Global Environmental Protection and Low-Carbon Mission During Economic Transition-The 4th WEC was launched in Qingdao

Date: Aug 12, 2011      Source: WEC      

On June 19, 2011, the 4th World Economic and Environmental Conference (the 4th WEC), co-organized by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and International Energy Conservation Environmental Protection Association (IEEPA), was launched in Qingdao. It was a grand international meeting with profound social influence, with 500 people from home and abroad attended the opening ceremony.

"Low Carbon Mission during Economic Development Transition", as the title of the conference, highlighted the main issues, namely, low-carbon economy will become China's and global development mode and important restructuring driving force. It also will become a new important economic growth point. Congratulation letters or addresses were sent or given by national leaders, international organizations and famous economists like Abulaiti Abudurexiti, vice-chairman of CPPCC, Edmond Alphandery, former French Minister of Economy, chairman of Euro50 Group, Kandeh K. Yumkella, director-general of UNIDO, George Kell, executive director of United Nations Global Compact, Robert Aumann, Nobel Laureate in Economics and so on.

Zhang Qiong, Deputy Chief of the Committee for Social and Legal Affairs of CPPCC, and He Keng, vice chairman of Finance and Economic Committee of National People’s Congress, made a keynote speech respectively on behalf of CPPCC and NPC.

Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, pointed out in his greeting letter: the Conference will send a strong message to the preparatory process for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). A low-carbon economy is a low-polluting and energy-efficient economy. It is an economy which takes out no more than what the planet can sustain and replace. It meets everyone's needs fairly. In general terms then, we can define the green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and reduced inequalities, while not exposing future generations to significant environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Having said all this, we should remember that the transition to a green economy is already underway. Growing environmental preferences among firms and consumers are supporting dynamic global markets for energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies, organic foods, sustainable produced biofuels and timber products, ecotourism, and fair-trade products, which all fall into the category of a green economy. The production of many of these products also provides decent employment and increased development opportunities for poorer communities in developing countries.  The green economy is promoting a race-to-the-top for environmental performance rather than race-to-the-bottom, which was feared would arise from competitive cost reductions in a globalized economy. This is very encouraging but it is unfortunately not enough. I am convinced that through strengthened international support, sustainable development can significantly enhance developing countries' capacities to protect the environment, reduce poverty and give real and practical meaning to the concept of sustainable development.

Mario Amano, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, indicated in his report “towards green growth”: It is necessary for us to develop a low-carbon economy. In the 21th century, the world population grew 4 times. Economic output grew 22 times and fossil fuel consumption 14 times. The resilience of a wide range of environmental systems is now being tested by the requirements of a rapidly growing global population and increased levels of economic activity. Green growth is about addressing this challenge while expanding economic opportunities. Despite unremitting growth of environment and resource productivity, pressure is still mounting to do more in for environmental protection. A low carbon economy and green growth not only bring new economic growth, but create jobs, because they can enhance innovation, and bring a new green market and green economic activity.

He Jiankun, Deputy Director of National Climate Change Expert Committee, Deputy Director of School Council of Tsinghua University, indicated in his report “Trend of Energy Conservation and CO2 Mitigation & Strategy of Low Carbon Development in China”: China’s actual situation and the development stage she stays result in that China has more difficulties than developed countries in addressing climate change and achieving low carbon development. China has made significant efforts in energy conservation and efficiency improvement to achieve the greatest progress in energy conservation and emission reduction all over the world.  However due to the rapid growth of GDP, the energy consumption and CO2 emission is large and fast-growing. From 1990 to 2010, the CO2 intensity declined by 57%, that is rare all over the world. By comparison, developed countries declined by less than 30%, and the world as a whole dropped by 15%. From 1990 to 2010, China’s GDP grew by 7.3 times, and the total energy consumption increased by 3.3 times and the CO2 emission increased by 3.0 times. Therefore, Green and low-carbon development and mitigating carbon emission are the core part of China’s strategic responses to climate change, and also well reflect China domestic needs for sustainable development, and become an important content of national development strategy.

Dan E. Arvizu, Laboratory Director of NREL, indicated in his report “Low Carbon Economy and the Green Tech Revolution”: In order to develop low-carbon economy, we shall consider comprehensively technology, market and policy factors, and enhance market function by reducing investment risk, market globalization. Government shall take action to improve technology and loosen its restriction in order to ensure its market access. The US has made promises that: in order to achieve clean production, it will double its renewable energy, triple its non-fossil energy production, and increase hundreds of thousand of hybrid vehicles by 2015.

