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China backs G20 goal to triple global renewable energy by 2030

By HOU LIQIANG in Dubai, UAE | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-12-11 07:22

A man takes a photo of posters on display for the COP28 climate conference in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on Friday. WANG ZHENDONG/XINHUA

China supports the initiative by G20 countries to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030, said Xie Zhenhua, China's special envoy for climate change.

He also said during a news conference on Saturday on the sidelines of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP28, that the world cannot forge ahead with energy transition without considering countries' differing conditions.

COP28, which is being held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, opened on Nov 30 and is scheduled to conclude on Tuesday.

The largest contribution of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change is that it mapped out the route toward the world's green, low-carbon transition, for which energy transition is of great importance, Xie said.

To replace fossil energy with clean, highly efficient renewables is a global target that will eventually address the climate crisis, he said.

However, Xie emphasized that the transition will be painful.

During the process, countries are confronted with different national conditions, he said. With different energy structures and available resources, they need to handle the relations between energy and food security and climate actions.

"Only when they are able to properly manage these relations and ensure economic security can they see a smooth transition," he said.

Xie underscored the importance of mutual understanding and cooperation during the global transition.

"I talked with a minister from a petroleum-exporting country. The minister told me that 80 to 90 percent of the country's fiscal revenue is contributed by oil and natural gas. If oil and natural gas are phased out, how can the country survive and develop? The country has its difficulties," Xie said.

He added that countries should mutually understand and support each other and join hands to seek the best solutions.

"This is our most effective way to go forward," he said.

Parties at COP28 have clashed over a possible agreement to phase out fossil fuels, with some countries resolutely opposing it and others unswervingly supporting it, Xie noted.

"We are still in communication with different parties, hoping to find a solution that is acceptable for all and also could solve problems. We are confident about this," he said.

Xie reiterated China's commitment to further promoting renewable energy.

"China has made significant contributions to energy transition and renewable energy development," he said.

Thanks to the contributions, the cost for wind power generation around the world has decreased by 80 percent, and the cost of photovoltaic solar energy has declined roughly 90 percent, Xie said.

"This has laid a good foundation for large-scale deployment of renewable energy in the world," he said.

The climate envoy also said China has seen its installed capacity for renewable energy surpass that of coal-fired power, which marks a remarkable change in the country's energy structure.

According to China's National Energy Administration, the country's capacity for renewable energy had exceeded 1.3 billion kilowatts by the end of June, surpassing that for coal-fired power for the first time.

"China will make continuous efforts to beef up the development and consumption of renewable energy," he said. "It will strive to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy in a gradual manner."

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