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Global 2 degree target can be achieved with China's cooperation

Date
08 July 2013
Global 2 degree target can be achieved with China's cooperation

BEIJING: Prominent climate change analysts have published an article which argues that the global two degree warming cap is still reachable, provided that China takes concerted action to tackle its pollution levels and scale up its clean technologies.

Published in Volume 13 of the leading environmental academic journal, Climate Policy, 'China’s role in attaining the global 2°C target', is co-authored by Kejun Jiang, Xing Zhuang, Ren Miao and Chenmin He. Main author Kejun Jiang, is a member of the Energy Research Institute, which is affiliated to the National Development and Reform Commission – the government ministry responsible for China’s economic and energy policy.

CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT

The authors write that while China is the world’s largest polluter -- accounting for 24% of global emissions -- there is reason to believe that the county is becoming more environmentally-conscious, owing to its recent policies and investments.

In June, China introduced its first carbon cap and trade program in Shenzhen, which will be extended to include the whole country by 2016. It also has a burgeoning solar photovoltaic industry, which has received large state support.

Last month's report from the UN Environment Programme also confirmed China’s recent commitment to renewable energy, highlighting that in 2012, the nation invested US$67 billion in sustainable projects.

NECESSARY ACTION

But the Climate Policy article warns that to avoid greater global warming, China must cut emissions 70% by 2050, compared to 2020 levels. Authors write that this can be achieved through ambitious expansion of renewable and nuclear energy, as well as increased carbon capture and storage technologies, which could prevent increases in fossil fuel use.

The authors conclude that if these actions are taken, economic growth will not stall and carbon emissions will peak in 2025.

If China is to keep within the 2°C target, in 2050:

  • renewables must account for 48% of total power generation;
  • solar must provide 1,040 gigawatts; and
  • wind should generate 930 gigawatts.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, responded: “China could peak its carbon emissions by 2025 if all the available technologies of renewable energy and energy efficiency are properly deployed. This might be a big IF, since we all know that technologies required to control the temperature increase at 2 degrees Celsius are available today -- we just have to use them. Policy incentives must be put together to push and pull the market to scale up those solutions. And technology innovation should be in place to attract adequate capital flows and enhance the market.

"I second the opinion of the leading Chinese experts who are aggressively advocating a clean revolution in China in this article. This scenario is possible since it happens to be in line with China's national development agenda to restructure its economy and industry. And China is not alone in this; in an increasingly globalized world, convergence and cooperation at international and regional level can and must happen.”

Publication: Consensus and Cooperation for a Clean Revolution: China and global sustainable development

Read More:

China unveils pioneering carbon trading scheme in Shenzhen

China announces ten “tough measures” to combat atmospheric pollution

Changhua Wu: Shenzhen carbon trading launch is a day to remember for China

By Alana Ryan

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