China’s ‘latecomer advantage’ in achieving carbon neutrality

This article by Junfeng Li, of China’s National Climate Change Strategy Research and International Cooperation Center, points out that achieving carbon peak / carbon neutrality in China is a broad and profound economic and social systemic change. Achieving carbon peak / carbon neutrality is a broad and profound economic and social systemic change, and must be included in the construction of ecological civilization. It is necessary to coordinate the relationship between improving energy efficiency and the development of non-fossil energy, energy transformation and development transformation, transformation and security, and improve carbon peaking / carbon neutrality.

It provides analysis of progress and future directions for meeting China’s carbon goals for anyone seeking to understand the issues in more detail.

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Steel mill of Dongbei Special Steel in Dalian, Liaoning province, China.

1. Carbon peaks Carbon neutrality is the global political consensus on climate change

  Human understanding of climate change has gone through a long process from scientific cognition to political consensus. In the 1820s, French scientist Joseph Fourier (Joseph Fourier) discovered that the trapping of heat from the sun by gases in the atmosphere causes the greenhouse effect. In 1859, John Tyndall, an Irish physicist, mathematician, chemist, and meteorological scientist, concluded after years of observation and research that water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are the main components for absorbing solar radiation.

  In fact, Tyndall was not the first to discover the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere, but Eunice Foote, a female science enthusiast from the United States. In 1856, she revealed that carbon dioxide and water vapor play a role in the greenhouse effect. It has an important role to predict and predicts that changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide will affect global temperature. However, due to the unequal treatment of women by society at that time, Foote’s research results did not attract attention at the time.

  It is not important who discovered the earth’s greenhouse effect. What is important is that the earth’s greenhouse effect has always existed. Because of the earth’s atmosphere and its greenhouse effect, the earth has various substances such as temperature, moisture, oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc. suitable for the survival and reproduction of human beings and all things, as well as its unique, perfect and fragile ecosystem, making the earth a discovery so far. The only planet that can be suitable for the survival and reproduction of human beings and all things on earth.

  In the middle of the 18th century, with the invention and use of the steam engine, mankind began to move from agricultural civilization to industrial civilization. An important sign of industrial civilization is the massive consumption of fossil energy. In the middle of the 19th century, scientists such as Tyndall found in experiments that changing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can change the strength of the atmospheric greenhouse effect, which in turn leads to changes in the earth’s surface temperature. But the discoveries of these scientists have not attracted serious attention from the international community. It was not until the first Global Conference on Environment and Development in 1972 and the first Global Climate Conference in 1979 that scientists and politicians came together to pay attention to the issue of human sustainable development. From then on, the issue of climate warming and its possible impact on the earth’s ecology The destruction of the system began to enter people’s field of vision.

    In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to study the causes, impacts and countermeasures of climate change. After more than two years of research, the newly established IPCC released its first assessment report in 1990. Its basic conclusion is that since the industrialization of mankind, a large number of fossil energy sources have emitted various greenhouse gases, resulting in an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. , Is the main reason for the continuous increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere in the two hundred years of industrialization. If this trend is not reversed, it will cause irreversible losses to the Earth’s ecosystem on which humans depend. Since then, the IPCC has issued five assessment reports (see Figure 1), which has continuously improved human understanding of climate change. According to the fifth report of the IPCC, since 1950, many changes observed in the climate system are unprecedented in the past decades or even millennia. From 1880 to 2012, the global average surface temperature of land and sea showed a linear upward trend, rising by 0.85. ℃; The average temperature from 2003 to 2012 is 0.78 ℃ higher than the average temperature from 1850 to 1900. The 1.5°C special report released by the IPCC in 2018 pointed out that the temperature increased by about 0.93°C in 2009-2018 compared to pre-industrial period, and 1.04°C in 2014-2018. Figure 2 shows the temperature changes at different observation points around the world. 

Figure 2 The global average temperature anomaly from 1850 to 2019 (relative to the average value from 1850 to 1900). Source: Climate Change Center of China Meteorological Administration (2020).

  At the Second Global Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992, politicians reached the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, hereinafter referred to as the “Convention”), has established the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, fairness and respective capabilities, that is, responding to climate change is a global common responsibility, and all countries in the world should take responsibility based on their development history, level of development and their respective capabilities. Take corresponding responsibilities. A total of 154 countries signed the “Convention” at the General Assembly, and the “Convention” entered into force in 1994. At present, 189 countries have acceded to the Convention. Since then, the parties to the “Convention” have held an annual conference of the parties to discuss the issue of addressing climate change. So far, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention has held 25 sessions. The 26th Conference of the Parties in 2019 was postponed to 2021 due to the new crown pneumonia epidemic.

  The 4th Conference of the Parties was held in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. Based on the scientific understanding of the IPCC’s Emission reduction has reached the famous “Kyoto Protocol”, which stipulates the emission reduction target of developed countries (also known as Annex I countries) by 2020. Although the time when carbon dioxide emissions peak in developed countries varies greatly, the overall reduction goal of developed countries is to reduce emissions by 20% on the basis of 1990 in 2020, and to reduce emissions on the basis of 1990 in 2050. Rank 80%~85%. Developing countries, on the premise of receiving practical and additional financial and technical assistance from developed countries, implement voluntary emission reductions without affecting their own sustainable development. The goal is to control the earth’s temperature rise compared to the initial stage of industrialization. No more than 2 degrees Celsius, which corresponds to the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere not exceeding 450 ppm, and the concentration of carbon dioxide not exceeding 400 ppm. Due to the refusal of the US Congress to sign the Kyoto Protocol, the conditions for entry into force of the “Kyoto Protocol” of “not less than 55 parties to the Convention and at least approved by developed countries that accounted for 55% of the carbon dioxide emissions of industrialized countries in 1990” have not been met until 2004 After Russia ratified, the “Kyoto Protocol” came into effect in 2005. In 2007, the IPCC issued the fourth assessment report, which changed the possibility of “human activities causing climate change” from “possible” and “probable” to “almost certain”. Based on its scientific knowledge, the Convention “The parties negotiated and reached a road map for Bali. 

  On the 5th anniversary of the entry into force of the “Kyoto Protocol” in 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions not only did not decline, but increased significantly from 1990 (IPCC, 2014). Among them, carbon dioxide emissions increased from about 20 billion tons in 1990 to 2010. Of the 31 billion tons of the total, an increase of more than 1/3 (see Figure 3), the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has also exceeded the concentration thresholds of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide recognized by the scientific community, both of which exceed 450ppm and 410ppm. In 2014, the IPCC released the fifth assessment report, which believed that simple emission reduction measures could no longer meet the global requirements for addressing climate change, and carbon neutrality has become a new goal for addressing climate change. After many consultations, countries around the world hope that the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris will reach an agreement on carbon neutrality.

  Major stakeholders around the world, including the G7, the European Union, China and the United States, and China and France have conducted multiple rounds of consultations, and based on the scientific perceptions formed by the fifth IPCC assessment report released in 2014, the 21st session will be held at the end of 2015. The Paris Agreement was reached at the Conference of the Parties (COP21). The most important contribution of the “Paris Agreement” is that it puts forward the political goal of controlling the temperature rise at 2°C and working hard to control it at 1.5°C by the end of this century, compared with the beginning of industrialization, and realizing the second half of this century. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities is balanced with the absorption of nature, that is, climate neutrality (also known as carbon neutrality) as a specific measure to achieve its political goals, requires countries around the world to submit in 2016 to countries to achieve this goal in 2030 Make independent contributions and update it in 2020. In 2020, it will also submit a national low-emission development strategy for the mid-century to meet the global strategic requirements for achieving carbon neutrality in the second half of this century. Regarding the issue of strengthening the response to climate change, in response to the requirements of COP21, the IPCC issued the “Special Report on Global Control of Warming by 1.5°C” in 2018, which put forward the urgency of controlling temperature rise and increasing emissions reduction, and promoted countries around the world to increase their independence. The strength of the contribution and the process of carbon neutrality.

  The “Convention” reached globally in 1992, the “Kyoto Protocol” reached in 1997 and the “Paris Agreement” reached in 2015 are all legally binding documents for the global response to climate change. Its purpose is to regulate the order of global development and protection, and put development in the cage of ecological protection. These three documents are the embodiment of the continuous deepening of mankind’s understanding of climate change from scientific understanding to political consensus, and then to specific actions. Carbon peaking is the phased goal of the global response to climate change, and carbon neutrality is the ultimate goal of responding to climate change.

  These documents, like the Charter of the United Nations and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, are the legal basis for regulating the world order. The Charter of the United Nations is a legal document that regulates the world political order. Its basic principle is that all countries, big or small, are equal and respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The “General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade” was renamed “World Trade Organization”, but its basic purpose has not changed. It is a legal document that regulates the world economy and trade order. It believes that the market economy and intellectual property protection are the maintenance of today’s world economic and trade order. Basic system. In short, as the Charter of the United Nations regulates the world political order and the WTO regulates the world economic and trade order, the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement regulate the order of global development and environmental protection, that is, through the control of greenhouses. Gas emissions, the global realization of carbon neutrality, to achieve the goal of putting development in the cage of ecological environment protection, its essence is to promote the global development of low-emissions. Therefore, their legal status in safeguarding global development and protection should also be respected. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out: “The Paris Agreement to address climate change represents the general direction of the global green and low-carbon transition. It is the minimum action that needs to be taken to protect the earth’s homeland. Countries must take decisive steps.” 

2. The essence of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality is a development transformation that bids farewell to resource dependence

  In his speech at the 75th UN General Assembly, President Xi Jinping once pointed out: “Humankind needs a self-revolution to accelerate the formation of green development methods and lifestyles, and build an ecological civilization and a beautiful earth.” “Mankind can no longer ignore the warnings of nature again and again. Follow the old path of asking for money but not investment, development but not protection, and utilization but not restoration.” 

  In fact, during the development of various civilizations, human beings are constantly reflecting on the development mode. The unity of nature and man and Taoism advocated by the sages in the history of our country are naturally reflections on the development mode. Beijing Xiannongtan The establishment of and the various sacrificial activities held are a manifestation of our people’s awe of nature in the era of agricultural civilization. Mankind’s reflection on modern industrial civilization began with the “London Fog” and other industrial pollution incidents in the 1950s. His representative works are Ms. Carlson’s “Silent Spring” and the Club of Rome’s “The Limits of Growth”. The former reflects human concerns about environmental pollution, and the latter reflects human concerns about resource-dependent development methods.

  From the first Environmental Development Conference in 1972 to the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris in 2015 for more than 40 years, mankind’s understanding of sustainable development has been deepened and began to solve the environmental problems faced by mankind, including 1987. The United Nations “Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer” reached in 1992, the United Nations “Agenda 21” and the “United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity” reached in 1992, the “United Nations Convention on Desertification” reached in 1994 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals reached in 2015. Phased results. However, the scope of these contents is limited, and none of them has as far-reaching impact as the “Convention” on climate change. In particular, the “Paris Agreement” puts forward the goal of “achieving a balance between anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gas sources and removal of carbon sinks in the second half of this century” (ie carbon neutrality), which has promoted the systemic global economy and society. change.

  Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), etc., of which carbon dioxide accounts for 80% about. Although the composition of carbon dioxide is quite different in different countries and different economic systems, its sources can be divided into fossil energy combustion and carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes. Globally, coal energy consumption accounts for about 27%, oil and natural gas account for 65%, and non-fossil energy sources account for about 19% (IEA, 2020). However, coal combustion emissions account for more than 60% of the world’s carbon dioxide. About 40%. my country’s energy structure is dominated by coal. Of the carbon dioxide emitted from fossil energy combustion, coal accounts for about 80%, and oil and gas only accounts for 20%. According to the industry, it can be divided into the direct combustion of fossil energy carbon emissions from the power generation sector, the industrial sector, the transportation sector, and the construction sector, as well as the carbon emissions from some industrial processes. The proportions of the five aspects are also different in different countries. As far as my country is concerned, the composition of power generation, industry, construction, transportation and other emissions is roughly 40%, 37%, 10%, 10% and 3% ( Project synthesis report writing group, 2020). Due to the differences in economic structure and energy system between the EU and the United States, the carbon emissions of power generation and industry account for a lower proportion, while the carbon emissions of transportation and buildings account for a higher proportion (Li Junfeng et al., 2021).

  The goal of carbon neutrality requires human beings to transform from a development mode supported by fossil energy to a development mode supported by non-fossil energy. It not only realizes the decoupling of development from fossil energy and its carbon dioxide emissions, but also decouples from various mineral resources and realizes the development of various resources. Recycling. Therefore, achieving carbon neutrality requires not only the realization of a green and low-carbon transformation of the growth mode, energy system and lifestyle, but also the cyclical development of the economy and industry, from resource dependence to technology dependence, thereby reducing the damage of human activities to nature. To the lowest.

  This resource-dependent development method is fundamentally different from the development of technological support. First, the increase in the cost of resource-dependent development and the decrease in the cost of technology-dependent development are inevitable. Because the resources on which development depends, as the scale of development continues to expand, the supply of resources will become tight, scarce, or even exhausted, leading to rising resource prices and increasing development costs. The technology-dependent development method, because technology is constantly progressing, and progress is accumulated and superimposed, technology will never regress, so as the scale of development expands, the cost of technology will continue to drop. The second is whether there are resources or not. It has nothing to do with effort and cannot be copied, while technology can be learned and copied. The resources on which the resource-dependent development relies have significant regional characteristics, which are inherently unchangeable. There is no distinction between the technologies that the technology-dependent development method relies on, only the advanced and the backward, and the backward technology will continue to progress as long as we work hard, changing from backward to advanced, even if it is advanced technology, it will not continue. Efforts will also become backward technology. Third, the cost of security guarantee for resource supply is extremely high. With continuous development and utilization, resources will gradually become scarce or even exhausted, and their security supply will become very complicated, and supply disputes, competitions, and even wars may occur. Countries around the world pay high costs to maintain the security of resource supply. Technological progress can be learned and copied. Although there are also technical security issues, it is generally controllable and predictable, and the cost of maintaining technical security is much smaller. Therefore, the resource-dependent development method is unsustainable and cannot be copied, and the technology-dependent development method is sustainable and reproducible.

3. The process of carbon neutrality has become an arena for the world’s green and low-carbon transition

  Countries around the world are taking decisive steps to address the issue of carbon neutrality. In December 2019, the European Union announced the “Green Agreement”, announcing that it will achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and formally submit a long-term greenhouse gas low-emission strategy to the United Nations in March 2020; China announced its carbon neutral target in September 2020; Japan and South Korea announced its carbon neutral target in October 2020; the new US President Biden announced his return to the Paris Agreement immediately after he took office and signed an executive order within a week Announced that the United States will achieve net zero emissions for the entire economy no later than 2050, plus the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, etc., which have previously declared carbon neutrality, the world’s major economies (accounting for approximately 75% of global GDP) ) Has announced that it will move towards carbon neutrality, and mankind has begun to enter a new era of low-emission development. For this new era, some people call it the fourth industrial revolution, while others call it a new era in which mankind has moved from industrial civilization to sustainable development, or a new era in ecological civilization. The title is irrelevant. Everyone is doing the same thing, which is to realize the low-emission development transition from resource dependence to technology dependence.

  In this process of transformation, the EU has always been at the forefront of the world. As early as the first World Conference on Environment and Development in 1972, Norwegian Prime Minister Brundtland put forward the view that mankind has only one earth, and transformed the development and transformation of getting rid of resource dependence and moving towards technology dependence as the moral commanding heights of protecting the earth’s homeland. Continuously research and develop technology to achieve development and transformation. Driven by the oil crisis in 1973, the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions initially reached a peak. Although there have been repetitions in the future, the overall emission level has entered a plateau. The 1992 “Convention”, especially the “Kyoto Protocol” reached and entered into force, accelerated the process of EU development and transformation. In 1997, the European Union put forward the vision of an energy revolution in which renewable energy consumption accounted for 50% by 2050 (EU, 2017). By the end of 2019, the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 23% compared with 1990, and the mission requirements of the Kyoto Protocol have been fulfilled ahead of schedule and exceeded. In September 2020, the EU updated its independent contribution target, which is to increase the emission reduction by 40% by 2030 to no less than 55% compared with 1990.

  If the global international cooperation in tackling climate change is likened to the process of love and marriage, the United States is an enthusiast of “love” and an escaper of “marriage.” In the process of promoting the “Convention” and the “Kyoto Protocol”, the United States has played a leading and leading role in it. However, when implementing the legally binding “Kyoto Protocol”, the United States had its first “escaping marriage” and refused to sign. . After pushing for the conclusion and entry into force of the “Paris Agreement,” the United States once again chose “fleeing marriage.” Although the wording of the two changes is different, the essence is that they are unwilling to fulfill the international obligations that have no emission binding force on the major emitters (also known as emerging powers). The first withdrawal of the United States promoted the emission reduction commitments of the four basic countries including China, India, Brazil and South Africa, as well as the “Paris Agreement” and the process of carbon neutrality. People will wait and see what requirements the Biden administration of the United States will make on emerging powers when it returns to the Paris Agreement.

  However, it is worth noting that no matter how the US government chooses, whether it is the positive actions of the Clinton and Obama administrations, or the negativity of the Bush and Trump eras, the US economic system is still advancing on the trajectory of low-emission development. During the Bush era, US carbon dioxide emissions reached a peak. During the eight years of Obama’s administration, US carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 11.1%. Due to Trump’s negativity, the US reduced emissions by only 14.4% in 2019 compared to 2005, which is in contrast to the promised 2020. There is still a gap between the 17% reduction target in 2005 (but due to the new crown pneumonia epidemic, carbon emissions in 2020 will be significantly reduced by 11%, and a reduction of 23.8% compared to 2005), as shown in Figure 4. The proportion of coal consumption that Trump claims to support dropped from 23.6% in 2005 to 11.9%, a decrease of 11.7%. Coal-fired power generation decreased from 2.18 trillion kilowatt-hours to 1.05 trillion kilowatt-hours, a reduction of more than 50%. Even during the four years of Trump’s administration, coal consumption and coal-fired power generation fell by 27% and respectively. 28%.

  As the world has reached a consensus on actively responding to climate change and achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emission sources and carbon sinks, sooner or later, countries will embark on the road of low carbon emissions. 191 countries, more than 10,000 cities, and more than 5,000 companies around the world have joined the “United Nations Climate Ambition Alliance: Net Zero 2050” campaign initiated by the United Nations, becoming a pioneer in global carbon neutrality. Driven by these leaders, a competition aimed at carbon neutrality has kicked off. This competition will promote green and low-carbon transformation and sustainable development on a global scale, which is embodied in the following aspects.

  One is the transformation of the energy system. The main source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning of fossil energy, so the key to achieving carbon neutrality is the transformation of the energy system. The first is to continuously optimize the energy structure, reduce the consumption of fossil energy such as coal and oil, and finally realize the replacement of fossil energy by non-fossil energy (or renewable energy). As the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of calorific value of coal are 1.5 times and 2 times that of oil and natural gas, respectively, reducing coal consumption is the first choice of all countries in the world in terms of optimizing the energy structure. The general path is: first, phase out coal power generation with the highest carbon emissions per kilowatt-hour, and then achieve net zero emissions of electricity; secondly, strive to expand the proportion of electricity in the end-use energy, and use it in industrial systems, transportation systems, and building systems. It is possible to realize the substitution of electricity for fossil energy combustion; finally, those processes, equipment and services that cannot be replaced by electricity for the time being are said to be difficult to replace with electricity, consider the use of hydrogen process technology instead, such as the development of hydrogen metallurgical substitution Coke metallurgy, replacing traditional fossil fuels with hydrogen or hydrogen synthetic fuels in the aviation field.

Alternative technologies in the field of power generation have been very mature, that is, replacing fossil energy power generation with non-fossil energy power generation. In particular, the cost of replacing fossil energy power generation with renewable energy power generation is declining. According to the estimates of the International Energy Agency, it will be possible by 2025. Renewable energy power generation, especially photovoltaic power generation, may become the world’s lowest cost power source.

