On September 24, the International Forum on Global Climate Change and Strategy of “Carbon Peak and Carbon Neutrality” was held successfully at the Reception Hall of the Main Building of Tsinghua University. The Forum is jointly sponsored by the School of Public Policy and Management and the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Tsinghua University. This Forum is one of the series activities of Global Advisory Board of Tsinghua SPPM in 2021. Ding Zhongli, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress and Chairman of the Central Committee of the China Democratic Leaguel; Zhou Xiaochuan, Vice Chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Vice Chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia; Chen Deming, Former Minister of Commerce, Former Chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straights, Former Vice Director of National Development, and Reform Commission, Director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies of Tsinghua University; Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative on Climate Change and Vice Chairman of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development; Wu Hongbo, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs, Former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals of Tsinghua University; Erik Solheim, Senior Advisor of the World Resources Institute and Former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations; Alok Sharma, Full-time President for COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference; Yong-Hak Kim, President Emeritus of Yonsei University and Chairman of the Board of SK Telecom; Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government of Oxford University; Danny Quah, Chairman (International) of 2021 THU SPPM Global Advisory Board and Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; and other domestic and overseas scholars and representatives of government and international institutions were invited to attend this Forum. More than 100 persons attended this Forum, including Peng Gang, Vice President of Tsinghua University; Jiang Xiaojuan, Member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Vice Chairperson of the Committee of Social Construction of the 13th National People’s Congress, and Dean of School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University; teachers and students of Tsinghua University.
The Forum has four themes, including “Toward Carbon Neutrality: National Strategy and Way forward,” “Social Forces in Addressing Global Climate Change,” “Global Climate Change: Multilateral Progress and Role of Governments,, and “Low-carbon Development and Financial Market Innovation.”
Academician Ding Zhongli, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress and Chairman of the Central Committee of the China Democratic League, delivered a keynote speech themed “International Cooperation on Carbon Neutrality Needs to Overcome Multiple Obstacles” in the theme of “Toward Carbon Neutrality: National Strategy and Way forward.” He pointed out that it requires specifying five fundamental obstacles in establishing sound carbon neutrality and global cooperation system in the future: 1) In the future negotiation of the specific solutions for implementing The Paris Agreement, the “ceiling” problem of carbon emission may still be a focal point of debates, requiring rational treatment by relevant parties. 2) Build a responsibility system with the participation of all countries to control global warming. Ensuring its fairness and justice is an issue that urgently needs to be taken into serious consideration and discussion by all parties. 3) All the cooperative partners in implementing The Paris Agreement should relieve principles and measures for the severely injured parties in advance and their anxiety and promote better international opinions in addressing climate change rationally in the future, which is also the need of building a harmonious international relationship and a community with a shared future for mankind. 4) To achieve global cooperation with carbon emission reduction as the ultimate objective, in addition to international political consensuses, treaties, and clauses, partners may also need to use economic means, such as carbon-based pricing, carbon tariff, and carbon subs. However, countries that do not have a relatively balanced or consistent system design will considerably impact the existing international trade system based on the WTO, requiring enough attention from all parties in the negotiation. 5). China and the United States are countries with relatively advanced low-carbon technologies, strong innovation capabilities, and robust market demand. Thus, the two countries’ cooperation will undoubtedly be a hugely positive force in building a low carbon world. However, some US politicians stick to the “zero-sum mentality” of beating China as a long-term goal, which has led to considerable tension in Sino-US relations. Such mentality will become an obstacle for addressing the global cooperation on climate change.
Ding Zhongli delivering a keynote speech
Zhou Xiaochuan, Vice Chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Vice Chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia, delivered a keynote speech on how to using mathematic planning to express the “30·60 Goals” better to guarantee a clear objective and more rational discussion in the theme of “Low-carbon Development and Financial Market Innovation.” He pointed out that the “30·60 Goals” is a mid-to-long-term planning goal and that dynamic planning tools can be selected for analysis. It involves determining the optimal objective, setting up assumptions and total volume control targets, formulating a route map and timetable for achieving the goals, and achieving the optimal allocation of resources. It requires the market to perform a determining role in the resources configuration and gives a full play to the role of the government to achieve the “30·60 Goals.” He believed that the achievement of the “30·60 Goals” needs to consider rules, prices, and costs; otherwise, relevant discussions are not precise enough, and some misunderstandings or unnecessary debates may arise. In case an optimized model is available, enabling the optimal allocation of resources under restricted conditions, the shadow price generated by the model represents an incentive mechanism and implies the GDP cost for achieving the optimal goals. He expressed that deviations may come between the optimal model and the actual condition. If the society deviates from the optimal choice, other administrative measures as auxiliary means will be required. He also attaches great importance to measuring carbon emissions; utilizes the monitoring and calculation, report, and verification (MRA) system of carbon emission; and disclosing information. He suggested that, in building the “1+N” policy of carbon peak and carbon neutrality, dynamic optimization can also be considered a methodology to guarantee that the system is more rational and reliable.
