China is taking steps to reduce its use of coal, because of its contribution to global warming and air pollution. This year, regulators ended the previous practice of accepting ‘clean coal’ projects as an eligible use of proceeds for green bonds. But coal still accounts for over half of China’s energy supply and the country has invested substantially in modern, more efficient coal-fired power plants.
This is making market participants interested in the prospect of technology for carbon capture, use and storage. This is still at an early stage of development, but holds out the potential of reducing the climate change impact of fossil fuels including coal, by capturing carbon from smokestack emissions, so that it can either be stored or used for another purpose.
The survey testifies to carbon capture’s appeal in China. When issuers and investors were asked to choose and rank from 17 areas of the green and sustainable economy in China which they thought would present the largest and most attractive investment opportunities over the next five years, carbon capture was the most popular choice. Three quarters of respondents picked it, and a sixth of them made it their top choice.
Other energy technologies such as solar power and clean coal also attracted strong support, as did, somewhat further behind, tidal and wave power — an interesting choice, considering how nascent this form of generation is — and wind power. There is also interest in using hydrogen as a fuel — 4.4% made this their top choice — as well as energy efficiency in industry, preferred by 10%.
However, energy technologies are not the only areas of interest. The second most popular issue after carbon capture is recycling and the circular economy, which 72% are attracted by and 11% picked as their top choice.
Close behind is sustainable waste management, a connected topic. Sustainable water management and more sustainable plastics — also related to the circular economy — attract solid support too.