  The second is the reform of development mode. The future carbon neutral goal will bring about global industrial changes, and companies have only two choices: one is to actively respond and lead the process of carbon neutrality; the other is to respond passively and be forced to accept the process of carbon neutrality. For example, Apple and Volkswagen are both leading companies. The former is a representative of new economy Internet companies, and the latter is a representative of traditional industries. After the mobile phone industry defeated Nokia to occupy the commanding heights of the industry, Apple made the decision to achieve carbon neutrality in 2030. They must achieve carbon neutrality in every aspect of the production process, including the requirement to provide parts and integration for it. The upstream companies in the service supply chain are all carbon neutral. After the German government proposed carbon neutrality, Volkswagen also formulated a roadmap and timetable for achieving carbon neutrality in 2050, requiring companies that provide it with steel plates, tires and decorative materials to also formulate carbon neutral plans. Apple and Volkswagen’s approach is to smash a carbon-neutral, hard bone, into tiny particles, that is, to turn big difficulties into countless small ones, and use the power of everyone to use “ant gnawing bones”. “To solve the problem.

  The third is the technological system reform. The carbon neutrality strategy of all countries regards technology as the core pillar, which is also the high ground for global technology competition in the future. For example, many countries in the European Union have formulated roadmaps and timetables for near-zero emissions in the power system and the withdrawal of fuel-burning vehicles. The Biden administration of the United States also proposed the vision of achieving near-zero emissions in the power system by 2035. China has also proposed building new energy sources. The main body’s new generation power system. In general, the new generation of carbon-neutral technologies are characterized by zero-carbon, digitization, and intelligence, including renewable energy power generation, energy storage, and new-generation power system technologies; power alternative technologies in the fields of industry, construction, and transportation, Such as electric furnace steelmaking, electric vehicles, high-efficiency electric heating, etc.; for areas where it is difficult to replace fossil energy with electricity, hydrogen energy technology will also be developed, such as hydrogen reduction metallurgy technology, hydrogen fuel or hydrogen synthesis fuel aviation, etc.; industrial process emissions The carbon dioxide needs to be resolved by changing the production process, recycling and other methods.

4. Carbon reaches its peak. Carbon neutrality is an important goal for my country’s high-quality development in the new era

  China implements a national strategy to actively respond to climate change, insists on promoting green development and low-carbon transformation, and regards climate change as a responsibility to promote the building of a global community with a shared future for mankind and an inherent requirement for sustainable development.

  At present, China has become an important force in promoting the process of global climate governance and a participant, contributor and leader in the global response to climate change. Especially in the process of the formation of the “Paris Agreement”, the heads of state of China and the United States issued five consecutive joint declarations. The basic principles and framework established for the “Paris Agreement” played a key role in its conclusion, signing and entry into force. Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated on multiple occasions that China has made important, fundamental and historic contributions to the global response to climate change. Without China’s efforts, there would be no “Paris Agreement.” After the Trump administration of the United States announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in 2017, China immediately announced that it would continue to fully implement the Paris Agreement, fully fulfill its commitment to independent contributions, and vigorously promote global cooperation in addressing climate change. , Stabilizing the global response to climate change. In 2020, China announced earlier to increase the intensity of its national independent contribution and achieve the national goal of carbon neutrality, making an important contribution to promoting global carbon neutrality.

  General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized that to deal with climate change, it is not for others to ask us to do it, but for us to do it ourselves. China promulgated the National Action Plan to Address Climate Change as early as 2007; it was announced in 2009 that by 2020, the carbon emission intensity will be reduced by 40% to 45% compared to 2005, and the proportion of non-fossil energy in energy consumption will increase to 20 It was announced in 2015 that carbon dioxide emissions will peak around 2030 and reach the peak as soon as possible. In 2030, the carbon intensity will drop by 60%-65% from 2005, and the proportion of non-fossil energy will increase to about 20%. After hard work, China’s carbon emission intensity in 2020 has dropped by 48.4% compared with 2005, and it has exceeded its voluntary emission reduction targets ahead of schedule, making an important contribution to the global control of greenhouse gas emissions.

  On September 22, 2020, after General Secretary Xi Jinping announced new goals for addressing climate change, such as carbon peaks and carbon neutrality, he explained the new goals on many occasions at home and abroad, aiming to achieve the new goals and transform the development mode. , Lifestyle and energy green and low-carbon transformation. In October 2020, at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the central government made plans for the medium and long-term work to achieve the carbon peak and carbon neutral goal, and proposed to formulate a carbon peak action plan to achieve carbon dioxide emissions by 2035. The country’s stability and decline, and the requirement to include the carbon peak and carbon neutral target in the “Outline of the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the 2035 Vision Goal.”

  The Central Economic Work Conference, held on December 16-18, 2020, made specific arrangements for carbon peak and carbon neutral work, requiring my country’s carbon dioxide emissions to reach the peak by 2030, and strive to achieve carbon by 2060. neutralize. We must promptly formulate an action plan for peaking carbon emissions by 2030, and support places where conditions permit to reach the peak first. It is necessary to speed up the adjustment and optimization of the industrial structure and energy structure, promote coal consumption to reach its peak as soon as possible, vigorously develop new energy, accelerate the construction of a national energy consumption and carbon emission rights trading market, and improve the dual control system of energy consumption. We must continue to fight the tough battle of pollution prevention and control, and realize the synergistic effect of pollution reduction and carbon reduction. It is necessary to carry out large-scale greening of the country to enhance the carbon sink capacity of the ecosystem.

  On March 15, 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping hosted a meeting of the Central Finance and Economics Leading Group, and once again clarified that the carbon peak carbon neutral goal is a major strategic decision made by the Party Central Committee after careful consideration, and it is related to the sustainable development of the Chinese nation and the destiny of mankind. Community: It is proposed to incorporate carbon peak carbon neutrality into the overall layout of ecological civilization construction, and show the strength to grasp iron, so as to achieve the goal of carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2060 on schedule.

  The central government’s deployment of carbon peak and carbon neutrality is in line with China’s national conditions and reflects China’s firm determination and responsibility to tackle climate change. Since my country adopted the dual control of total energy consumption and intensity during the “Eleventh Five-Year Plan” period, the quality of economic development has been continuously improved, the increase in energy consumption has been decreasing year by year, and the energy intensity and carbon intensity have been declining. This has promoted my country’s coal consumption and carbon dioxide in 2013. The emission peaked for the first time, followed by a gratifying situation of continuous decline in coal consumption and zero growth in carbon dioxide emissions for three consecutive years. Although after 2017, there has been a phenomenon of “random paving and chaotic projects”, leading to rapid growth of carbon dioxide emissions for three consecutive years, but until 2020, coal consumption is still below the level of 2013, and the rapid growth of carbon dioxide emissions has gained momentum. Effective containment. Achieve ahead of schedule the goals of carbon emission intensity and the proportion of non-fossil energy sources set forth in the Nationally Determined Contribution Commitment. my country is fully capable of achieving the peak of carbon dioxide emissions and coal consumption as soon as possible before 2030.

  The “14th Five-Year Plan” period is not only the first year for my country to enter the new journey of building a socialist modern country in an all-round way, but also the first year for achieving the goal of carbon peak and carbon neutrality. All aspects must deeply understand and implement carbon peak and carbon neutrality. And the importance of work deployment. As far as carbon peaks are concerned, the eastern developed regions should strive to be the first models to reach the peaks, and the central and western regions should also strive to reach the peaks as soon as possible. The industrial sector strives to reach the peak during the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, and the construction and transportation sectors must also strive to achieve the peak as soon as possible. When attending the climate leaders summit organized by President Biden of the United States on April 22, 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping proposed that China’s strict control of coal consumption growth during the 14th Five-Year Plan period and a gradual decrease during the 15th Five-Year Plan period mean that the main Industries and sectors that rely on coal consumption, such as steel, cement, and coal-fired power generation, have to consider and also take the lead in achieving the peak of carbon dioxide emissions during this period. After coal peaks, the next energy product to peak is petroleum consumption. Once petroleum consumption peaks, the petrochemical and automotive industries that rely on petroleum consumption to develop must also consider peaking before 2030. Therefore, Dafeng is a kind of forced development and transformation, and all walks of life must deploy and start Dafeng work as soon as possible.

  As far as carbon neutrality is concerned, although it is a goal that needs to be achieved in 2060, it must be considered in the long term and deployed as soon as possible. The first is to achieve carbon neutrality in an orderly manner in regions, and regions that have reached the peak and achieved stability and decline should formulate a timetable and roadmap for carbon neutrality as soon as possible. If the country is to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, some developed provinces and cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, etc., need to be carbon neutral before 2050 or even 2040. The second is to take the lead in deploying carbon-neutral technologies, the key to which is the net zero emissions of electricity. From now on, the power industry will coordinate the two tasks of carbon peaking and carbon neutralization, and formulate a timetable and roadmap for carbon neutralization in the power industry. The carbon peaking and carbon neutralization of the transportation industry requires electric vehicles to replace fuel vehicles. Therefore, The transportation department should also formulate a timetable and road map for the gradual withdrawal of fuel vehicles.

  As far as achieving the goal of carbon peak and carbon neutrality is concerned, it is not only necessary to accelerate the adjustment of industrial structure, energy structure, and the development of new energy sources, but also to adjust various policies and mechanisms to eliminate various obstacles and obstacles that hinder carbon peak and carbon neutrality. . Continue to fight the tough battle of pollution prevention and control, and realize the synergistic effect of pollution reduction and carbon reduction. It is necessary to carry out large-scale greening of the country to enhance the carbon sink capacity of the ecosystem. It also requires the whole society to change the concept of development and widely form a green production and lifestyle. After the peak carbon emissions are steadily reduced, the ecological environment is fundamentally improved, and the goal of building a beautiful China has basically been achieved. In short, doing a good job in carbon peak and carbon neutrality is the basic requirement for my country’s high-quality development, and it is also the minimum action that needs to be taken to protect the earth’s homeland. All walks of life must take action to welcome and enter a new era of low-emission development.

5. Some suggestions on doing a good job in carbon peak and carbon neutralization

  Achieving carbon peaks and carbon neutrality is a broad and profound economic and social systemic change, which requires the mobilization of the whole society and their respective advantages to make contributions.

(1) We must fully understand the necessity and urgency of doing a good job in carbon peaking and carbon neutralization

  It is self-evident to do a good job in carbon peak and carbon neutrality. First of all, it is an objective need for my country to fulfill the international obligations of the Paris Agreement, and it is also an objective need for promoting the country’s green and low-carbon transition. General Secretary Xi Jinping said that all countries in the world must take decisive steps, including China itself. In the past, there was a phenomenon of “two skins” in the work of tackling climate change: external negotiations strive to obtain emission rights, and internal efforts to reduce emissions. To fulfill the international obligations and responsibilities of the Paris Agreement, we must first solve the problem of “two skins” and emphasize emission reduction both internally and externally. There is a sense of urgency that we sometimes do not wait to do a good job in carbon neutralization. my country announced that the carbon peak was in 2014. More than 6 years have passed. During this period, many places lacked a sense of urgency, especially the United States announced. After withdrawing from the “Paris Agreement”, some people have expressed the idea of ​​”Americans have given up, why do we still insist on”. They have relaxed the control and management of greenhouse gas emissions, which has led to a strong rebound in carbon dioxide emissions in the past four years. To a certain extent, the opportunity was missed. Now that the central government requires a good carbon peak and carbon neutrality work, it is to force the country to accelerate the pace of development and transformation, and realize the overall promotion of high-quality development and high-level protection on the basis of effective control of greenhouse gas emissions.

(2) It is necessary to adhere to the combination of high-quality development and high-level protection to prevent the carbon peaking action from becoming a new competition for the growth of carbon dioxide emissions

 

  After the central government put forward the goal of carbon peak and carbon neutrality, many places and enterprises have various doubts and ideas in their thinking. It is generally believed that most developed countries, especially EU countries, began to peak carbon dioxide emissions in the 1970s. This is a natural process of hindsight. However, my country’s peaking target is a man-made timetable. In the latter part of the “Three Five-Year Plan” period, especially from 2017 to 2019, in order to stabilize growth, various localities increased investment and expanded infrastructure construction, resulting in a strong rebound in my country’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Under such circumstances, a considerable number of people think that it is too difficult for us to achieve carbon neutrality, and it will even affect economic development. There have also been speculative momentum in some places and companies that first “stroke up” and then reached their peak. After the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, in order to stimulate economic recovery, some areas have arranged a large number of coal-fired power and heavy chemical projects. During the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, these projects will be actively implemented, which will lead to the peak of the country in some areas. The action plan has become a new competition for assault “touching high”. According to preliminary estimates, once these projects are put into operation, the new fossil energy consumption will exceed 1.2 billion tons of standard coal, and the increase in carbon dioxide emissions will exceed 2 billion tons. This will bring an unprecedented rebound in total energy consumption and total carbon dioxide emissions. The total emissions exceeded 12 billion tons. Strong measures must be taken to prevent the peaking action from becoming a “touch-high” and sprint for emission levels, especially to prevent some provinces that have already peaked or are close to peaking, and carbon dioxide emissions will rebound significantly. We must not only strive to achieve the peak as soon as possible, but also strive to achieve the peak under the premise of low-emission development, and lay a solid foundation for achieving a steady decline in 2035 and carbon neutrality by 2060.

(3) It is necessary to realize that all the conditions for my country’s carbon peak are basically met, and we are fully capable of achieving a carbon peak with a lower peak.

