MADRID – Transition to renewable energy in countries belonging to China’s Belt and Road initiative will have an estimated cost of over $1 trillion, according to data presented on Tuesday at the 2019 Climate Summit held in Madrid.
In a bid to reinforce its leading position in renewable energy, China has presented its main action lines for energy transition within the 71 countries included in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Reduction of carbon dioxide and land restoration in the Chinese Kubuqi desert, the nearest from Beijing, are planned to be tackled with solar panels, natural vegetation, root and tuber crops, and carbon capture and storage.
ACEF, a Chinese civil society organization supported by the government, provides policy recommendations and implements international projects to promote environmental protection.
“Chinese government did a lot in combat climate change. Chinese government promotes sustainable energy nationwide and decides to do more green transportation,” Ni Yao, Deputy Director of International Cooperation Department All-China Environment Federation (ACEF) told EFE.
“In the adaptation part, I think the Chinese government put a lot of trees in different areas and try to do some restoration in the desert and the national park and lots of work in this area.”
Ni Yao assured that his organization protects public rights since it provides environmental legal service.
For Yao, ACEF is an example for others to follow, in terms of cooperation between civil society and the government.
The ambitious project of renewable transition in the BRI will need not only an investment of more than one trillion dollars but also a social change.
“The transition of costs will need energy transition, economic transition and also a change in people’s minds,” said Yang Fuqiang, Senior Adviser on Climate and Energy, China Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, so moving towards renewables is key for its future.
“Chinese government can meet the CO2 peak in 2030 and so now in China, we are reducing coal consumption and promoting renewable energy so we think the goal will reach the get peak around 2030,” Yang added.
Solar Photovoltaic technology development and increasing the number of solar panels installed are now the main commitments.
“In China, solar panels are very cheap,” Dr. He Jijiang, Deputy Director of Research Center Center of Energy transformation and Social Development at Tsinghua University told EFE.
“If China supplies panels for Spain, Spain can get cheap panels and cheap electricity and in the cities, they can install solar panels on the roofs.
“Solar is an electricity generator, reduces CO2 emissions and land restoration can make a CO2 sink,” he added.
Energy transition challenges that sea transport faces worldwide as one of the most polluting means of transport also worry BRI’s experts.
Eco-Ship is an initiative launched in 1983 and led by Japanese-based NGO Peace Boat to make the transition to a carbon-neutral future.
“Over the years the maritime industry has gone through many changes and the conventional ships that you can see nowadays, with cruise ships that have up to four to six thousand people are also causing a negative impact on the oceans,” said Emily McGlone, director of Peace Boat US.
Eco-Ship “is a transformational program which will be using solar and wind power to reduce our CO2 by 40% and to set an example for the maritime industry that it’s time to act now.”
Peace Boat as a member of ICAN, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2017.