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CCICED Forum Held to Accelerate Climate Action and Empower Economic Transformation

In early June, Energy Foundation China joined hands with the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and the Institutes of Science and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to host a “Post-Katowice Global Climate Governance” forum on the sidelines of the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED). Xie Zhenhua, CCICED Vice Chair and China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, and ?sa Romson, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Climate and the Environment, the Kingdom of Sweden, co-chaired the forum, which focused on two topics: climate neutrality and climate solutions for China. It featured suggestions and discussions from Chinese and international experts, including Joyce Msuya, UN Environment Acting Executive Director; Scott Vaughan, International Chief Advisor of CCICED; Wang Yi, Vice President of the Institutes of Science and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; He Jiankun, Director of the Academic Committee of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University; Kate Hampton, CEO of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; and Zou Ji, President of Energy Foundation China.

COP24 in Katowice achieved the rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, setting the stage for an array of wide-ranging, balanced, and robust outcomes and in the meantime opening a new phase of climate ambition supported by concrete actions and renewed political momentum. The United Nations Secretary-General’s Summit in September 2019, COP25 and COP26, and the submissions of countries’ updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and long-term strategies in 2020 will shape the future of global climate governance, and require the concerted and urgent actions of the global community. The international community is looking to China to play a “torchbearer” role in combating climate change by a low-carbon transformation of the economy through technological and institutional innovation. For China, the low-carbon transformation of its economy also creates a bounty of opportunities for developing new engines of growth in its new era of development.

At the forum, Minister Xie stated that the global trend of green and low-carbon transformation, as highlighted by the Paris Agreement, was taking hold and unlikely to be reversed, and that this trend was consistent with China’s strategic choice of pursuing high-quality development and building an ecological civilization. “As the world’s largest developing country, China has always regarded sustainable development as a national strategy and actively responded to climate change. As President Xi has repeatedly stressed, China’s efforts at combating climate change is not at others’ request but on its own initiative. Responding to climate change is an inherent requirement for the country’s sustainable development and a solemn obligation for China as a responsible major power,” he said.

Ms. Romson said that the Paris Agreement provided a solid foundation for greatly enhanced cooperation on climate change. She was pleased to see the tremendous leadership role China has taken on globally by sharing Chinese practices, and presenting to everyone the possibilities of future prosperity through low-carbon development and the paths toward realizing such a future.


?sa Romson ,Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Climate and the Environment, the Kingdom of Sweden

Ms. Msuya pointed out that it was a crucial window for action now. “China’s achievements serve as ample proof that the environment can be preserved as long as there is the political will, targeted investments, a broad level of public awareness as well as environmental rule of law and strict enforcement,” she said.


Joyce Msuya, UN Environment Acting Executive Director

Mr. He said that the path toward achieving China’s NDC targets would not be smooth-sailing and required efforts from multiple fronts. “First, on the energy conservation front, there must be an annual decline of 3-3.5% in the energy intensity of GDP. Second, the commitment to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 can only be honored if the country speeds up the development of new energy and renewable energy at the same time,” he said.


He Jiankun, Director of the Academic Committee of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University

Zou Ji pointed out that by stepping up its ambition to climate change, China’s efforts were not only conducive to global economic prosperity, but also to improving the country’s own competitiveness. He suggested that, “firstly, China should expand the specific targets established in the Paris Agreement, meaning that its NDC targets will cover all greenhouse gases in all sectors of the economy. Second, the country should strive to peak its greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible during the 14th Five-Year Plan period. Third, carbon intensity of GDP should be reduced by 70-75% from 2005 levels within the next decade. Fourth, the share of non-fossil energy to overall consumption should be raised to 25% by 2030. Fifth, in 2050, greenhouse gas emissions should fall by 70% from 2005 levels, and carbon neutrality should be reached between 2060 and 2070. Finally, absolute targets of greenhouse gas emissions should be incorporated into the country’s NDC update on top of the original intensity targets.”


Zou Ji, President of Energy Foundation China

Mr. Wang said that the formulation of a target defined by a reduction in absolute total emissions is necessary whether it was to promote economic transformation and energy revolution, or to fulfill the country’s international climate commitments. “China is already in a good position to set total emission targets. The design of such a system should follow three principles, namely, the integration of absolute, intensity targets and structural indicators, the integration of top-down targets and bottom-up local and industry practices, and the integration of administrative and economic means,” he said.


Wang Yi, Vice President of the Institutes of Science and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Ms. Hampton pointed out that in 2020, countries would submit their NDCs and long-term strategies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, and China would also host COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity. She believed that “these occasions provide a unique opportunity for China and other countries that are actively responding to climate change to expand collaborative action in order to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.”


Kate Hampton, CEO of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Photos contained in the article have been provided by CCICED

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