Countries around the world are taking decisive steps to address the issue of carbon neutrality. In December 2019, the European Union announced the “Green Agreement”, announcing that it will achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and formally submit a long-term greenhouse gas low-emission strategy to the United Nations in March 2020;

China announced its carbon neutral target in September 2020; Japan and South Korea announced its carbon neutral target in October 2020; The new US President Biden announced his return to the Paris Agreement immediately after he took office and signed an executive order within a week; Announced that the United States will achieve net zero emissions for the entire economy no later than 2050, plus the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, etc., which have previously declared carbon neutrality, the world’s major economies (accounting for approximately 75% of global GDP) has announced that it will move towards carbon neutrality, and mankind has begun to enter a new era of low-emission development. For this new era, some people call it the fourth industrial revolution, while others call it a new era in which mankind has moved from industrial civilization to sustainable development, or a new era in ecological civilization. The title is irrelevant. Everyone is doing the same thing, which is to realize the low-emission development transition from resource dependence to technology dependence.   

In this process of transformation, the EU has always been at the forefront of the world. As early as the first World Conference on Environment and Development in 1972, Norwegian Prime Minister Brundtland put forward the view that mankind has only one earth, and transformed the development and transformation of getting rid of resource dependence and moving towards technology dependence as the moral commanding heights of protecting the earth’s homeland. Continuously research and develop technology to achieve development and transformation. Driven by the oil crisis in 1973, the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions initially reached a peak.

Although there have been repetitions in the future, the overall emission level has entered a plateau. The 1992 “Convention”, especially the “Kyoto Protocol” reached and entered into force, accelerated the process of EU development and transformation. In 1997, the European Union put forward the vision of an energy revolution in which renewable energy consumption accounted for 50% by 2050 (EU, 2017). 

By the end of 2019, the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 23% compared with 1990, and the mission requirements of the Kyoto Protocol have been fulfilled ahead of schedule and exceeded. In September 2020, the EU updated its independent contribution target, which is to increase the emission reduction by 40% by 2030 to no less than 55% compared with 1990.   If the global international cooperation in tackling climate change is likened to the process of love and marriage, the United States is an enthusiast of “love” and an escaper of “marriage.” In the process of promoting the “Convention” and the “Kyoto Protocol”, the United States has played a leading and leading role in it.

However, when implementing the legally binding “Kyoto Protocol”, the United States had its first “escaping marriage” and refused to sign. . After pushing for the conclusion and entry into force of the “Paris Agreement,” the United States once again chose “fleeing marriage.” Although the wording of the two changes is different, the essence is that they are unwilling to fulfill the international obligations that have no emission binding force on the major emitters (also known as emerging powers). 

The first withdrawal of the United States promoted the emission reduction commitments of the four basic countries including China, India, Brazil and South Africa, as well as the “Paris Agreement” and the process of carbon neutrality. People will wait and see what requirements the Biden administration of the United States will make on emerging powers when it returns to the Paris Agreement.   However, it is worth noting that no matter how the US government chooses, whether it is the positive actions of the Clinton and Obama administrations, or the negativity of the Bush and Trump eras, the US economic system is still advancing on the trajectory of low-emission development. 

During the Bush era, US carbon dioxide emissions reached a peak. During the eight years of Obama’s administration, US carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 11.1%. Due to Trump’s negativity, the US reduced emissions by only 14.4% in 2019 compared to 2005, which is in contrast to the promised 2020. There is still a gap between the 17% reduction target in 2005 (but due to the new crown pneumonia epidemic, carbon emissions in 2020 will be significantly reduced by 11%, and a reduction of 23.8% compared to 2005), as shown in Figure 4. 

The proportion of coal consumption that Trump claims to support dropped from 23.6% in 2005 to 11.9%, a decrease of 11.7%. Coal-fired power generation decreased from 2.18 trillion kilowatt-hours to 1.05 trillion kilowatt-hours, a reduction of more than 50%. Even during the four years of Trump’s administration, coal consumption and coal-fired power generation fell by 27% and respectively. 28%.   

As the world has reached a consensus on actively responding to climate change and achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emission sources and carbon sinks, sooner or later, countries will embark on the road of low carbon emissions. 191 countries, more than 10,000 cities, and more than 5,000 companies around the world have joined the “United Nations Climate Ambition Alliance: Net Zero 2050” campaign initiated by the United Nations, becoming a pioneer in global carbon neutrality. Driven by these leaders, a competition aimed at carbon neutrality has kicked off. This competition will promote green and low-carbon transformation and sustainable development on a global scale, which is embodied in the following aspects. 

Figure 4 Energy-related CO2 emissions in the United States from 1975 to 2020Source: Energy Information Administration, April 2021 Monthly Energy Review.

  One is the transformation of the energy system. The main source of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning of fossil energy, so the key to achieving carbon neutrality is the transformation of the energy system. The first is to continuously optimize the energy structure, reduce the consumption of fossil energy such as coal and oil, and finally realize the replacement of fossil energy by non-fossil energy (or renewable energy). As the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of calorific value of coal are 1.5 times and 2 times that of oil and natural gas, respectively, reducing coal consumption is the first choice of all countries in the world in terms of optimizing the energy structure. The general path is: first, phase out coal power generation with the highest carbon emissions per kilowatt-hour, and then achieve net zero emissions of electricity; secondly, strive to expand the proportion of electricity in the end-use energy, and use it in industrial systems, transportation systems, and building systems. It is possible to realize the substitution of electricity for fossil energy combustion; finally, those processes, equipment and services that cannot be replaced by electricity for the time being are said to be difficult to replace with electricity, consider the use of hydrogen process technology instead, such as the development of hydrogen metallurgical substitution Coke metallurgy, replacing traditional fossil fuels with hydrogen or hydrogen synthetic fuels in the aviation field.Alternative technologies in the field of power generation have been very mature, that is, replacing fossil energy power generation with non-fossil energy power generation. In particular, the cost of replacing fossil energy power generation with renewable energy power generation is declining. According to the estimates of the International Energy Agency, it will be possible by 2025. Renewable energy power generation, especially photovoltaic power generation, may become the world’s lowest cost power source.   

The second is the reform of development mode. The future carbon neutral goal will bring about global industrial changes, and companies have only two choices: one is to actively respond and lead the process of carbon neutrality; the other is to respond passively and be forced to accept the process of carbon neutrality. For example, Apple and Volkswagen are both leading companies. The former is a representative of new economy Internet companies, and the latter is a representative of traditional industries. After the mobile phone industry defeated Nokia to occupy the commanding heights of the industry, Apple made the decision to achieve carbon neutrality in 2030. They must achieve carbon neutrality in every aspect of the production process, including the requirement to provide parts and integration for it. The upstream companies in the service supply chain are all carbon neutral. After the German government proposed carbon neutrality, Volkswagen also formulated a roadmap and timetable for achieving carbon neutrality in 2050, requiring companies that provide it with steel plates, tires and decorative materials to also formulate carbon neutral plans. Apple and Volkswagen’s approach is to smash a carbon-neutral, hard bone, into tiny particles, that is, to turn big difficulties into countless small ones, and use the power of everyone to use “ant gnawing bones”. “To solve the problem.   

