While China remains the world's largest producer of carbon emissions—where air pollution is still responsible for more than 1 million premature deaths a year—the Asian power is also the biggest investor in renewable energy.
The latest report by the UN's renewable energy advisory body, REN21, shows China led renewable energy investment worldwide for the seventh successive year, contributing to almost a third of the global renewables investment in 2018 at $91.2 billion, ABC.net reported.
By comparison, the United States spent $48.5 billion and European investment hit $61.2 billion.
China's growing renewable energy supply and dominance in renewable energy technology, including being the world's leader in the production and sale of electric vehicles, has led some observers to highlight China’s potential as a global green leader.
A report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency in January 2019 argued that countries with the ability to take advantage of new renewable energy technologies can enhance their global influence and reach.
"In aggregate, it is now the world's largest producer, exporter and installer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles, placing it at the forefront of the global energy transition."
While China has significantly expanded its renewable energy capacity over the past decade, a separate report released ahead of the annual G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, last week suggested that the country still had a long way to go to be a true climate leader.
The report by the Overseas Development Institute and others showed G20 countries have almost tripled the subsidies they give to coal-fired power plants in recent years, despite pledging a decade ago to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies.