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Environmental challenges call for collective action

By Chen Yingqun and Yang Ran | China Daily | Updated: 2023-08-29 09:37

Global cooperation on tackling climate change requires engagement from governments, industries, and companies, while technology advancements are also crucial, analysts say.

Qu Sixiao, senior project manager of the global consultancy Roland Berger, said extreme weather events highlight the urgent need for global action to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Countries must prioritize measures that mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change to protect vulnerable communities and ecosystems," he said. "This includes transitioning to clean and renewable sources of energy, implementing sustainable land-use practices, and enhancing disaster preparedness measures."

Governments and international organizations across the world should establish policies, regulations, and public opinion guidance that lay the foundation for collective action and create a conducive environment for collaboration, Qu said.

Moreover, industries, especially leading companies in various sectors, play a pivotal role in tackling climate change.

"Cooperation between companies, particularly within their specific industries, is crucial," he said.

"Different types of companies have unique missions decided by the industries they belong to and must focus on specific areas accordingly."

For example, industrial production companies with significant emissions should explore changes in energy structures and process innovations to reduce their emissions, he said.

Technology development is at the core of tackling climate change, as certain decarbonization technologies are not yet fully developed or widely adopted globally, Qu said.

For instance, in the energy and electricity sector, which accounts for approximately half of global CO2 emissions, it is crucial to replace traditional coal-fired power generation with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Despite progress made worldwide, the adoption of solar and wind power is not enough to establish a stable and secure power grid system, which requires significant investment in energy storage technologies.

Currently, no city or region in the world relies completely or predominantly on solar and wind power, coupled with high levels of energy storage.

This lack of precedent poses challenges for energy storage technology and the operation of innovative grid systems known as microgrids or super microgrids, Qu said.

Universal issue

Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing, said climate change is a common challenge all of humanity faces, and no country can stand alone.

International cooperation is the only correct choice to address climate change, he said.

"Countries can jointly tackle the challenges of climate change through international negotiations, technological innovation, information sharing and financial support," he said.

China has become a leader in tackling climate change, he said, as it not only made a commitment in 2020 to peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, but it also later reaffirmed its efforts to put in place a "1+N" policy framework for carbon peak and neutrality.

"This decision has been meticulously crafted, considering China's focus on mitigating climate change risks, preventing pollution, protecting ecology, and promoting more sustainable, high-quality development," he said.

China persistently reduces emissions to fulfill its dual carbon targets. The challenge lies in how to reduce emissions while ensuring energy security. And in recent years, China's renewable energy has developed rapidly.

By the end of last year, the country's installed capacity of renewable energy accounted for 47.3 percent of total installed capacity, surpassing coal-fired power for the first time. Among them, wind power reached 365 million kilowatts, and photovoltaic power reached 393 million kW, according to official figures.

"China's wind power and photovoltaic manufacturing industries are also global leaders," Chen Ying, a researcher in the Institute of Ecological Civilization at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.

"By improving power generation efficiency and reducing costs, they have made important contributions to the large-scale application of renewable energy and the global energy transition."

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