The third is the technological system reform. The carbon neutrality strategy of all countries regards technology as the core pillar, which is also the high ground for global technology competition in the future. For example, many countries in the European Union have formulated roadmaps and timetables for near-zero emissions in the power system and the withdrawal of fuel-burning vehicles. The Biden administration of the United States also proposed the vision of achieving near-zero emissions in the power system by 2035. China has also proposed building new energy sources. The main body’s new generation power system. In general, the new generation of carbon-neutral technologies are characterized by zero-carbon, digitization, and intelligence, including renewable energy power generation, energy storage, and new-generation power system technologies; power alternative technologies in the fields of industry, construction, and transportation, Such as electric furnace steelmaking, electric vehicles, high-efficiency electric heating, etc.; for areas where it is difficult to replace fossil energy with electricity, hydrogen energy technology will also be developed, such as hydrogen reduction metallurgy technology, hydrogen fuel or hydrogen synthesis fuel aviation, etc.; industrial process emissions The carbon dioxide needs to be resolved by changing the production process, recycling and other methods. 

(4) To correctly understand my country’s international competitiveness on the issue of carbon neutrality, as long as we stick to the direction of carbon neutrality, it will be possible to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

  Although my country’s total carbon dioxide emissions are the largest in the world, it is very difficult to achieve carbon neutrality, but compared with developed countries, it also has its own late-comer advantages. First, under the premise of lower per capita emissions, my country has proposed The goal of carbon neutrality. The current per capita emissions in the United States exceed 14 tons, which is twice that of my country; Japan and Germany proposed carbon neutrality in 2020. The per capita emissions are 10 tons and 8 tons respectively, which are both higher than my country’s per capita emissions level. If my country achieves At a lower peak level, this late-mover advantage is even more obvious. Second, my country’s non-fossil energy, especially renewable energy, has significantly reduced the cost and has become more competitive. For example, the unit cost of photovoltaics has been reduced by more than 80% compared to 2010, and the conditions for parity grid access are already available in most areas. my country has also maintained the advantage of being the world’s number one electric vehicle. Developed countries have achieved carbon peaks earlier, but the transition costs are relatively high. my country will enjoy lower-cost new energy technologies and empirical methods in the process of achieving carbon peaks and carbon neutrality, and will have late-comer advantages. my country has proposed that the total installed capacity of wind power and solar power will reach 1.2 billion kilowatts by 2030. Adhering to this construction speed, my country’s total non-fossil fuel will be close to 4 billion tons by 2050, and my country’s energy consumption will be 5 billion by then. Calculated by coal, the proportion of non-fossil energy can be increased to about 80%, and the possibility of achieving carbon neutrality in 2060 is extremely high.

(5) To establish the confidence that can be changed, the determination to change continuously, and the perseverance of dripping water and stone

  Historical experience has repeatedly proved our country’s courage and ability to overcome difficulties. In 2013, when the Party Central Committee and the State Council made the decision and deployment to win the battle to defend the blue sky, the rhetoric of “scraping bones to cure drugs” and “strong men breaking the wrist” was used everywhere, but after more than 7 years, there is no region. Which sector or industry has “scratched” or “broken its wrist” because of winning the battle to defend the blue sky. Compared with 2013, the output of steel, petrochemical and non-ferrous metallurgy will increase significantly in 2020, and the national PM2. 5 The level has dropped by 50%, and the average growth rate of GDP in the past 7 years has achieved a high level of growth of more than 6%. It is necessary to fully understand that carbon peaks and carbon neutrality is a forceful mechanism to promote the transformation of my country’s high-quality development. As long as we make up our minds and implement scientific and precise policies, we can achieve effective control of carbon dioxide emissions under high-quality development and high-level protection.

(6) Coordinate carbon peaks and carbon neutrality, and do a good job in the start of the “14th Five-Year Plan”

  The Central Economic Work Conference and the Central Finance and Economics Leading Group Meeting put forward clear requirements for achieving carbon peaks and carbon neutrality. The key lies in how to implement them. During the “10th Five-Year Plan”, “Eleventh Five-Year Plan”, “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” and “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan” period, my country’s energy consumption increased by 1.14 billion tons, 970 million tons, 740 million tons, and 560 million tons of standard coal respectively. The average annual increase in energy consumption is 230 million tons, 200 million tons, 150 million tons, and 100 million tons, which means an annual increase of 230 million tons of standard coal from the “Tenth Five-Year Plan” period. To 100 million tons of standard coal per year, can the increase in energy consumption continue to decline during the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, for example, the total amount is controlled within 300 million tons of standard coal. If the increase exceeds the “13th Five-Year Plan”, it is difficult to say so The transformation of high-quality development has been achieved. If the increase in energy consumption in the next 10 years is controlled within 500 million tons of standard coal, the need for energy growth can be met, that is, the pressure on energy increase will be reduced, and the opportunity for quality improvement will be greater. . During the same period, the average annual increase of non-fossil energy was maintained at about 100 million tons of standard coal. By 2030, the proportion of non-fossil fuel could be increased to more than 30%. Fossil energy consumption could be reduced by 500 million tons of standard coal, and carbon dioxide emissions could be controlled within Below 9 billion tons. On the contrary, if the phenomenon at the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan period is allowed to continue to spread, energy consumption will exceed 6 billion tons of standard coal in 2025, and carbon dioxide emissions will exceed 12 billion tons. Not only will my country’s national image be damaged, it will also be impossible to achieve real High-quality growth. Therefore, the beginning of the “14th Five-Year Plan” period is very important. We must coordinate the improvement of energy efficiency and the development of non-fossil energy, coordinate the energy transition and development transition, coordinate the transition and security, and do a good job in carbon peak and carbon neutrality. “Three Coordinates.” Although the deployment of carbon neutrality is not imminent and urgent, we must act and take the initiative early. It is necessary to formulate a schedule and road map for net zero emissions in my country’s power industry as soon as possible, the schedule and road map for the elimination of fuel vehicles, and require new infrastructure projects to basically achieve net zero emissions. Specifically, the following work must be done.

