By Zhou Renjie, People’s Daily
Many regions across the country recently issued their blueprints for green and low-carbon development during the local “two sessions”, the annual meetings of lawmakers and political advisors at various levels.
Beijing will promote the synergy of anti-pollution and carbon reduction work and make steady strides toward the goal of carbon neutrality; Shanghai plans to develop its Chongming Island into a carbon neutral island, Changxing Island into a low-carbon one, and Hengsha Island a zero carbon one, and actively build carbon neutrality demonstration zone; east China’s Zhejiang province is going to implement a comprehensive resource conservation strategy to encourage economical and intensive use as well as recycling of resources and promote a simpler, greener and low-carbon lifestyle.
The year 2021 marks the start of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) and a milestone year for synergizing the reduction of pollution and carbon emissions and promoting the all-round green transformation in economic and social development.
In 2021, China was fully committed to high-quality development that prioritizes eco-environmental protection and green and low-carbon ways of life and production, and made notable achievements in promoting green transformation in economic and social development.
The country made good progress in resource conservation, with its energy consumption per gross domestic product (GDP) dropping 2.7 percent year on year.
Clean energy consumption saw rapid growth in the country. Renewable energy, including natural gas and hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and solar power, accounted for 25.3 percent of China’s total energy consumption in 2021, one percentage point higher than that a year before.
Power generated by renewable energy sources climbed to 2.48 trillion kWh, which made up 29.8 percent of China’s total electricity consumption last year. Meanwhile, the production of green products grew rapidly in 2021, with the country’s output of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and photovoltaic cells surging 145.6 percent and 42.1 percent year on year, respectively.
Green and low-carbon development also serves as an opportunity to promote the transformation and upgrading of China’s economic structure.
Last year, south China’s Guangdong province made great efforts to promote green manufacturing and clean production, and gathered pace in adjusting its energy structure. The province newly put into operation offshore wind power projects with a total installed power generation capacity of 5.49 million kW, solar power plants with a combined installed capacity of 2.25 million kW, and pumped-storage hydropower stations with a total capacity of 700,000 kW, suggested a report on the work of the People’s Government of Guangdong Province.
To supply natural gas and hydrogen energy for the hosting of a green Winter Olympics in Beijing, China’s state-owned pipeline giant China Oil & Gas Piping Network Corporation (PipeChina) brought into operation four new pipelines at the end of last year, and other companies including China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) have built and put into use over 30 hydrogen refueling stations.
These achievements reflected how much China valued clean energy in the preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympics. The grand sports event in Beijing has achieved 100 percent green power supply for all venues for the first time in the history of the Olympics and is expected to consume a total of about 400 million kWh of green electricity, which can cut the consumption of standard coal by 128,000 tons and carbon dioxide emissions by 320,000 tons.
It’s believed that only by seizing the opportunities brought by green and low-carbon development can China accelerate the formation of industrial structures, production modes, ways of work and life and spatial configurations that help conserve resources and protect the environment.
Green development is the foundation of a better life and the expectation of the people. However, China is facing long-term and arduous tasks in promoting both high-standard ecological and environmental protection and high-quality economic development. These tasks, which range from accelerating green renovation of old urban buildings to improve energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions to adopting building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), promoting environmental governance trusteeship services and facilitating the development of green and eco-friendly industries, make it imperative that the country adopts a holistic approach while addressing minor problems in the transformation of its way of development and people’s lifestyle.
Attaining to the broad and great while addressing the delicate and minute, China is leveraging its strengths in coordinating the work of various parties and forging synergy to achieve the goal of green and low-carbon development.
The country aims to realize the complete transition to a greener economy and society and continue to maintain its steady and healthy economic development in the new development stage.