Wei Jianguo, Secretary-General of China Center for International Economic Exchanges, former Deputy Minister of Ministry of Commerce, hosted the Forum on China’s Low-Carbon Economic Development and International Cooperation, and attendees carried out warm discussion on such topics as Opportunities and Challenges in the Formation of Global New Economic System, “The 12th Five-Year Plan” and China’s Economic Transformation Outlook, Low-Carbon Economy and Green Technology Revolution, China Emerging Strategic Industry and Policy Trend, Green Finance and Establish Low-Carbon Economic System, The Role of Multinationals in China’s Transformation and Development, Ecological Harmony in Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction, Mechanism and Innovation on Urban Low-Carbon Ecological Development, China’s Low-Carbon City Transformation, Development and International Cooperation and so on.

Hou Yunchun, Vice Director of Development Research Center of the State Council, pointed out in main forum: In order to develop low-carbon economy in a transitional period, we shall guide and standardize industrial development, improve management mechanism, and establish environment favorable for large-range renewable energy development. At the same time, we shall encourage social investment, and deliver two-way stimulation for renewable energy utilization and cost reduction by way of price, financial and tax policies and so on. Exploitation and utilization of renewable energy is a common subject in the globe, and our common task is to make the most of "interest" rather than "principal" of the earth in the course of combating climate change.

Mohamed Aslam, Maldives Minister of Housing and Environment, pointed out: Global warming and rising sea level are a very slow course, like a smoker, whose smoking bit by bit will definitely do harm to his health. As a result, if we don't take action to solve climate change issue in the slow course, earth system will definitely respond to such change. Maldives plan to achieve carbon neutral by 2020, offer latest technologies and best opportunity, ensuring better competitiveness. Simultaneously, Maldives government has decided to take such measures to achieve zero discharge as decreasing customs for electric vehicles and relevant industries, as well as renewable energy industry, encouraging or attracting more investment on such industries.

Liu Yanhua, Counselor of the State Council, former Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, pointed out: 2011 is the beginning year of China's 12th five-year plan, and China is in a key period currently. We are facing daunting task in the transitional period, and shall avoid the disorders ever prevalent in middle-income countries. China has made great progress over the past decades: in the first 30 years (starting from 1949), China developed its economy by the planning and production, in the second 30 years, China developed economy by reform, opening-up and foreign trade, and now, China has entered the third 30 years, during which development means is restructuring and innovation. In the next decades, China will continue to adhere to the principle of equality, mutual benefit and win-win internationally, and cordially welcome different nations to participate in China's reform and development, and reach win-win results.

Neil Hawkins, global vice-president of Dow Chemical, indicated: global population will reach ten billion by 2050, therefore, it is urgent for us to develop economy, at the same time, we shall attach equal importance to protect air, water, soil and our habitat. Otherwise, it will endanger our life. Therefore, on the one hand, we shall protect our ecological environment, on the other hand, we shall solve food and energy crisis. Traditionally, economic development and environmental protection are contradictory, and we will have to choose between them, as a matter of fact, it is not the case, economy and ecological environment are two sides of one matter, they are interdependent. As we all know, natural resources are the sources for human development, how to use them is the key point. As a result, we shall establish new way of thinking to change outdated pattern of behavior. In order to achieve sustainable development, everyone, each company, even national policy shall make such change.

Some leaders from global top 500, domestic famous enterprises also attended the topic forums, like Sam Hsu, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Ecolab Greater China, Zeng Xiwen, Vice President of Unilever Greater China, Chang Dechuan, Chairman of the Board, President of Qingdao Port (Group) Co., Ltd., Qiu Guozhao, General Manager of K11 Concepts Limited in North China and so on.

Founded in 2008, the World Economic and Environmental Conference (WEC) derived from the concept of global "Green New Deal" proposed by United Nations, whose goal was to lead various countries to make transition towards green, ecological development mode, to jointly combat continuous environmental degradation in the course of human activity and economic development. Abulaiti Abudurexiti, vice chairman of CPPCC, and Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO, held the posts of conference chairmen; Edward Clarence-Smith, representative of UNIDO in China and Northeast Asia, and Jon Li, CEO of IEEPA and Secretary-General of China Consultative Council, were appointed as secretary-general of the Organizing Committee of the conference, both of them also hosted the round-table meeting and the opening ceremony respectively.

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