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TheStreet Open House

China Is Greener Than You Think

Has anybody noticed how the media harp endlessly on the poor air quality in Beijing? And how they keep televising Olympic athletes arriving at the airport wearing facemasks?

Of course, the air quality in Beijing is poor. Some 300 million people, about the population of the U.S., have risen to middle-class status in China. This doesn't happen without constructing a lot of buildings, roads and power plants

But let's look forward and try to profit. I am focusing on the irony that China is rapidly becoming the world's biggest manufacturer of the technology demanded by the environmental movement. China is now the world's production center for all your green needs, such as carbon-lowering solar cells and wind turbines.

It is already the world's largest producer of solar cells and will be the top manufacturer of wind turbines by 2009. It is fair to say that if you name a green technology, China will have big market share. The central government has been very aggressive in its pursuit of establishing a green technology industry within the country.

Outside of the U.S.-based bellwether and momentum darling First Solar (FSLR), the sector is dominated by China-based companies such as Suntech Power (STP), LDK Solar (LDK), JA Solar (JASO), Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and Trina Solar (TSL).

Pollution Per Person

Yes, China is the biggest global greenhouse gas emitter on an aggregate basis, but that figure is misleading. It is more appropriate to break it down on a per-capita basis. Only then, the true gluttonous nations are revealed. In 2007, the average Chinese citizen emitted 5.1 tons of carbon, the average European 8.6 tons, and -- you guessed it -- the average American emitted 19.4 tons, almost four times the average in China.

I believe there is a big misunderstanding in the industrialized nations that China is not concerned about issues of air quality and global warming. China invested over $12 billion in renewable energy last year, second only to Germany.

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