Scientists Submit Proposal to Decarbonize China’s Industrial Parks


The industrial sector is responsible for a large part of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it difficult to decarbonise. However, in China, industrial parks offer a unique opportunity to reduce emissions and achieve additional benefits.

A recent study was commissioned to demonstrate how Chinese industrial parks can align with net-zero emissions targets, along with providing freshwater savings and health benefits.

Industrial parks as pioneers of low carbon policies

Researchers from Princeton University, in collaboration with other educational institutions and companies in China, carried out a study in which they analyzed 850 industrial parks in the Asian country. They found that by using a combination of grid electricity and on-site green power, these parks could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40%. This represents significant progress towards decarbonization goals.

The proposed decarbonization scenario is based on already existing energy policies in China. This involves phasing out coal, increasing the use of solar and wind power on the site, as well as utilizing energy recovered from waste incineration. In addition, additional electricity from the grid and heat from on-site natural gas plants are contemplated to ensure a constant supply of power.

Benefits of decarbonizing industrial parks

The study also evaluated the benefits associated with the decarbonization proposal. It was found that the proposed mitigation route would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, which is equivalent to 7% of China’s total emissions in 2014. In addition, freshwater consumption would be reduced by 20%, with greater relief from water stress in provinces with water scarcity. About 42,000 premature deaths would also be avoided due to reduced exposure to air pollution.

Local and global impact of the decarbonization of the Chinese industrial sector

The study showed that the net economic benefits of decarbonising industrial parks and avoiding premature deaths outweigh the costs of implementing the necessary changes in equipment and energy use. This is estimated to generate between $30 and $156 billion of net economic benefit for China by 2030. These results provide a strong justification for the necessary investments and policy interventions.

Given China’s important role in the global industrial sector and its exports, any effort to decarbonise this sector will have significant benefits in terms of reducing emissions in the international supply chain. The transition to cleaner energy in China’s industrial centers would speed up the country’s green transition and avoid reliance on fossil fuel infrastructure.

This research highlights the environmental, health, and economic benefits associated with decarbonizing industrial parks. In addition, the global impact of this initiative is highlighted, given the importance of China in the international supply chain.

If an initiative of this nature is implemented, the decarbonization of the Chinese industrial sector would not only benefit the country, but also the entire world in its fight against climate change.

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.