United Nations Environment Programme environment for development
UNEP - Regional Office for Asia Pacific - Success Stories
 Rooting Out Poverty with the E-Tree Programme in China

The China E-Tree Progamme was launched in 2009 by UNEP in collaboration with the China Green Foundation and Fujian Southeast TV with the objective to increase Chinese people’s awareness on forest protection, as well as to encourage them to contribute to environmental protection, social values and human well-being. The programme also advocates the economic and ecological value of tree planting for poverty alleviation while reducing the risk of drought and desertification brought about by extreme weather conditions in Western China.


After three years since its inception, the programme has already raised USD$1.1 million through online fundraising alone. It has supported over 16,800 impoverished households in Western China and more than 5500 hectares were planted with over 10 million Sea-buckthorn trees. Household incomes increased since the first year of the programme and it’s expected to continue to increase annually.


With its easy to use platform, it has widely encouraged Chinese netizens to participate in the nation-wide interactive internet tree-planting activities by donating as low as RMB 10 Yuan, which is equivalent to US$ 1.5. With every donation, an impoverished household in Western China gets extra income from planting trees that easily grow in arid land like the Sea-buckthorn tree. This kind of tree survives in dry conditions and is an important natural resource in preventing soil erosion and also serves as an economic resource for food and medicinal products.


According to Mr. Yang Jiping, Vice-Chair of China Green Foundation, the China E-Tree Progamme has built an open and convenient platform for nearly five million Chinese citizens to make contribution in making China greener and embrace a new way of forestation while reducing poverty.


For more information please visit: http://www.e-tree.org.cn/en/index.asp


Planting Seeds of Hope in Degraded Landscapes of the Pamir-Alai Mountains in Central Asia


Hidden from the spotlight of global attention, over the past three years communities inhabiting the deeply incised valleys and high-altitude cold deserts of the Pamir-Alai mountains, have been searching for ways of making a living that would allow them to remain in the harsh but scenic mountain environment which they call home, while preserving it for their children and the future generations.


Many are already benefiting from a Global Environment Facility project, implemented by the United Nations University (Bonn) with local partners in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and supported by UNEP that uses innovative approaches to managing scarce cropland, shared pasture and forest resources. The project developed 166 micro-projects that led to the rehabilitation of degraded marginal lands and notable improvement of income. Nearly 2500 ha of land has been improved and 5000 households, nearly 40% of the population in the project area, have benefited. Another 2500 ha is expected to be improved and a further 2000 households will benefit. In parallel, the long-term legal and policy reform of transboundary pasture management, renewable energy, and biodiversity conservation have been identified and commitments to strategic changes made, promising to enable others in the region to benefit from the potential of improved use and management of their land resources in the future.


For more information please visit: http://www.ehs.unu.edu/palm/

Renewable Energy in China

China is taking considerable steps to shift to a low-carbon growth strategy based on the development of renewable energy sources. The outline of 11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010) allocated a significant share of investments to green sectors, with an emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Plan projects that the per-unit GDP energy consumption by 2010 should have decreased by 20 per cent compared to 2005. In addition, the Chinese government has committed itself to producing 16 per cent of its primary energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Passed in 2005, China’s Renewable Energy Law serves as the principal framework for development of the sector. The law offers a variety of financial incentives, such as a national fund to foster renewable energy development, discounted lending and tax preferences for renewable energy projects, and a requirement that power grid operators purchase resources from registered renewable energy producers. The combination of investments and policy incentives has encouraged major advances in the development of both wind power and solar power.

Wind Power:

The additional generating capacity from wind power has exhibited an annual growth rate of more than 100 per cent from 2005 to 2009. With new installations of 13.8 GW coming on line in 2009, China led the world in added capacity, and is second in terms of installed capacity, after the U.S. To reflect increasing ambition in the industry, the government has indicated its intention to increase its previous target of 30 GW of installed capacity by 2020 to 100 GW.

To directly encourage local wind turbine manufacturing, China has implemented policies to encourage joint-ventures and technology transfers in large wind turbine technology and mandated the use of locally made wind turbines. The Ministry of Science and Technology has subsidized wind energy R&D expenditures at varied levels over time, beginning most notably in 1996 with the establishment of a renewable energy fund. Domestic wind turbine makers, such as Sinovel Wind, Goldwind Science and Technology, and Dongfang Electric, have contributed an increasing share of total new installations. Together they accounted for at least half of a market dominated by foreign firms until 2008.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission issued the Interim Management Measures for Renewable Power Tariff and Cost Allocation in 2006, and the Interim Measures on Renewable Power Surcharge Collection and Allocation in 2007. Together with the Renewable Energy Law, the regulations aim to encourage a reduction in the price of wind power by stipulating that a competitive pricing bidding model be used for the majority of wind power development in China.

Solar Power:

Being the largest Solar PV manufacturer in the world, China produced 45% of global solar PV in 2009. The domestic solar market has started developing more recently, with about 160 MW solar PV installed and connected to grid in 2009. But with more than 12GW of large projects in the pipeline, it could rapidly become a major market in Asia and the world. For solar PV, the government has also indicated that the target for installed capacity in 2020 could be increased from 1.8 GW to 20 GW.

China is now the world’s largest market for solar hot water, with nearly two-thirds of global capacity. More than 10 per cent of Chinese households rely on the sun to heat their water with more than 160 million square metres as total collector area. The rapid development of the solar water heater sector is due to its basic profitability for both business manufacturing the units and households that install them. There are also considerable health and sanitation benefits afforded by the improved availability of hot water, made more feasible and economic with solar water heater systems. Within the context of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan for New and Renewable Energy, an Implementation Plan on Promoting Solar Thermal Utilization in China was adopted in 2007. Under this national policy, the installation of SWH systems is given priority for major hot water consumers, such as hospitals, schools, restaurants and swimming pools.

Job creation: The energy sector as a whole generates output worth US$17 billion and employed an estimated 1.5 million at the end of 2009, of which 600,000 were in the solar thermal industry, 266,000 in biomass generation, 55,000 in solar photovoltaics and 22,200 in wind power. In 2009 alone, an estimated 300,000 jobs were created.

China’s experience provides an example of policy-led growth in renewable energy that has created jobs, income and revenue streams for nascent low carbon industries.

  1. 1. Analysis for the Green Economy Report, UNEP
  2. 2. Low Carbon Green Growth for Developing Countries in East Asia, UNEP, 2010
  3. 3. Powering China’s Development: The Role of Renewable Energy, WorldWatch Institute, 2007
  4. 4. ILO-UNEP. Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-carbon World, Geneva, UNEP, 2008
  5. 5. Junfeng Li and Lingjuan Ma, Chinese Renewables Status Report, Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association Background paper, October 2009
  6. 6. European Photovoltaic Industry Association. 2010. Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaic Until 2014