Joint report on green transition delivered in UK

Source:China Daily 2023-03-07

Document outlines suggestions on becoming carbon-neutral economy

As the ongoing two sessions grab attention for legislation that may have a global impact, a leading British economist said he believes that China's transition to a carbon-neutral economy will benefit not only itself, but also contribute to a green and prosperous future for the world.

Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, published a report with experts from China and the United Kingdom ahead of the two sessions on ways the Chinese government may better turn its growth model toward green development.

"When China sets a target, China delivers, and so China probably thinks more carefully than some other countries before setting a target," said Stern, noting President Xi Jinping's announcement in 2020 that China aims to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.

"I think that the carbon neutrality commitment is very serious, as the Chinese leadership has emphasized it many times, so the purpose of the report is to help lay out a road map of how those objectives can be achieved," he said.

Zhu Min, one of the lead authors of the report and vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said the report had been submitted to Chinese authorities and that he expected to see discussions on carbon neutrality during the two sessions, with associated policies to be formulated in the coming years.

The report called for a paradigm shift in policymaking to "incorporate carbon neutrality into China's overall development strategy", including in the design of its financial system, innovation ecosystems, market mechanisms, regulatory and political institutions, diplomatic relations and global engagement.

"Those of us who work on China understand that China is deeply committed to tackling climate change," Stern said. "And it has been thinking very hard about how to do this while recognizing that there is much growth involved in this new paradigm."

Their report, titled "Embracing the New Paradigm of Carbon-neutral Development", said that after starting in Britain, the Industrial Revolution eventually spread across the globe and was the prelude to industrialization and urbanization that transformed agrarian economies into industrial.

It also stated that the global consensus on carbon neutrality will lead to a major turning point for green development, where emission reductions are not necessarily a burden of development, but could be accompanied by more robust and sustainable economic growth.

As China's solar panel, wind turbine and electric vehicle industries have become more competitive on the world market, Stern said it would be good for the future development of technology if there were a few main producers and fair competition.

"I would hope that China, the United States, the European Union and other large nations will participate in public discussions of how to create a new structure of supply chains that can realize economies of scale while also remaining competitive," he said.

Stern also suggested that China could play a significant role in supporting developing countries in charting a new road to zero-carbon growth by making use of its advantages in green technology and financing, and of its own transition experience through the Belt and Road Initiative.

Currently in the middle of its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), Stern said he expected China to release detailed strategies on reaching peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality in the next five-year plan, which covers the period from 2026 to 2030.

Stern called for greater clarity and more explicit targets in future policies.

"I think clarity is good for investment. It also is good for people outside China to understand where China is going and to have confidence in its path," he said.

Editor:Yu Hui

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