BoqiangLin:Cool,calm and collected

2020-02-14 20:48:41 作者: 所属分类:学者专栏 阅读: 评论:BoqiangLin:Cool,calm and collected已关闭评论

The 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which officially concluded in Madrid on Dec 15, 2019, was obviously not as fruitful as people hoped.

Three important areas where consensus was lacking are: the parties' increased emissions reduction ambitions, the establishment of trading rules for international carbon markets and long-term climate finance support.

At the 21st UNFCCC held in 2015, nearly 200 parties unanimously adopted the Paris Agreement, which innovatively shifted from mandatory emissions reduction to encouraging each party to provide intended nationally determined contributions to reduce emissions. Four years later, almost all parties have submitted their intended nationally determined contributions, however most of them do not show enough ambition, making it hard to realize the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. So one of the key issues for COP25 was to promote more ambitious emissions cuts. However, Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the United States all rejected this proposal. Only the European Union finally agreed to net zero emissions by 2050.

China has fully demonstrated its determination to tackle climate change. Pledging that by 2020, the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will be reduced by 40 percent to 45 percent compared with 2005, the proportion of non-fossil energy in primary energy consumption will be about 15 percent, and the forest area and storage volume will be increased by 40 million hectares and 1.3 billion cubic meters respectively compared with 2005. Such specific targets are clearly stated, not only in the intended nationally determined contributions submitted by the Chinese government to the United Nations, but also as part of the core content of China's National Climate Change Plan (2014-20), reflecting the importance the Chinese government places on its emissions reduction commitments.

According to the 2019 Annual Report on China's Policies and Actions on Climate Change, China's carbon intensity dropped by 4 percent in 2018, down 45.8 percent compared with 2005. China has fulfilled its 2020 carbon intensity control target ahead of schedule, and it is expected to fulfill its 2030 intended nationally determined contribution ahead of schedule, thus setting a benchmark for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

China has made concrete efforts, adjusting its industrial structure, saving energy and improving efficiency, optimizing its energy structure, controlling greenhouse gas emissions from non-energy activities, and increasing its carbon sink, among other things.

China has worked hard to reduce the overcapacity in steel, coal and power generation industries, developed the service sector and supported the development of strategic emerging and less energy intensive industries. China's tertiary industry now accounts for more than half of its GDP. Industrial restructuring is making a big contribution to China's low-carbon and clean development.

China has promoted energy conservation in construction, transportation and renovation projects. Green building standards have been implemented in Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. The implementation of ultra-low emissions and energy-saving retrofitting projects for thermal power units has also been progressing steadily.

China has been heavily subsidizing the renewable industry. In 2018, coal accounted for about 59 percent of its total energy consumption, down 1.4 percent year-on-year. The conversion and storage capacity of wind and solar power have been quickly improved with a more competitive economic cost. At the same time, as coal is still the main energy source in China, the clean use of coal is also the focus, including the cleaning-up and efficiency improvement of the whole industrial chain. In addition, due to the substantial reduction in the cost of renewable energy generation, the main obstacle in the development of new energy has changed, and the focus of the difficulty in the future development is infrastructure construction.

The greenhouse gas emissions from non-energy activities have also been controlled and reduced. China is committed to promoting the destruction of hydro fluorocarbons (HFCS), strictly controlling cement production capacity and implementing green manufacturing projects. In agriculture the comprehensive utilization rate of fertilizer and straw comprehensive utilization level have been improved.

China has also increased its carbon sink by pushing ahead with land carbon sequestration projects, including forest, grassland and wetland carbon sequestration. At present, China's forest coverage rate is about 23 percent, and its forest stock is about 17.6 billion cubic meters, making it the largest contributor of green area in the world.

To sum up, China has figured out its basic strategy and made a variety of efforts to address climate change. At the COP25 conference, China appealed to reviewing the intended nationally determined contributions in 2020, providing support to developing countries, identifying the gaps existing between the reality and intended national determined contributions, and preventing transfer of social responsibility to developing countries in the next round of commitments.

The author is dean of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily

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