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50 International Experts Offer Advice on China’s Low Carbon Development for the Next 5 Years

In late May 2020, Energy Foundation China (EF China) organized its sixth Economists Dialogue on global and China’s low carbon and green development agenda, focused on China’s green post-pandemic economic stimulus and the 14th Five-Year Plan.

As the world wrestles with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, China has entered a critical stage of unprecedented changes in economic output, growth engine, energy structure, and greenhouse gas emissions. In the post-pandemic era, China’s success of “turning crisis into opportunity” will have a huge impact on the future of the country itself and the world.

During the two-day online meeting, leading economists and energy, environmental, and climate experts from China, the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom shared their views on four topics: 1) the 14th Five-Year Plan against the background of green economic recovery; 2) the role of digital economy in China’s energy transition; 3) sustainable infrastructure for China’s “new urbanization;” and 4) energy structure transformation and power infrastructure investment. They agreed that China should transform its economic and energy structures and adopt a green recovery to advance decarbonized development during the 14th FYP period. China and the world need to cooperate to accelerate the transition, they said. Some of their slides and academic essays are as follows:

 May 20, 2020


Opening Remarks

Moderator: Zou Ji, CEO and President, Energy Foundation China


  • Jonathan Pershing, Program Director of Environment, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; former U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change


Statement of Launching EF China’s Scheme on Stimulating the Economy Against COVID-19 and Accelerating Green and Low Carbon Transition During the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) Period


Zou Ji, CEO and President, Energy Foundation China


Session I: Starting a New Era of High Quality Growth During China’s 14th FYP Period Against the Background of Green Economic Recovery

Moderator: Kate Hampton, CEO, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation


Keynote Speeches (20’ each)

  • Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science (PPT, Essay) 
  • Liu Shijin, Deputy Director, Economic Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; former Vice President, Development Research Center of the State Council; Vice Chair, China Development Research Foundation (Essay_CN)


Synthesis of Key Findings From Researches on Greening Stimulus to Accelerate China’s Green and Low Carbon Transition During the 14th FYP Period

Zou Ji, CEO and President, Energy Foundation China (PPT)


Panel Discussion


  • In terms of socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and lessons from economic crises in history, especially the 2008 one, how to better understand national wealth, economic growth, people’s wellbeing, country’s competitiveness, security, and risk control?
  • How can we make the short-term economic stimulus compatible with long-term objectives, such as the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and China’s modernization and its pathway? What is the evolutionary trend of the wealth structure that determines China’s modernization and sustainable development, as it is moving from an upper-middle to high-income economy? What is the current status and the incremental changes of physical, human, natural, and social capitals, and their implications and requirements for investment?
  • What are the key areas of investment and consumption during the 14th FYP period, and the key supporting policies and measures, in order to meet the green and low carbon standards? How to link those policies and measures with the goals and priorities of the 14th FYP?

Panelists (5’ each)

  • Liu Yuanchun, Vice President, Renmin University of China
  • Zhu Baoliao, Chief Economist, State Information Center
  • Wang Yi,Member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress; Member of Resources Conservation and Environment Protection Committee of the National People’s Congress; Vice President, Institute of Science and Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Xu Lin, Chairman, U.S.-China Green Fund
  • Benedict Bingham, Advisor, International Monetary Fund
  • Cameron Hepburn, Professor of Environmental Economics and Director of Smith School, University of Oxford (PPT)

21:45- 22:25

Open Discussion

Moderator: Zou Ji, CEO andPresident, Energy Foundation China


Closing Remarks for the First Half-Day Meeting


Zou Ji, CEO andPresident, Energy Foundation China

May 21, 2020


Session II: The Role of Digitalization in the Energy Transition

Moderator: Kelly Sims Gallagher, Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy and Academic Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University


Leading Speeches (10’ each)

  • Liu Wenqiang, Vice President, China Center for Information Industry Development (PPT)
  • Laura Cozzi,Chief Energy Modeller, International Energy Agency (PPT)


Panel Discussion


  • What are the current status and trends of digitalization by industry? What are the potential disruptive technologies and innovative business models that will change the eco-system of industry?
  • What are the reliable technologies of applying the digital economy in traditional and emerging industries? What are their costs, market demands, development trends, and implications for economic growth, employment, energy consumption, and criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions?
  • How will the digital economy and its deployment affect energy efficiency, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions? What are those empirical evidences that we can learn from pioneer industries, cities, and regions?

