Experts call for cooperation, capital to reach carbon goal
China is aiming for comprehensive, systemic reforms in all sectors and calling for more cooperation on and investment in green transformation to fulfill its pledge to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, officials said at a forum on carbon neutrality held in Shanghai on Thursday.
With only 30 years between the two goals, "we will pursue a sustained, rapid decline in carbon emissions as quickly as possible after having a carbon dioxide emissions peak by 2030, as we're pressed for time", said Li Gao, director-general of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment's Department of Climate Change, at the Carbon Neutrality Forum.
The forum was co-organized by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.
"To achieve the goals, more effective measures should be taken to strictly control the consumption of fossil fuels," Li said. "It is also vital to establish a new power system centered around new energy to enhance the carbon sink capacity of the ecosystem and popularize the idea among the public."
In December, China announced a new target of increasing the share of nonfossil fuels in its primary energy consumption to 25 percent by 2030 and boosting its installed capacity of wind and solar power to more than 1,200 gigawatts by 2030.
Li added that the country will boost international cooperation in the field as well, and urged domestic universities and research institutes to strengthen study in climate change and related science and technology, as well as policies.
Ding Hui, another official from Li's department, said the transformation brought by carbon neutrality will foster innovation in multiple fields, such as improving electrification.
Ding noted that a report by State Grid Corp of China showed the overall electrification rate stood at 26 percent of total fuel consumption in China in 2019, but by 2050, that is expected to reach 50 percent. Moreover, the electrification rate in some industries, including construction and transportation, may exceed 90 percent by then.
"Industrial chains, such as new energy vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells, will develop rapidly, and energy-saving products will be highly promoted to the public to reduce the demand for fossil energy," he said.
Therefore, investment and financing to facilitate the transformation should also be reinforced, Ding said, as "those innovative changes are inseparable from financial support".
"China has invested a lot in the area. However, it still needs more," he added.
According to Ding, research has shown that to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2060, about 139 trillion yuan ($21.3 trillion) worth of investment will be needed in the low-carbon industry.
There will be "new opportunities for business growth for domestic financial institutions", Ding said, adding, "Of course, the related domestic legal system should be strengthened for an orderly carbon financial market."
Xi to join summit
President Xi Jinping will attend a China-France-Germany leaders' virtual summit on climate on Friday at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Thursday.