More Solutions, Funding Needed to Meet China’s Carbon Emissions Targets

A wind power plant in Dingxi, Gansu province. [Photo/Xinhua]

More practical and scalable carbon reduction solutions, better financing and regulatory mechanisms, and greater international cooperation are essential for China to meet its goals of peak carbon dioxide emissions and carbon neutrality, said experts.

By the end of last year, 136 countries had set carbon emissions targets.

International investment for the energy transition hit a record high of $755 billion last year, but the world also has a $700 billion annual funding gap for global biodiversity conservation by 2030. said Jerry Yu, chief representative of the Paulson Institute’s Beijing office. is a think tank that focuses on China-US relations.

“This urgently requires that the private sector and other market forces continue to drive innovation and change,” he said.

As China is the world’s second-largest economy and a nation with rich biodiversity, its innovative solutions for going green will serve as an important facilitator and benchmark for the world to achieve its sustainable development goals, Yu said.

The remarks were made at the 2022 Paulson Sustainability Prize launch ceremony on Friday. Since 2017, the institute and Tsinghua University have cooperated to offer this annual award to projects in China that provide innovative, scalable, market-based solutions to sustainability challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss. The prize is open for submissions until June 30.

Tracy Wolstencroft, co-chair of the award’s jury committee and former president of the National Geographic Society, said climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity for the current generation as humanity embarks on the greatest socio-economic transformation of history to achieve a more sustainable environment. future.

This process will radically change the way society makes products, grows food, travels and adapts to a warmer world, he said. “We are at a pivotal moment in the transition to a low-carbon economy, where capital, technology and politics must all align to enable green initiatives and industries to grow at a pace and scale. significant.”

Zhuang Weimin, president and chief architect of Tsinghua University’s Institute of Architectural Design and Research, said China only has 30 years to move from peak carbon to carbon neutral, which is a very tight time frame considering that developed countries are usually more than half a century old. do this.

In the field of construction, which is a major carbon emitter for China, it is important to learn green technologies from other countries, but it is also imperative to adopt these technologies and designs in accordance with the situations and needs of China, he said.

For example, the average age of Chinese buildings is less than 40 years, which is much lower than in developed countries, many of which have buildings that have stood for more than a century, he said.

Therefore, China should avoid massive demolition and reconstruction of its buildings, which could increase carbon emissions, he said. Instead, local governments should issue administrative regulations on building demolition while encouraging research and innovation to retrofit existing structures to be more environmentally friendly.

Ma Keping, deputy director general of the Biodiversity Committee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said China’s vision of building an ecological civilization, which emphasizes the harmonious coexistence of mankind and nature , is in line with the common aspiration of the UN Biodiversity Conference. .

But implementing these ambitious goals will take a big effort, he said. In addition, it will be necessary to finance these projects effectively, to create mechanisms for regulating and evaluating these enterprises and to encourage the public and private sectors to work together towards these objectives.

Jiang Li, president of Nanjing TICA Climate Solutions, a company that uses thermal energy, said sustainability can be part of a company’s competitive advantage.

To achieve both carbon goals, it is important to create a third-party credibility system that can track how much energy a company conserves so that experts can intuitively see the cost of energy consumption and optimize it. , he added.

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