  One is to coordinate the improvement of energy efficiency and the development of non-fossil energy. The first is to pay attention to the importance of improving energy efficiency. In 2019, my country’s energy intensity per unit of GDP is still 1.5 times the world average and about three times that of developed countries. If my country’s energy efficiency level reaches the world average, total energy consumption can be reduced by nearly 2 billion tons of standard coal; Energy utilization efficiency reaches the average level of developed countries. When my country’s per capita GDP income reaches the level of moderately developed countries in 2035, energy consumption can be reduced by 1/3 compared to the current level; if my country’s energy efficiency reaches the world’s leading level in 2060, my country can consume energy. With zero growth or even negative growth, a modern country will be built. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that governments across the country assume the responsibility of developing non-fossil energy, and encourage areas with insufficient non-fossil energy resources to purchase non-fossil energy from areas rich in non-fossil energy resources. The state should increase the construction of non-fossil energy resource allocation capacity, build the west-to-east power transmission and north-south power transmission channels, turn the resource advantages of renewable energy in the northern part of the west into economic advantages, and ensure that the proportion of non-fossil energy is increased, Achieve regional balance of development.

  The second is to coordinate the energy transition and development transition. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, the Paris Agreement to address climate change represents the general direction of mankind’s green and low-carbon transition. This is not only an energy transition, but also a transformation of development methods and a transformation of lifestyles to achieve a transition from resource dependence to technology dependence. Transformation to achieve renewable energy and recycling of resources.

Achieving carbon neutrality is not only a strategic choice to deal with climate change, but also an important measure to achieve a fundamental improvement in the quality of the ecological environment. It is necessary to coordinate the green and low-carbon transformation of energy and the development of green and low-carbon transformation, and even the green transformation of lifestyle. Continue to adhere to and improve the “dual control” measures for total energy consumption and intensity.

First of all, we should carefully summarize the experiences and lessons of Beijing, Zhejiang, and Guangdong that have initially achieved carbon peaks. According to the analysis of historical data, Beijing has already achieved the peak of carbon dioxide emissions around 2010. Although there have been repetitions since then, its carbon dioxide emissions have not exceeded historical highs. “Down” typical. After 2013, energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in Zhejiang and Guangdong have shown a momentum of slow growth, and they have seen the dawn of peaking. If Guangdong does not have Zhanjiang Iron and Steel and Maoming Petrochemical, Zhejiang does not have Zhoushan Petrochemical’s production and Zhenhai Petrochemical’s expansion, perhaps It is also possible that, like Beijing, there has been a situation of “stability and decline”.

It is recommended to sum up the experience of achieving stability and decline after Beijing’s peak, and also summarize the experience and lessons of Zhejiang and Guangdong that have reached the peak, and there have been strong rebounds, and put forward precise “dual control” requirements. Under the premise, flexible policies should be designed for regions with high energy efficiency and a high proportion of renewable energy.

  At the same time, it must be recognized that the high-emission development model cannot promote high-quality economic growth, and may even become a burden to high-quality development. Take Inner Mongolia as an example. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, a number of coal-fired power and heavy chemical projects have been vigorously developed, with 180 million tons of new carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for more than a quarter of the national increase. However, its GDP ranking in the country is determined by From 15th place in 2015 to 21st place in 2020, it dropped 6 positions. Shanxi, which is also a coal base, is vigorously pursuing energy transformation. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, with almost zero growth in carbon dioxide emissions , The GDP ranking has increased from 24th in 2015 to 20th in 2020. Zhejiang is known as the National Clean Energy Demonstration Zone. During the “13th Five-Year Plan” period, the increase in energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions rebounded sharply. Trillion, expanding to nearly 4 trillion.

  The third is to coordinate the relationship between transformation and security. Whether it is economic restructuring or energy restructuring, it is related to economic development, energy security and employment security. In the process of achieving low-carbon transformation, the dialectical relationship between transformation and safety must be handled well. While controlling the total amount of fossil energy consumption, it is necessary to ensure the safety of energy supply, especially the energy guarantee for the continuous improvement of people’s lives. Especially when building a new-generation power system with new energy as the main body, do not rush for success, pay attention to step by step, gradually increase the proportion of new energy power generation in the entire power system, and propose various technical safeguards during the transition process to ensure energy And the safety of power supply. In the process of economic transformation, all localities must ensure stable economic growth and the rigid requirements of the continuous improvement of people’s living standards.

  The fourth is to establish and improve a policy mechanism for carbon peak and carbon neutrality. Carbon neutrality requires strong policy mechanisms and institutional guarantees. First, the existing policies, systems, mechanisms and regulations should be sorted out and improved in accordance with the requirements of carbon peak carbon neutrality, so as to meet the requirements of carbon neutrality. Peak carbon neutral development needs, and began to formulate the national “Climate Change Law”, “National Energy Law”, amend the “Electricity Law” and other related laws, coordinate the overall energy, environment, climate and economic and social development in order to control greenhouse gases Emissions are the starting point to promote the green and low-carbon transformation of my country’s economic system, energy system and lifestyle. The second is to improve the management system. It is recommended to establish a national carbon peak carbon neutral and inter-ministerial coordination mechanism led by the main leaders of the State Council. In addition to the Ministry of Environment and Ecology, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Housing and Urban- Relevant departments should set up specialized agencies and personnel to be responsible for carbon peaking and carbon neutralization. The third is to establish a national carbon neutral development fund. It is recommended that the country establish a carbon neutral-oriented national industrial development fund as soon as possible to focus on supporting and controlling greenhouse gas emissions and related technology research and development and innovation, zero-carbon energy, zero-carbon building, Investment practices in zero-carbon transportation and zero-carbon communities. The fourth is to promote a number of pilot projects in areas (districts, counties, regions, and provinces) that are carbon neutral in advance across the country, explore the technology, physique, and mechanism support for achieving carbon neutrality, and organize a batch of zero-carbon energy, zero-carbon buildings, and zero-carbon The pilots and demonstrations of transportation, zero-carbon communities, and zero-carbon schools will accumulate experience for the large-scale implementation of carbon neutral programs after 2035.

  The fifth is to strengthen international cooperation on carbon peak and carbon neutrality. Taking carbon peaks and carbon neutrality as an important starting point for major-country diplomacy, promote in-depth dialogues between China and the United States, China Europe, China and Japan, the four basic countries and the BRIC countries in the field of climate change, and build a green and low-carbon “Belt and Road”. Actively seek cooperation, learn from each other, promote each other, and make progress together. Increase the intensity of international scientific and technological cooperation in the field of climate change, expand the scope of international cooperation, and jointly develop the science and technology, process routes, business models and practical cases that are urgently needed for carbon peak and carbon neutrality. At the same time, we must also consider financial and technical assistance to developing countries on the issue of carbon peak and carbon neutrality, and undertake international obligations within our capacity.

Source: Financial and Economic Think Tank (Chinese Academy of Social Science) Issue 4, 2021. 2021-08-21.
https://www-ncsc-org-cn.translate.goog/yjcg/zlyj/202108/t20210821_858587.shtml?_x_tr_sl=zh-CN&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_sch=http#

Author: Junfeng Li, National Climate Change Strategy Research and International Cooperation Center, China

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