China Tops Climate Stimulus Spending Spree
THE global climate change industry is now worth more than A$528bn, powered by China’s rise as one of the top nations for climate revenues. The HSBC research report shows that private sector climate-related investment in China, which had grown thirtyfold since 2004, coupled with focused climate stimulus spend, is set to propel China to the forefront of developments in the emerging low-carbon economy.
Sarah-Jane Tasker in the Australian (18 September 2010):
THE global climate change industry is now worth more than $528bn, powered by China’s rise as one of the top nations for climate revenues.
As the debate on setting a price on carbon in Australia continues, HSBC Global Research issued a report on climate change that showed the sector had proved resilient to the global slowdown, seeing less than a 0.9 per cent decline in revenues in 2009, as companies push ahead with plans despite political uncertainty over green policies.
“Despite concerns over the risks that governments may retreat from their pledges to deliver emission reductions and continuing uncertainty surrounding the withdrawal of regulatory incentives in key markets, global climate revenues have held up remarkably well and in 2009 stood at $US530bn for listed companies,” the report says.
The headline figure is greater than the global wireless telecoms services sector and comparable to the GDP of Switzerland, the report says.
The research also shows that private sector climate-related investment in China, which had grown thirtyfold since 2004, coupled with focused climate stimulus spend, is set to propel China to the forefront of developments in the emerging low-carbon economy.
HSBC says this will ultimately feed into the future growth of China’s economy.
“In terms of climate stimulus spend, China leads the pack, having already disbursed over 70 per cent of the funds it pledged two years ago,” the report says.
The climate change debate in Australia was reignited this week when BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers called for the nation to lead the way and introduce a carbon tax before any international agreement.
John Atkinson, the managing director of White Energy, which focuses on clean coal technology, said he did not believe that businesses needed certainty on carbon tax today.
“Other countries would be surprised if Australia took the lead on the issue,” he said. “I would’ve thought that the more sensible approach is for the major emitters to agree on the issue and then implement what they agree.”
But Mr Atkinson said it was good to have the debate, because the industry was not deterred by the political uncertainty and initiatives were being implemented on a global basis.
Just this week, White Energy announced that the US state of Kentucky had sought out the company to address an emissions problem around sulphur, offering White Energy accelerated permits and funding for low-sulphur fuel for the state’s coal-fired power generating companies.
“When people are faced with real problems, they look hard at trying to show they are doing something positive that can assist the situation long term,” he said.
The HSBC report reveals that over the past year, despite a number of key countries wavering on their commitments to addressing the issues of climate change, the number of companies engaged in providing climate-related goods, products and services grew to 367, a 140 per cent rise since 2004.
The research also highlights that firms in key industries, which HSBC identified as being critical to the emerging low-carbon economy, continue to focus on growing climate revenues, relative to their other businesses.
Vijay Sumon, an index specialist at HSBC Global Research, said in the climate change sector, energy efficiency and energy management remained key areas.
“Not only has this sub-sector performed well, but we predict that it is likely to continue to do so next year, as a beneficiary of further stimulus spend,” he said. “We see it as a no-regrets option, as it makes sense for businesses regardless of climate change.”