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  • Author or Editor: Olaf Pollmann x
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China is the second biggest trading nation in the world — number one as trade exporter and number two as trade importer. Behind the USA, China has the second strongest economy with a gross domestic product of almost 5 trillion USD in 2009. Despite the global financial crisis the Chinese economy was and is still drastically growing with three main focus areas: increase in labor costs; increasing demand for qualified labor; and a high grade of technology. Linked to the future 12th five-year-plan, China is going to spend 1.5 billion dollars in key-technologies like nuclear power, high speed railway systems, aerospace, energy efficiency, environmental friendly technologies, biotechnologies and information technology. China is trying to change its status from distributor to a leading high-tech provider with high potential. This implicitly means a higher consumption of natural resources and more highly qualified employees. However, the shortage of natural resources poses a great question. Prognoses say that we will need two Earths to cover our steadily rising resource consumption in 2030. To provide this, the economy has to work much more efficiently and regarding climate and resource protection even a total change is necessary. Due to this, Europe’s and China’s future will need a common economic and ecologic strategy to fulfill international requirements of sustainable growth within balanced natural circumstances.

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Current energy systems are in most instances not fully working sustainably. The provision and use of energy only consider limited resources, risk potential or financial constraints on a limited scale. Furthermore, the knowledge and benefits are only available for a minor group of the population or are outright neglected. The availability of different resources for energy purposes determines economic development, as well as the status of the society and the environment. The access to energy grids has an impact on socio-economic living standards of communities. This not fully developed system is causing climate change with all its related outcomes. This investigation takes into consideration different views on renewable energy systems — such as international discussions about biomass use for energy production, “fuel versus food”, biogas use — and attempts to compare major prospects of social acceptance of renewable energy in Europe and Africa. Can all obstacles to the use of renewable energy be so profound that the overall strategy of reducing anthropogenic causes of climate change be seriously affected?

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