BEIJING — China’s march toward a low-carbon economy and establishing a global energy network will bring more opportunities than risks, experts said.
The State Council, China’s cabinet, released an integrated reform plan on the environment on Sept 21, outlining the efficient use of resources, and ensuring that modernization is in harmony with nature.
Also in September, President Xi Jinping told the UN Sustainable Development Summit that China wants discussion on establishing a global energy network to meet the global power demand with clean and green alternatives.
“The green economy is unprecedentedly stressed in China, indicating both large investment requirements and huge business opportunities,” said Mu Lingling, general manager of Tianjin Green Supply Chain Center.
China is promoting green, low-carbon, climate resilient and sustainable development through institutional innovation, policy and action, according to China-US Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change signed on Sept 25 Xi’s trip stateside.
“China plans to further develop its green financial system by encouraging financial institutions to issue more green credit (credit which takes the environmental credentials of companies into account), and develop more green investment products which are able to use capital market institutions such as green stock indexes,” said a HSBC report mailed to Xinhua on Sept 28.
The government will also encourage banks and enterprises to issue more green bonds, to establish green development funds that support environmental management and protection, the report said.
China regards the battle against climate change as a major opportunity to accelerate its economic restructuring and achieve sustainable development, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s economic planner, has said.
The government will put more emphasis on the green economy, improve industrial structure, support low-carbon energy consumption and encourage carbon-emissions permit trading, the NDRC said.
China will lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65 percent from the 2005 level by 2030 and establish a 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) fund to help other developing countries combat climate change, according to the joint presidential statement.
In 2017, China will launch a national emissions trading system (ETS) covering power generation, steel, cement, and other high-emitting sectors. China has ETS pilot programs in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Shenzhen, and Guangdong and Hubei provinces.
Although the ETS pilot programs are not universally successful yet, Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, sees them as a useful experiment of what could be expanded nationally.
By committing at the highest level to such a program, China is making its intentions clear to businesses and investors about its shift to a low-carbon economy.