China No 1 publisher of net-zero emission studies


China has a clear lead in the publication of research over the past two decades related to the world’s climate goal of reaching net-zero emissions, a recent report has found. Its performance is also noteworthy in terms of patents that serve the goal.

The conclusion was reached based on an analysis of over 1.6 million research publications between 2001 and 2020, as well as roughly 800,000 patents, all with the aim of advancing the understanding of clean energy research and innovation and the pathways toward a net-zero emissions future.

China surges forward in renewable energy research. (Photo: Chronical of Education).

Titled Pathways to Net Zero: The Impact of Clean Energy Research, the report was unveiled by Elsevier, a Netherlands-based research publishing and information analytics company, on Wednesday in Beijing.

Over the two-decade period, China produced about 400,000 related publications, followed by the United States with 280,000. India, Germany and Japan rounded out the top five in terms of output, it said.

Zhou Yingying, head of research and analytics at greater China for Elsevier, said China experienced an increase of 32 percent in the first decade in its number of publications. Though largely spawned by rapid development, the country’s publications expanded by about 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, “still above the global average level”.

Support from Chinese funding agencies is a major reason for the significant increase, she noted.

The report analyzed 766,000 publications that were published between 2016 and 2020. Of them, well over half acknowledged a funding source. And half of the top 10 funders for these publications are based in China, according to the report.

During that period, the National Natural Science Foundation of China funded the largest proportion of these publications, contributing to nearly a quarter of the total and far outstripping other funding bodies, it said.

The report said China’s strong performance is also noteworthy in its analysis of patents, despite the bias in its methodology that failed to include patents filed with the China National Intellectual Property Administration.

The report positioned the United States as the leading nation not only in patent portfolio size, but also in patent value. China’s portfolio size ranked fifth, behind Japan, South Korea and Germany. In terms of patent value, China ranked fourth.

According to the report, however, China has made significant contributions to the growth of active patents in recent years.

“By 2020, the total number of active patents in the field reached 800,000, with exponential growth over the last 10 years driven in large part by China,” it said.

Guan Dabo, a distinguished professor of climate change economics at Tsinghua University, said that as the report shows, China contributes to a significant proportion of publications on clean energy transition and has become a leading powerhouse on clean energy research and technological innovations.

This has happened thanks to “systematic policy implementations and huge funding investment in this field over a period of time”, he was quoted as saying in a media release from Elsevier.

“This is not going to stop,” Guan said. “The transition to clean energy will increasingly be seen as a key area of productivity for China.

SOURCE: China Daily, 2022-01-07.
See Also:
Elsevier,  ‘Key findings – Pathways to Net Zero report’, October 28, 2021.

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