Zhou Xiaochuan delivering a keynote speech
Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative on Climate Change, Vice Chairman of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, delivered a keynote speech on “Cooperate to Implement the Paris Agreement and Promote Multilateral Progress of Global Climate Change” in the theme of “Global Climate Change: Multilateral Progress and Role of Governments.” First, he quoted the Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He pointed out that climate change has become a real and urgent crisis for humans and a difficult and long-term challenge and every country should work together, make the utmost efforts, and deal with climate change hand in hand. The actions of each country in the recent 10 years lay an important foundation for achieving the climate goals: the achievement of net zero emission and carbon neutrality confirmed in The Paris Agreement. Therefore, he put forward the following proposals. First, countries must adhere to multilateralism, support the multilateral mechanism, and take the UN as its core and convention as its main channel to implement The Paris Agreement comprehensively and precisely. Second, each country should make updated and more powerful national self-contribution before the COP26, report its mid-century long-term low-carbon development strategy, and undertake the responsibilities consistent with historical responsibilities and development stage of national conditions. Third, countries must accelerate the post-pandemic green and low-carbon transformation, encourage technology and institutional innovation, develop green finance, and guide the social capital to flow toward the green and low-carbon field. Fourthly, they need to enhance international cooperation, promote mutual trust by deepening dialogues, exchange the best practices, and learn from one another in technology and policy.
Besides, speaking of the upcoming COP26, he put forward the following views on its topics. First, the Paris Agreement has confirmed to control the global temperature rise to be less than 2 ℃ and included it into the China-US Joint Statement. This issue may be the conference’s focus point. He hopes that the conference can reflect the greatest inclusiveness. Second, regarding the mechanism of the global carbon market, consultations should be further developed to form a balanced plan to ensure that COP26 reaches the six implementation rules. Third, in terms of climate funding, the developed countries should fulfill their funding obligations under the Convention and The Paris Agreement and implement financial support. Fourth, regarding the issue of technological innovation and technological cooperation, technological innovation, cooperation, and transfer in the transformation process must be accelerated. Fifth, in supporting developing countries to adapt to climate change, global adaption goals should be formulated as early as possible, and political will should be strengthened. Developed countries should earnestly increase support for the developing countries in the adaptation capital, technology, and capability construction.
Finally, he pointed out that China will continue to be highly responsible for the well-being of the Chinese nation and the long-term development of humankind, actively respond to climate change, undertake international obligations consistent with own responsibilities and practical capabilities at the stage of development, and play the role of participants, contributors, ands leader in the global eco-civilization construction.
Xie Zhenhua delivering a keynote speech
Erik Solheim, Senior Advisor of the World Resources Institute and Former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivered an online keynote speech themed “Carbon Neutrality - How to Secure a Fair Transition” in the theme of “Social Forces in Addressing Global Climate Change.” He said that all main powers in the world are currently taking active actions to develop solar energy, wind energy, and other renewable energy projects vigorously, promote green transformation, and strive hard to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality. How to ensure a fair transformation, achieve common prosperity for all countries, and win-win cooperation are issues that need more attention. Therefore, all parties should make more efforts to consider the different challenges faced by different regions in the low-carbon transformation to achieve coordinated transformation and green development, enhance training to equip more labors with the key skills needed in the low-carbon transformation process, and develop relevant emerging industries, such as eco-tourism, . The traditional petrochemical energy industry should fully utilize the important experience accumulated in the technical field and play a role in developing renewable energy and green energy. Investors and consumers need to be fully aware of the importance of green transformation and making joint efforts. Finally, he hopes that China and the EU will share more experiences in their low-carbon transformation to ensure the smooth and fair green transformation of all countries.
