Green tech essential for China to reach targets

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CRI, November 11, 2009
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Dr Rosina Bierbaum, one of the contributors to the World Bank's World Development Report 2010, speaks at a press conference in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2009. [CRI] 

The development of China's green technology sector is the only way forward for the country if it is to address the challenges of climate change, maintain economic growth and reach its own ambitious targets for reducing CO2 emissions.

This was the view of experts attending a conference in Beijing on Monday to help publicize the World Bank's recent World Development Report 2010. The report says countries across the globe need to act now, act together, and act differently to achieve what it refers to as a "climate smart" world.

Dr. Rosina Bierbaum was one of the contributors to the report, and she says it is impossible to underestimate the importance of tackling this global issue.

"I think it's essential for the future of the human race. We take the science of the inter-governmental panel on climate change as our starting point and that argues that we will be seeing really catastrophic climate change if world temperatures are allowed to climb more than about 2-2.5% degrees above pre industrial levels, and we're already about 1% above today, and we will certainly go through those unless we learn to change our fossil fuel habits."

Mr. Zhou Dadi, Vice chairman of China's National Energy Advisory Committee, acted as an advisor to the World Bank's report. He is under no illusion about the size of the challenge China faces, arguing that the energy sector alone requires a complete overhaul both on side of supply and consumption.

"Of course you need better service with less energy consumption first, then you need to make low carbon supply from the current fossil fuel based energy system. So it's a big challenge for both the consumption and supply side."

Certainly, China has a strong incentive to act as much of its population is at risk from both extremes of climate change. 130 million Chinese citizens are currently living in low lying areas near the coast and are at risk of rising sea levels. Conversely, 270 million people in Western China are threatened by a lack of water in the drought prone west of china.

In light of such potential catastrophes, Beijing set itself the world's most ambitious carbon reduction target of 1.5 billion tons from 1995 �C 2010. A commitment that dwarfs the European Union's pledge to cut 300 million tones under the Kyoto protocol. But is China able to deliver on such promises? Energy specialist and contributor to the World Bank's report Dr. Wang Xiaodong certainly things so, but she says Beijing needs to do even more.

"We think that China's on the right path towards a low carbon economy but certainly we think an acceleration and scale up is still needed. We think China would play quite an important role in this climate smart world. China's already positioned itself as a leader in many new technologies such as solar PV and wind."

And it's through such new green technology that China can not only reduce carbon emissions but also develop its own economy. This, says Dr. Jiang Lin, Director of the China Sustainable Energy Program, can be a valuable example to show rest of the world.

I think the most important of all is to demonstrate to other developing nations you could achieve growth while reducing emission at the same time. Essentially decoupling economic growth with energy growth. I think that's very important to remember. China's experience in achieving those goals by developing clean energy policies specifically for industry, buildings and transportation are very good examples to share with other folks around the world.

Whether China is able to take full advantage of developing this new sector remains to be seen. But what is clear is that the rest of the world will be hoping Beijing is successful in achieving its ambitious environmental targets.

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