Energy transition key to delivering China’s climate targets

Reading time: 2 minutes
17 March 2016

After the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and annual National People’s Congress last week where China’s 13th Five Year Plan was finalized, Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, explains the importance of China’s focus on clean tech innovation – and why it is the central theme of The Climate Group’s Global Cleantech Summit in Beijing on March 23.

China's economic plan, its 13th Five Year Plan, was just approved by the National People’s Congress. Since then, media has been asking me how China will deliver its climate change targets in the coming decade, against its backdrop of slowing economic growth.

My answers are always positive. The issue of the day is no longer whether China could deliver the set targets, but rather how quickly could China cap emissions and then rapidly reduce emissions. China will not fail to deliver its Paris Agreement commitments. But instead the country must decrease emissions at pace and scale while building a dynamic, new and clean economy.

The 13th Five Year Plan (FYP) has adopted some new language to describe how China will develop its economy: a “New Economy”. But we should add another word to this term: “a New and Clean Economy”. Because the FYP has clearly set a priority agenda to rapidly clean up its environment and protect its ecosystems. Air, water and soil quality is already high on the agenda with clear targets backed by improved legislation and enforcement.

To accelerate this new and clean economy in China, creating new growth drivers is key. This is where technology innovation is crucial. Because of this, The Climate Group and our partners will officially launch the Accelerator 100 in Beijing next week at the Global Cleantech Summit. We will select and showcase 100 clean technology projects from China and around the world to ride the wave of China's ambition for a new and clean economy.

A clean energy transition is critical to deliver both environmental quality improvement and greenhouse gas emissions reductions while securing energy production and transmission. Energy transition at the city and industrial level is a key opportunity to deliver China’s international climate change targets.

The Climate Group and partners is also running two major complementary campaigns - RE100 and EP100 – which in short encourage large corporate brands to deliver 100% renewable energy and double energy productivity. We are also preparing the launch of Global Energy Transition Hub in China, working with lead partners to support the clean energy revolution.

Today China offers an ideal testing ground for the global energy transition. With national and regional targets on both energy productivity and renewable energy, China is well positioned to lead a global energy transition.

This transition won’t be easy. There will be losers and winners. Losers will not give in easily. Winners must have vision and wisdom to win. But we have Premier Li declaring “war on pollution”, and President Xi kicking off an “Energy Revolution”. Our prospects for low carbon economic success are strong.

After COP21, it is time to implement the Paris Agreement. In China and beyond, be part of the global energy transition. Be part of the new and clean economy.

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