Erik Solheim delivering a keynote speech online
Peng Gang, Vice President of Tsinghua University, welcomed all the experts to visit the Tsinghua campus and attend the online conference. He pointed out that addressing climate change is a common cause of human society. Universities should shoulder important tasks of the times to strive to achieve carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. In recent years, Tsinghua University has paid great attention to climate change and sustainable development, giving full play to the advantages of subjects, scientific research, talents, and international cooperation. It has vigorously strengthened the construction of think tanks and established a series of high-level, international, and branded forums. The university took the lead in establishing the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate, established the Institute for Carbon Neutrality, and actively provided advice and suggestions at the high-level conferences of United Nations Environment Program, Global Climate Action Summit, and the upcoming COP26. This Forum focuses on multiple subjects, such as national strategies, government roles, market innovation, and social forces; absorbs the wisdom of all parties; and promotes integration and interconnection, which is of great significance for Tsinghua University and the School of Public Policy and Management to shoulder important missions in the historical process of building a community with a shared future for humankind and achieving sustainable development. He hoped that all members and experts would fully express their views, contribute their new knowledge, and jointly depict the blueprint of green development globally and the bright future of a community.
Peng Gang delivering remarks
The opening ceremony of this Forum was moderated by Xue Lan, Distinguished Professor of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences of Tsinghua University, Director of the Academic Committee of the School of Public Policy and Management, and Dean of Schwarzman Scholars.
Xue Lan moderates the opening ceremony
Theme One: Toward Carbon Neutrality: National Strategy and Way forward
Cheng Deming, Former Minister of Commerce, Former Chairman of the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits, Former Vice Director of National Development and Reform Commission, Director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies of Tsinghua University, delivered a speech themed “Low-carbon Goals and Public Management in Big Data.” He shared his views on big data, low-carbon goals, and the inner logic of public management. At first, he expressed that China has enacted a series of relevant laws such as data security law and personal information protection law. While protecting national security, it has also left a window for joining international multilateral provisions. Only by cooperating in big data in the low-carbon economy and climate change can we truly monitor and cooperate on carbon emission reduction and slow down global warming. Besides, China has set the “30·60 Goals” of carbon neutrality and carbon peak. It is a must to have scientific and technological breakthroughs and modern management to achieve the two-step goals and a platform type slow down after 2030. Carbon capture, carbon-oxygen separation, and comprehensive utilization of carbon concerning coal-fired power are major technical problems that China must solve. These technologies should be applied in power generation enterprises and gradually completed in the application. The carbon peak, carbon neutrality, and double reduction objectives pose a lot of new industry opportunities. Finally, it depends on technology and management to achieve the carbon peak and carbon neutrality of “30·60 Goals.” It is the common responsibility of all humankind to reach the low-carbon goal. It requires supervision by relying on public management because only precise public management enables gradual carbon emission reduction. Regarding public management innovation in the big data age, the steady realization of economic development and low carbon transformation is an inevitable logic of China.
Chen Deming addressing the conference
Danny Quah, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, delivered a speech themed “Carbon Neutrality: Global Goals, National Plans.” He said that China is still on the road to a comprehensive modernization. The Chinese government puts forward the objective of carbon peak and carbon neutrality, which has aroused wide commendation from the international society. Science has proven that human activities cause the global climate crisis, and the excess CO2 in the atmosphere is from the main carbon-producing fields, including energy production and consumption, auto industry, and traffic. If it is possible to reduce the carbon effectively, the global temperature rise may be controlled to be less than 2 ℃. Suppose the whole international society wants to achieve carbon neutrality and net zero emission. In that case, society must jointly perform comprehensive carbon reduction actions from different fields, have large-scale and wide technological cooperation, and share the latest scientific discoveries. Besides, addressing these issues requires following and advocating the concept of fair competition for international collaboration. The climate crisis has a serious overflow effect, and its negative impact may involve any collective and individual in any country and region. Therefore, everyone to act regardless of the borders to achieve the set global temperature control goal. Danny Quah highlighted the need to break through borders and frontiers because the global climate crisis exists regardless of borders and frontiers. Besides pursuing technological progress, it also requires an effective global governing system that enables each country to cooperate sincerely.
Danny Quah delivering a speech online
Wu Hongbo, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs, Former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, and Co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals of Tsinghua University, moderated the Forum of Theme One.
Wu Hongbo moderates the Forum of Theme One
Theme Two: Social Forces in Addressing Global Climate Change
Lu Mai, Former Vice Chairman of the China Development Research Foundation, delivered a speech themed “Social Organizations and Addressing Global Climate Change.” He indicated that one urgent task is to address climate change and that the social organizations should work together in response to global climate change. He elaborated that social organizations should frequently interact with international organizations in addressing global climate change. They can take the development of the Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology and the social organizations China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation as examples to enable China’s NGO to play an active role in the international society. He said that China Development Research Foundation addresses global climate change through policy research and local practices. China’s Development Report of 2017: Sustainable Utilization of Resources calculated China’s primary pollutants and carbon emissions and put forward corresponding policy proposals in policy research. In terms of local practices, the green transformation of the Bi Jie Pilot Zone is taken as an example. China Development Research Foundation analyzed the main idea, planning, difficulties, and resorts through field investigation in ecological construction, green industry, modern agriculture, and HR development conditions. It put forward the policy proposals of advancing green development and building the first comprehensive demonstration zone for rural children’s development in China. Finally, he indicated that social organizations have bright prospects to participate in and help with the local green development.
Lu Mai delivering a speech
Dang Yanbao, Chairman of Ningxia Baofeng Group Co., Ltd., Chairman of Ningxia Yan Bao Charity Foundation, delivered a speech themed “Tackle Climate Change and Achieve Carbon Neutrality, Companies in Action.” He analyzed the existing energy structure of China and indicated that it is an inevitable choice for achieving the objective of “carbon peak and carbon neutrality” to advance the green, low carbon, and efficient utilization of traditional energy while speeding up new energy substitution. The power and chemical industry is the main battlefield of “carbon neutrality.” All enterprises should act collectively and actively shoulder the responsibility of carbon neutrality. Baofeng always sticks to green and sustainable development as an energy and chemical enterprise and performs “carbon neutrality” from the following five aspects. First, it drives the upgrading process with technology, improves the conversion rate, and reduces carbon emissions. Second, it promotes equipment upgrades and smart manufacturing, improves output rate, lessens energy consumption, and reduces carbon emissions. Third, it replaces grid electricity with solar power and replaces thermal power with green electricity to reduce energy and emissions. Fourth, it uses new energy to replace fossil energy and achieve carbon neutrality. Fifth, it strives to build a complete green photovoltaic industry chain and promoted carbon neutrality. Baofeng Group also fully supports scientific research and development while cultivating cutting-edge talents in the field of carbon neutrality research of Tsinghua University, actively helping in addressing climate change and achieving carbon neutrality.
Dang Yanbao delivering a speech
The Forum of Theme Two was moderated by Wang Ming, Professor of the School of Public Policy and Management and Director of the Institute for Philanthropy of Tsinghua University.
Wang Ming moderating the Forum of Theme Two
Theme Three: Global Climate Change: Multilateral Progress and Role of Governments
Alok Sharma, Full-time President for COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, addressed in his video speech that during his recent visit to China, he reached a consensus with Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative on Climate Change. He aims to achieve the net zero emission of greenhouse gas before the mid-21st century, keep the global temperature rise to be less than 2 ℃, and strive for less than 1.5 ℃, which are critically important for the achievement of the goal of The Paris Agreement. He hopes the COP26 can send a clear market signal, supervise all countries to formulate emission reduction objectives, and adopt actions to achieve such promises, monitor all countries to specify their emission reduction date. He wants to gradually halt selling polluting vehicles and coal power, suspend providing coal financing for foreign countries, and strive to promote deforestation before 2030. China promised to achieve the carbon peak and carbon neutrality in 2030 and 2060, respectively, and such a promise is positive. The UK looks forward to carrying out close cooperation with China in clean technology and other aspects. Finally, he said that universities and research institutes are important in taking the climate change actions, and their insight and innovation are crucial for developing key technologies. He wishes all universities and scholars worldwide to keep on airing their voice and contributing their wisdom.
Alok Sharma delivering a video speech
Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, delivered an online speech themed “The New Emerging Multilateralism.” She mainly shared two proposals for addressing global climate change by enhancing international cooperation. First, all countries in the world need to strengthen cooperation on low carbon development and promote different industries of each country to develop toward a low carbon model by setting market mechanisms. Many international organizations under the multilateral mechanism, such as the World Bank, can play an essential role in this aspect. Second, each government shall enhance its trust in the international organizations. The government needs to be more modest because the objective of the global climate action can only be achieved in a real sense with the governments, cities, and citizens’ active participation and joint liability. Besides, academic research plays a vital role in addressing global climate change. Oxford University and Tsinghua University are currently carrying out academic cooperation in this regard. Finally, she pointed out that China and the US shall give play to their leadership in addressing the global climate change as two major economies of the world by setting an example of international cooperation for other countries.
