. At the same time, they point to the limits of investment growth in the clean energy sector – despite its increasing economic importance – as the global market is already largely saturated, and there is a risk of overcapacity.
China’s access to critical raw materials required for the massive domestic expansion of clean energies should not be underestimated. The People’s Republic has a virtual monopoly on the mining and processing rare earths, in particular, which are processed into permanent magnets for electric motors and wind turbines. China is also a leader in producing solar modules and their preliminary products, such as wafers and polysilicon, as well as in the field of batteries and battery materials, such as graphite.