Economic Watch: Green Cooling Heating Up In China

It’s the hot season for shopping in China.

Almost every kind of product is heavily discounted online and in brick-and-mortar store as brands and e-commerce platforms drum up sales during the country’s mid-year online shopping festival.

One product is particularly popular. Air-conditioners boast steep price cuts as the Chinese government encourages related brands and sales platforms to promote green and energy-efficient cooling with combined preferential policies.

Such policies might save consumers over 200 million yuan (29.19 million U.S. dollars), according to Lvy Zheng, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission.

The steep discounts came as China unveiled an action plan last week to promote green and energy-efficient cooling products in a bid to lift their market share to over 20 percent and 40 percent by 2022 and 2030 respectively.

The campaign is expected to save power by 100 billion kilowatt-hours and 400 billion kilowatt-hours by 2022 and 2030 respectively, the action plan said.

China is the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of refrigeration products, with an annual industrial output of about 800 billion yuan. Over 80 percent of the world’s home-use air-conditioners and more than 60 percent of global refrigerators are made in China.

Power consumption by refrigeration makes up over 15 percent of the country’s total social electricity usage, NDRC spokesperson Meng Wei said, adding that the campaign would help improve energy consumption efficiency, facilitate industrial upgrading and address climate change challenges.

Calling the action plan a “milestone” in China’s green cooling efforts, He Ping, industrial energy conservation project director with the Energy Foundation China (EFC), observed that the plan covers the whole industrial chain with specific measures involving all stakeholders.

“The energy saved by the campaign by 2030 will amount to the 2018 power output of four Three Gorges hydropower stations,” He said.

The EFC partnered with the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme China (K-CEP China) last year to launch a two-year project to reduce energy consumption of air conditioners in China by focusing on developing related standards and labels.

If the cooling efficiency in residential and commercial areas could be elevated by 30 percent by 2020, the accumulated greenhouse gases reduction could equal to saving the power output of about 22 Three Gorges hydropower stations by 2050, according to the K-CEP China.

Energy efficiency is making impressive progress in the Asia-Pacific region, notably in China which is increasing industry competitiveness and helping decouple GDP growth from emissions growth, according to Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

A range of new policies, legal and regulatory changes, dynamic frameworks and targets demonstrate China’s determination to fulfill its nationally determined contribution commitments under the Paris Agreement, she said.

China launched a week-long campaign last Monday to raise awareness of energy conservation and promote green lifestyles, while Wednesday marked the country’s Low-carbon Day.

A guideline was released Tuesday implementing carbon neutrality during large events, offering event organizers specific measures to reduce carbon emissions, such as providing attendees with reusable daily supplies, double-sided printed materials and vegetarian options.―Xinhua

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