Could clean energy be the answer to China’s demographic woes? Dean Baker answers.

In a column for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington DC-based think tank, economist Dean Baker writes on the opportunity for China to invest in clean energy to resolve its “demographic crisis”. An excerpt from the article is as follows.

“As Paul Krugman wrote in a recent column, China is going to have to make a massive adjustment in its economy in the years ahead. It has been spending an incredible 43 percent of its GDP on capital formation, either investment goods purchased by businesses, or residential housing. By comparison, the figure for Japan is 24 percent and for the United States less than 22 percent.

This massive spending on capital formation made sense when China was seeing rapid growth in its labor force and also a huge shift in its population from rural to urban. But this process is now reaching an endpoint, both with a decline in its working-age population and the rural to urban shift largely completed.

It is also important to note that China is already heavily invested in clean energy. China is by far the world leader in solar energy, with more than twice as much as the United States, the second-largest user of solar power. It is also by far the world leader in wind energy, again with more than twice as much installed wind power as the United States. And, China also has more than twice as many electric cars on the road as any other country. This means that China has a large domestic clean energy sector which can stand to gain by further spending on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

If China wants a path through its “demographic crisis,” or, in other words, coping with secular stagnation, devoting substantial resources towards greening its economy would be a great path forward. In the process, they can also give a big hand to the rest of the world, both by sharing the technology and showing how it can be done, as well as reducing the damage they are doing to the planet themselves.”

Source: Baker, D. (2021). CEPR. Combatting Global Warming: The Solution to China’s Demographic “Crisis”.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted by at 7:49 AM

Labels: Energy & Climate Change, Inclusive Growth


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