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Towards a Low Carbon Economy

2007-11-28author:source:

  Mr. Chair,

  I am a new member of the Council and I am very honored to make a speech at the meeting. I will observe the time limit and finish my speech within 15 minutes. I will prove that I can be a good member.

  What I am going to talk about is what we can do to develop low carbon economy. Before this I would like to echo Mr. Pachauri see the figure. Dramatic changes are shown in the figure. We can see the changes of dioxin, CO2 and temperature in the past 400,000 years and the changes in recent time are particularly remarkable. This figure was made by Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and is similar to US model. It shows the constant change of temperature in North China. We can see the changes of yellow area and dark yellow area as well as changes of precipitation. Meanwhile we can see the change of rainfall in the western and central part of China and rainfall in East China has begun to reduce. These changes actually have made a great impact on us. Here I would like to give the example of Ningxia. In the area where the Yellow River runs across the precipitation has fallen to below 200 mm, whereas in farmland area, which is the middle part of Ningxia, rainfall is between 200mm-400mm. This has affected agricultural development in the whole region. These are changes taking place in Ningxia.

  From the figureWe can see the measures Ningxia has taken to address climate change and the price it has paid for it. Climate change has brought about many problems. Dengue is a case in point. This disaster is caused by climate change that facilitates mosquito breeding. Last year a British scientist published a report indicating that if current risk of climate change continues, we will suffer a loss of 5% GDP every year. However, we must pay attention to several key points. The increasing temperature will cause more and more changes continuously and these changes are irreversible. We see melting ice in Greenland, in western Antarctica and emissions of methane mixture in seabed, which will cause sea level to rise by 5-6 meters and submerge coastal cities in southeast area. This situation will take place if the temperature rises by 2 degrees, which is key measurement. The ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is melting faster than expected. What shall we do? We must reach a global agreement on carbon pricing and make innovative policies. Meanwhile, we will phase out all practices hindering energy efficiency. We have adopted some measures in EU to create low carbon economy. We need to stress the transformation into low carbon economy, which will further promote competition rather than threaten it. Additionally, EU is the first to introduce carbon trading program which fixes the price of carbon.

  The British Prime Minister made a speech the other day, raising his hope to curb temperature rise within 2 degrees and he believed that 2 degrees was an important point. He also proposed that if experts thought it proper, carbon emissions would be cut by 60%-80% by 2050. What kind of schemes do we propose in UK? We will realize zero emission by 2016 for newly built houses. And we will reduce the carbon footprint among one third of all houses in use and to be built. Use of disposable plastic bags will be eliminated or removed. For low carbon economy we can see that emissions in different countries vary. If we make a comparison between China and the UK, we find something similar and different as well. Traffic emissions account for 40% in the UK while in China they account for 4% only. This shows the two countries share something common but also have different problems. We need to analyze all the CO2 sources marked in the figure to solve the problem. One way is to use renewable energy. Renewable energy takes various forms. China, in fact, has done a lot in this regard. The figure shows the hydropower station at Shabadu along the Yellow River. This is Ningxia. Solar panels are installed on the roof. Every solar panel costs $100. It is still expensive for Chinese families. So what we consider is not only a matter of energy, but also affordability. Bio-ethanol is another issue we are concerned about. In this figure, on the left is maize field and on the right a big plant. If we grow more maize, it will be better for the development of bio-ethanol. As we know, China has made a plan to have renewable energy account for 15% of its energy structure by 2020.

  Coal is used extensively in China and there are many coal-fired power plants in the country. According to international organizations, China’s coal-fired power plants will further increase by 2030 with installed capacity being 6 folds of that of EU. If this is true, CO2 emissions of the power industry will continue to rise. Here we can compare CO2 emissions of power industry between China and other countries. We can see many of the power plants are outdated. Of course we have seen some modern facilities in Ningxia. These new power stations are quite efficient. Hopefully we will see more of such power plants in the coming years. What is important in the process is how to make innovations in low carbon technologyFor example, we can improve efficiency to conserve energy. We can apply new technologies to enhance our efficiency from 36% to 45%. Of course, we can achieve this through carbon capture and storage.

  The British government has just launched a race known as carbon storage and carbon capture to support the first business program. We hope to capture and store 90% of CO2. What do we do? We capture or store carbon arising from coal burning in the coal-fired power plants. We can also have other means by extracting carbon and burying it in the seabed. Of course, China has also created many technologies in this field.

  What am I driving at here? I want to stress good cooperation in the process of developing low carbon economy which will brings us opportunities for innovation and trade. China can cooperate with EU more extensively. Moreover, the U.K. has promised to establish a fund for environmental change with a seed capital of ₤800 million. The fund will be launched the next year. We would like to have more consultation and cooperation with China to better use the fund.

  Finally we would like to say that the British government will continue its cooperation with CCICED, particularly in the field of environmental protection, energy and climate change. We are willing to finance a task force to further promote low carbon economy.

  Thank you very much.

  Based on recording

 

 


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