Global investors see new prospects in China's net-zero carbon goals
Aerial photo taken on Aug. 17, 2020 shows a photovoltaic power station at a green industrial development park in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Hainan, northwest China's Qinghai Province. (Xinhua/Zhang Long)
With China on track to achieve its net-zero carbon pledges, global investors are eyeing new green business opportunities from the world's second largest market.
At the two-day International Finance Forum (IFF) 2021 Spring Meetings, which concluded on Sunday, heavyweight lecturers from across the globe lauded China's persistent green efforts, reaching a consensus that the world will gain growth momentum from China's carbon-cutting endeavors.
Vowing to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, China has made solid progress on green technology and green finance in support of this great undertaking.
Data shows that the country ranks first globally in newly installed wind-power capacity, and is also a global leader in the production and use of solar energy and hydropower.
In north China's Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Fenhe-Weihe Plain, approximately 25 million households had switched from coal-burning to clean energy for winter heating by the end of 2020.
Several speakers at the IFF focused on China's ongoing green shift toward clean energy, envisioning the country forging stronger cooperation with other nations in developing and using green technologies.
China is leading the world on green technology and has widely adopted clean-energy technologies such as solar, wind and hydrogen, said Erik Solheim, former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
Stressing the "enormous enthusiasm" in Chinese companies, cities and provinces to solve the global problem of climate change, Solheim also expected that the United States and China would both cooperate and compete with each other on electric vehicles, as well as other technologies.
Green finance, meanwhile, is thriving nationwide and providing a growing number of opportunities for overseas businesses seeking to benefit from China's green shift.
By the end of 2020, the country's balance of green loans had reached 11.6 trillion yuan, making China the world's largest green-finance market, Liang Tao, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, told the IFF.
Such green loans have made major contributions to helping the country accomplish its carbon-reduction targets and boosting the post-pandemic green economic recovery, Liang said, urging financial institutes to ratchet up support for the green and low-carbon sectors.
China is going to be at the heart of the climate business boom, said Deborah Lehr, vice chairperson and executive director of the Paulson Institute, at the forum.
This is not only because the country's scale of emissions creates opportunity, but also because it is becoming a leader in innovative green finance, as well as in clean technology, she said.
The country has also started to further open its businesses dealing in environmental goods and services to foreign firms, she added.
At the IFF, Lehr cited a recent Goldman Sachs report that estimates a total investment opportunity of 16 trillion U.S. dollars associated with China's efforts to achieve its net-zero carbon goals by 2060.
"That's good business," Lehr said.