Ngaire Woods delivering a speech online
Qi Ye, Professor of the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, delivered a speech themed “Build a Global Consensus on Climate Action.” He pointed out that, currently, 137 countries have promised carbon neutrality in different forms, and human society is walking toward the road of carbon neutrality. Each country’s competition in the world in low carbon and green development should be positive instead of negative competition. Therefore, he put forward one critical policy proposal: the international society needs to cherish jointly the consensuses reached on climate change and strive to achieve “three dos and three don’ts.” Society needs to seize the opportunity of COP26, including issues agreed by nearly 200 contracting parties, strive to enable the countries left out to participate in the discussion, and promote the development of green finance because the government needs to provide the capital and empowerment factors while improving its capacity building. The intellectual property matters shall be dealt with properly in the low carbon transformation. Society should not adopt a carbon border regulation mechanism and not amend the proposal in the Paris Agreement of controlling the temperature rise to be less than 2 ℃ to 1.5 ℃ directly. Each country should not execute carbon neutrality solutions beyond its development levels and national conditions.
Qi Ye delivering a speech
The Forum of Theme Three was moderated by Li Zheng, Executive Associate Dean of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University.
Li Zheng moderating the Forum of Theme Three
Theme Four: Low-carbon Development and Financial Market Innovation
Yong-Hak Kim, President Emeritus of Yonsei University, Chairman of the Board, SK Telecom gave his speech themed “SKT Strategy toward Net Zero 2050” after the EU, China, and South Korea promised carbon neutrality in 2050, 2060 and 2050 respectively. A lot of criticism and doubts in the market by then were received. The biggest telecommunication operator in South Korea, SK Telecom, has addressed climate change in the past few years, taken climate actions, and constantly raised the efficiency of the existing telecom infrastructure. They worked hard to develop relevant technologies of renewable energies and reduced carbon emission by different means. The green energy strategy was implemented by utilizing AI-based energy-saving equipment to achieve green operation and green commercial development to realize the objective of zero emission in 2050 finally. Besides, SK also hoped to show society that carbon neutrality is a difficult challenge but is achievable when giving full play to ingenuity and creativity.
Yong-Hak Kim delivering a speech online
Peng Wensheng, Chief Economist and Head of Research for China International Capital Corporation (CICC), Executive Chairman of the CICC Global Institute, delivered a speech themed “Green Premium and Carbon Trading.” He indicated that the critical point for achieving carbon neutrality is to lower the green premium or lower the relative price of clean energies to fossil energies and urge the market entities to reduce the use of fossil energies. Technology progress, carbon pricing, and social governing are the three means for lowering the green premium. While carbon pricing is the basis, technology progress is the key. Without technological progress, carbon pricing may exert a significant impact on our economy. Supported by technological progress, carbon prices would eventually drop after rising at first, and the economy will then recover. He stated two critical features of technological innovation. First, the non-competitiveness and partial exclusiveness of science and technology can cause insufficient innovation from the private sector. Second, some innovation projects have huge uncertainties and long periods; thus, the private sectors lack patience and are unwilling to take risks. Given these two features, the government must play a key role in groundbreaking scientific and technological innovation, making efforts in direct input investment and market mechanism design and rulemakings. Finally, he reiterated that carbon neutrality depends on technological progress, and both require government intervention owing to externality. Thus, public policies need to play a more prominent role in promoting green technology innovation.
Peng Wensheng delivering a speech
The forum of Theme Four was moderated by Peng Zongchao, Professor and Chairman of the Council of the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University.
Peng Zongchao moderating the forum of Theme Four
Jiang Xiaojuan, Dean of the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, Vice Chairperson of the Committee of Social Construction of the 13th National People’s Congress and Member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, summarized the discussion and exchange among GAB members and experts and put forward a lot of strategic and profound views, which are instructive and enlightening. She said that she felt encouraged after hearing all the speeches. Many worries were also brought along because of many issues pending research and resolution after the objective is set. In the following decades, the tasks of carbon peak and carbon neutrality will be challenging to achieve. The discipline of public management needs to strive for further research, exploring and completing the mechanisms and policies for addressing global climate governance. Finally, she expressed her sincere appreciation for all the GAB members, experts, scholars, and guests participating in the forum on behalf of the School of Public Policy and Management and the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Tsinghua University. She hoped that everyone would work collectively to enhance the research on key issues of climate change governance, exchange, and cooperation by jointly overcoming common obstacles, promoting the great cause of carbon peak and carbon neutrality, and driving the construction of a community with a shared vision for the future for humankind.
Jiang Xiaojuan providing a summary