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COP28 enhances international collaboration, seeks green development

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A model of China's first million-ton carbon capture, utilization and storage project is exhibited at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (Photo by Zhang Zhiwen/People's Daily)
A model of China's first million-ton carbon capture, utilization and storage project is exhibited at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (Photo by Zhang Zhiwen/People's Daily)

By Guan Kejiang, Zhang Zhiwen, Ren Haoyu

The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP28, concluded in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. 

During the session, the Chinese delegation set up China’s pavilion, and hosted over 100 side events focusing on China’s policies and actions in response to climate change, international cooperation on climate change, green and low-carbon development, coordinated pollution and carbon reduction, just transition and sustainable development, energy transition, digital development, and green finance. 

These events aimed to showcase China’s philosophy and achievements in ecological civilization construction, and to forge consensus on jointly addressing climate change.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). At multiple side events, participants highly valued the fruitful achievements of the BRI in promoting international cooperation and peaceful development, praised China’s significant role in driving global green development, and looked forward to increasing green cooperation within frameworks such as South-South cooperation.

At the 11th High-level Forum on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change held on Dec. 8, Dima Al-Khatib, director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, emphasized the significance of South-South cooperation in addressing climate change for developing countries to achieve green and low-carbon transition. 

She said the BRI proposed by China has provided a favorable platform and opportunity for developing countries to strengthen cooperation on climate change, serving as a good example.

Bounkham Vorachit, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Laos, stated that China has become a global leader in utilizing green and low-carbon energy, and it has actively practiced and supported South-South cooperation. 

The minister called the Vientiane Saysettha Low-Carbon Demonstration Zone, jointly built by Laos and China, a model of environmentally friendly and sustainable development. It has achieved significant results in reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions, and fossil fuel usage, she added.

At the Seminar on Belt and Road Green and Low-carbon Transition hosted by the BRI International Green Development Coalition on Dec. 8, Erik Solheim, vice president of the coalition and former United Nations under-secretary-general, noted that green development is a distinctive feature of the joint building of the BRI. He said China has made tremendous contributions to the development of global renewable energy, and it has also brought innovative driving forces to economic development, as well as the green and low-carbon transition of other developing countries.

During a side event on China’s latest progress in carbon capture, utilization and storage, representatives from multiple Chinese companies and research institutions introduced China’s actions and progress in the field. 

During a side event on supercomputing for climate and environmental prediction, experts from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences showcased research results of numerical simulation in combining supercomputers and Earth system models, providing new perspectives and methods for predicting climate change and related disasters. 

During a side event on wind, solar, and hydrogen storage, participants engaged in extensive discussions on topics such as energy transition driven by innovative wind power technologies, contributing their wisdom to the development of the new energy industry.

Tim Gould, chief energy economist of the International Energy Agency, said China possesses unique advantages in the development, manufacturing and application of clean energy technologies. 

Such advantages, coupled with the support from and cooperation with international financial institutions, are of great significance in accelerating the development of clean energy in other regions, he added.

Abid Sulehri, executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Pakistan, said that China actively collaborates with other developing countries within the framework of South-South cooperation, making significant contributions to the global response to climate change. 

China has hosted over 100 side events, which served as an important platform for frank exchanges and sharing of experiences among all parties, he said, adding that in the face of the complex issue of climate change, all parties need more consensus and action.

The China Energy Transformation Outlook 2023 report was released at a side event hosted at China’s pavilion on Dec. 9. The report said that China will embark on a new path of green and low-carbon growth that distinguishes it from developed countries. 

According to the report, the development of key clean energy technologies will experience rapid and leapfrog development in China, and the country will advance high-quality social and economic development and improve people’s living standards with lower per capita energy consumption and carbon emissions compared to those in developed countries, thus injecting confidence into global green growth.

Dan Jorgensen, Denmark’s minister for development cooperation and minister for global climate policy, said the report is an important outcome of inter-governmental cooperation between Denmark and China. The report outlines the path for China to achieve its energy transition and provides a clear direction towards carbon neutrality. 

Jorgensen emphasized that a green energy transition must be a global effort, saying China plays a crucial role in this regard and is taking active actions to realize this vision.

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