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ZOU Ji: Gear the 14th FYP Toward China’s Carbon Neutrality Goal

On October 27, 2020, Zou Ji, CEO and President of Energy Foundation China, addressed the UK-China 1.5 track dialogue organized by the British Embassy in China. In response to President Xi Jinping’s carbon neutrality announcement at the UN General Assembly in late September, the meeting shed light on the most pressing challenges ahead and fostered consensus on future UK-China climate collaboration.

According to Zou Ji, the imbalanced industrial structure and regional development disparity pose huge challenges for China to reach carbon neutral. As part of its long-term climate strategy, China needs to promote electrification and digitization, and to build local momentum for pursuing climate goals by customizing emission peaking and carbon neutrality pathways. In the short term, China should make full use of the 14th Five-Year Plan drafting phase to formulate special programs on climate change. Other imperatives include advancing the national carbon market, building green and circular economy, clarifying whether the carbon neutrality target covers non-CO2 emissions, and strengthening climate regulation.

The discussions have led to a number of agreements on bilateral climate collaboration. According to the Chinese delegates, China has put forward the 2030 and 2060 climate targets not only to meet its needs for green and low carbon growth, but also to send a signal of its willingness to fulfill international obligations. The British representatives stressed the importance for China and the UK to have dialogue on carbon border tax and carbon market, so as to manage trade disputes and to stem protectionist sentiment. These conversations, the UK delegates argued, is also in China’s interests in the long run. On top of idea exchanging, the two sides jointly affirmed their willingness to promote multilateral climate governance through bilateral cooperation.

Delegates attended the event include Adair Turner, Chair of the UK Energy Transition Commission; Archie Young, UK Lead Climate Negotiator; Simon Sharpe, visiting policy fellow at University College London; Bernice Lee, founding Director of the Hoffmann Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy and Research Director at Chatham House; He Jiankun, Deputy Director of National Expert Committee on Climate Change; Wang Yi, Member of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress; Zhou Dadi, former director of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission; and Qi Ye, Professor of the School of Public Management of Tsinghua University. Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, presided over the meeting.


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