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Renewable investment urged at COP28

By HOU LIQIANG | | Updated: 2023-12-08 22:09
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A view of a wind farm in Rongcheng, Shandong province. [LI XINJUN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

China is indispensable for the world's green transformation, considering the remarkable achievements the country has made in the renewables sector, international experts said on the sidelines of the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

They also called for Chinese companies to beef up their investments overseas to help further promote energy transition and address employment concerns in some countries.

Speaking at a recent event at the China Pavilion at the annual UN gathering, Erik Solheim, former executive director of the UN Environment Programme, stressed China's dominant role in the world in renewable energy development.

China's solar power sector is now 80 percent of the global total, Solheim said. The country also dominates many other sectors related to green transition, such as hydropower, wind energy, electric batteries, as well as electric cars and buses.

China likely has a 98 percent share of the electric bus market worldwide, he said.

He said China is an indispensable nation for global green transformation, adding, "If you want to promote green transformation in the world in the 21st century … no one can do it without China. To try to decouple from China would be an absolute catastrophe, everything will go much much slower."

He said, however, this gives China a lot of responsibilities. "China also needs to understand that it cannot just export, but it also must invest."

China boasts many of the world's largest renewable power companies, and these companies "have technology and muscles to invest", he continued.

"Chinese companies will have to invest abroad, not just sell abroad … because people are desperate for jobs everywhere," he said.

COP28 is being held in Dubai from Nov 30 to Tuesday.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said it has to be understood that a lot of achievements have been made in China regarding renewable energy development.

Birol particularly praised China's contribution to bringing down prices of clean energy equipment, saying it is of service to other countries.

Jennifer Morgan, Germany's special envoy for International Climate Action, said she is "obviously incredibly impressed" by renewable power development in China.

Morgan said she learned during her two visits to China this year that the country's capacity for renewable energy has been more than 10 times that seen in Europe's largest economy — Germany.

China's National Energy Administration said the installed capacity of renewable energy in China exceeded 1.3 billion kilowatts by the end of June, surpassing the installed capacity of coal-fired power for the first time.

"From what I'm hearing from your experts, you're going to be able to meet your 2030 target for wind and solar well ahead of schedule," she said.

That really further underlines China's role as a global powerhouse for renewables, she added.

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