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China-EU Green Cooperation Has Huge Potential and a Promising Future

On November 16, 2020, the Chinese Mission to the EU, China Chamber of Commerce to the EU and the European Business Summit co-organized the China-EU High-level Forum on Green Cooperation. After Mr. XIE Zhenhua, Special Adviser for Climate Change Affairs (MEE), received an interview via video link, senior officials, experts, scholars and business representatives from China and the EU conducted in-depth discussions on the visions and actions of China and the EU to address climate change. Below are excerpts from their insightful speeches:

Mauro Petriccione: Cooperation with China is the essence

Director-General of Climate Action, European Commission

Mauro Petriccione said that China have made a momentous choice and it is going to discover that it has consequence that beyond what it has imagined. Cooperation with China is the essence of EU-China relations in the field of climate change and EU has long-standing cooperation with China. The EU side is delighted to see how far China has advanced in emission trading and is working with the Chinese side to set up the high-level environmental and climate dialogue announced by leaders from both sides in September. We are trying to figure out together with them how they are going to plan for this long-term objective and it will be very helpful that the two sides learn together. The EU side is also willing to cooperate with China on just transition. The EU’s success is based on investment on innovation to make faster deployment on the ground and in the market, as well as on solidarity to help people in disadvantage regions and high-carbon sectors to change directions.

LI Junfeng: Carbon Neutrality Was Vision, But Now Is Action

LI Junfeng, First Director and Chairman of Academic Committee of National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC).

LI Junfeng said that history shows that the China-EU cooperation on climate change has set a most successful model. Back in the 1990s, the EU helped China carry out energy-saving training and promoted the development of China’s renewable energy sector. China is a large country with a carbon-intensive energy mix and coal consumption exceeds 57% of the total energy consumption. If China can achieve carbon neutrality, there is no reason why other countries cannot. China’s commitment will greatly contribute to the global endeavor to achieve carbon neutrality. Carbon neutrality was a vision in the past, but now it is an action. Many Chinese companies have already taken actions. It is important to objectively assess the role of carbon market, and focus on strengthening technical cooperation and improving energy efficiency.

Mr. Bernard M. Kemper: Long-term Strategic Partnership Established between Chinese and European Companies

CEO of EEW Energy from Waste GMBH

Bernard Kemper introduced the company’s experience in sustainable use of waste and pointed out EEW sets a model of cooperation between Europe and China. A Chinese company acquired EEW in 2016, and the two sides have established a long-term strategic partnership in the field of renewable energy. This not only helps to share advanced European technology and management expertise, but also proves that China and the EU can work together and make a difference in addressing climate change and developing low-carbon energy.

Mr. Isbrand Ho: Let the Whole World Travel by Electric Vehicles

Managing Director of BYD Europe B.V.

Isbrand Ho said that as a new energy frontrunner, BYD strongly supports environmental protection measures and the “Towards Zero Carbon” Initiative. The vision is to enable the whole world to travel by electric vehicles. BYD is willing to establish partnerships with various stakeholders in the EU to share its technology. The establishment of the China-EU high-level dialogue on environment and climate provides a good opportunity that will benefit everyone. The two sides could carry out joint environmental protection projects, which will help deepen environmental policy coordination, strengthen regulatory cooperation and promote policy research. This is essential for China and the EU to jointly tackle climate change.

HE Jijiang: China and the EU could engage in a friendship competition for photovoltaic development

Executive Deputy Director, Institute of Energy Transition & Social Development, Tsinghua University, China

Mr. HE Jijiang, based on his recent inspection tours to 23 European countries, indicated that since China and the EU are respectively the world’s largest and second largest photovoltaic markets, both sides should continue to develop the photovoltaic industry. He suggested that the two sides launch a friendship competition on photovoltaic development. China and the EU are jointly conducting research on the net eco-efficiency standards of photovoltaic power plants throughout their life cycle, which will help steer the global photovoltaic manufacturing industry and photovoltaic power station construction to lower carbon emissions or even negative emissions. The standards can also serve the world and help Africa build photovoltaic power stations so that local people can have access to modernized sustainable electricity. Such efforts can also help combat desertification and increase employment in Africa.

Mr. Kjeld Staerk: Innovation, Implementation, Invitation (3I)

Vice-President of Danfoss Group

Citing the example of Sonderborg (a city in Southern Denmark) which committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2029 and the practice of Danfoss to reduce energy consumption, Mr. Staerk emphasizes the importance of innovation and development of more advanced technologies. On that basis, implementation is also crucial. Some technical solutions are mature and can be applied directly. He extends an invitation to all participants to visit Sonderborg in order to learn more about how it improves energy efficiency.

HE Yun: Drawing Inspiration from Traditional Culture to Cope with Climate Change

Assistant Professor, School of Public Management, Hunan University

Ms. HE Yun said that we should draw inspiration from the traditional culture of various countries to deal with climate change. The abundance indicated in the Scripture of Great Peace among other traditional Chinese classics is not physical wealth, but diversity of species. Chinese college students are very much concerned about climate change. Hunan University has made climate change policy a compulsory course. Students care about such issues as extreme weather, pay attention to the adverse impact of climate change, and endeavor to put their knowledge about climate change into practice.

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