Panelists (5’ each)

  • Lu Zhengwei,Chief Economist, China Industrial Bank; Vice President, Industrial Economic Research and Consulting Co., Ltd
  • Kang Chongqing,Professor, Dean of Department of Electrical Engineering, Tsinghua University; President, Energy Internet Research Institute, Tsinghua University; President, Tsinghua Sichuan Energy Internet Research Institute
  • Luo Guojie, Executive Director, Center for Energy-Efficient Computing and Applications, Peking University; Director, Intelligent Computing Research Center, Advanced Institute of Information Technology, Peking University (PPT)


Open Discussion


Session III:  Sustainable Urban Infrastructure for China’s New Urbanization

Moderator:  Benedict Bingham, Advisor, International Monetary Fund


Leading Speeches (10’ each)

  • Jiang Yi, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering; Professor, Tsinghua University (PPT, Essay)
  • Hal Harvey, CEO, Energy Innovation (PPT)


Panel Discussion


  • How will be the demographic distribution of China’s growing urban population, and their demand for housing, transportation, and energy infrastructure during the 14th FYP period? How big is the investment volume and the potential of house retrofitting in urban areas?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges for driving economic growth by investing in those areas as mentioned above, in terms of technology innovation, market readiness, and policymaking, while accelerating green and low carbon transition of city clusters and their buildings, transportation, and energy infrastructure?
  • What are the critical policy tools and measures to accelerate green and low carbon transition by investing in housing and infrastructure in urban areas?

Panelists (5’ each)

  • Li Xiaojiang, Former President, China Academy of Urban Planning and Design
  • Shi Yulong, Director-General, China Center for Urban Development
  • Ehtisham Ahmad, Visiting Professor, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science; Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University (PPT)


Open Discussion


Session IV: Energy Structural Transformation and Power Infrastructure Investment

Moderator:  Fu Sha, Director, Strategy and Planning, Energy Foundation China


Leading Speeches (10’ each)

  • Du Xiangwan, Deputy Head, National Energy Expert Advisory Committee; former Vice President, Chinese Academy of Sciences (PPT)
  • Lord Adair Turner,Chair, Energy Transitions Commission; Senior Fellow, Institute for New Economic Thinking (PPT)


Panel Discussion


  • As China faces economic downturn brought by the COVID-19, how to invest in and finance the decarbonization of the energy structure that is compatible with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals?
  • How to position coal in China’s energy transition during the 14th FYP period? How to avoid the high carbon lock-in impact on economy by divesting coal-fired power from economic recovery plans? What are the motivations and risks of keeping investing in coal power plants? How to manage risks of such investment by using market-oriented instruments, including fiscal, taxation, and financial tools?
  • What are the new opportunities and challenges for expanding China’s installed capacity of non-fossil fuel energy and its power generation during the 14th FYP period? What are the implications for the policymaking of top priorities?
  • How are the trends of digitalization, electrification, and distribution changing the landscape of the power market? Against this background, what are the key technologies, market designs, business models, and enabling policies that are criticalfor the power system transformation?
  • What are the empirical evidences that we can learn from pioneer cities, regions, and other countries?

Panelists (5’ each)

  • Zhou Dadi, Executive Vice President, China Energy Research Society; former Director General of the Energy Research Institute; Member of the State Expert Advisory Committee to China’s 14th FYP; Deputy Group Leader, Expert Group to the National Energy Development of China’s 14th FYP
  • Jim Skea, Professor and Research Councils UK Energy Strategy Fellow at Imperial College London; Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III
  • Richard Sedano, President and CEO,Regulatory Assistance Project (Essay)


Open Discussion


Closing Remarks


Zou Ji, CEO and President, Energy Foundation China



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