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Influential report says China must collaborate on clean tech to tackle financial crisis

18 June 2012
Influential report says China must collaborate on clean tech to tackle financial crisis

LONDON: Researchers from the highly influential Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and The Climate Group have released a report suggesting China must collaborate internationally and invest in clean technology to tackle the financial crisis.

They say China is currently at the cusp of driving a new global clean industrial revolution that will meet the needs of a growing population sustainably, and improve China’s international standing.

The authors of the report call for closer cooperation between China and the international community to drive the low carbon revolution, which will help tackle the global financial crisis by creating millions of green jobs, as well as curb carbon emissions.

The report, entitled 'Consensus and Cooperation for a Clean Revolution: China and global sustainable development', gives insight into the debate among Chinese policy makers on the country’s future strategy for sustained economic growth, as well as ways to address the country’s current resource, energy and environmental challenges. 

It warns that failure to invest in the low carbon economy risks slowing the pace of growth in China because of, among other factors, a negative international image, a place at the lower end of the global industrial international division and the green trade barrier.

“The report shows that for China, a low carbon future is the only way forward if the country wants to sustain its economic growth and address its current environmental, social and energy security challenges. China is already shaping the world’s economy like no other country and has the power to drive a global clean industrial revolution – but it cannot do it alone. International cooperation is absolutely essential. It will take Chinese and international leadership, vision and grasp of the urgency of action, to ensure a better, cleaner, more prosperous future for all,” said Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group.

“The biggest challenge in China is reconciling rapid economic growth with a structural transition to sustainability. How can we save energy and resources with domestic demand set to rise? China is setting its priorities for the future, finding a dynamic point of balance and is building an efficient, competitive, green and low carbon development path,” said Professor Wang Yi, CAS Deputy Director General, Institute of Policy and Management, CAS Climate Change Research Centre Director, and co-author of the report.

According to the report, the 're-design' of the Chinese economy should have ‘green growth’ at the centre of its strategy which will have multiple benefits including:

  • sustainable growth rates with better, more balanced growth quality and economic structure
  • enhanced energy and resource security with lower dependence on foreign resources
  • higher energy efficiency
  • lower CO2 emissions, reducing future political, economic and environmental risks
  • higher environmental quality and lower levels of pollution
  • improved international standing
  • a fully globalized economy, better placed to attract foreign investors and with access to more overseas markets for the country’s products.

The report suggests that China’s new economy can be accelerated with more investment in innovation and renewable energy, increased funding, and a drastic improvement of its internal carbon market structure.

In their report, the authors also suggest that China’s investment abroad – and especially in resource industries – needs to be more responsible and sustainable. They say that China should play a more active role internationally to boost sustainable trade, establish international investment standards, and introduce social and environmental responsibility into current bilateral and multilateral trade deals.

During their research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The Climate Group conducted a survey of 50 global and Chinese corporate representatives on their views about China’s achievements in sustainable development, and the challenges ahead for the country as it tries to re-design its economy. Participants in the research called for China to show greater leadership given its rapidly expanding international geopolitical and financial clout, and its role a major influencer in international affairs. 

China could take the lead in the transition from a linear society of extraction, consumption, emission, towards a circular society with smarter use and reuse of resources. This will bring the much needed balance in economic, ecological and social impacts and benefits”, says Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs, Philips Lighting. “People will reap these benefits even faster as China’s trade associations, governments and industry leaders jointly embark upon these new opportunities, such as the transformation in their lighting industry.” 

Download the report

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