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How China can replace the US as a champion of clean energy

Reda El Chaar says Beijing's massive investments in clean energy make it the natural choice to take over the leadership role occupied by a wavering US, and China can step up in several ways

The US has been at the forefront of clean energy initiatives in emerging markets and is considered the global leader in this sector. In particular, its Power Africa campaign has improved electrification of the continent and played an important role in helping African countries use more wind and solar power.

Under its new political leadership, however, the US looks set to back away from participating in global action on climate change.

Any roll-back could create a void in global climate leadership. At present, Europe is too fragmented and too preoccupied to play a strong international role in the wake of Brexit. So who will champion renewable energy on the world stage?

However unlikely it would have seemed just a few years ago, China is the most credible candidate. The world's second-biggest economy is evolving into the undisputed global leader in the wind and solar sectors, via an unprecedented wave of investment in manufacturing, and technology research and development.

China has realised the economic and political advantages of rising to the challenge of leadership. As Tim Buckley, director of the US-based think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said: "As the US owned the advent of the oil age, so China is shaping up to be unrivalled in clean power leadership today."

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