How far is China’s energy transformation in the first year of “carbon neutral”

Recently, carbon peaking and carbon neutralization “brush the screen”. On March 18, the results of China’s carbon peaking and carbon neutralization were released and the seminar put forward for the first time that “the goal of carbon emission reduction can be achieved through the construction of China’s energy Internet”. One day later, the industry department of the national development and Reform Commission hosted a seminar on carbon peaking in the steel, non-ferrous metals and building materials industries, and organized relevant departments to actively prepare carbon peaking plans. On March 21, at the high level Forum on China’s development, Yi Gang, governor of the people’s Bank of China, once again made a speech on this issue, saying that the goal of “double carbon” costs a lot of money, and the realization of carbon neutrality still depends on market funds. For China, the goal of “double carbon” is not only the vision of energy conservation and emission reduction, but also the creation and possibility of many institutional mechanisms from scratch at the industry level.

Towards “30-60”

In recent days, the concept of “30-60” has been repeatedly mentioned, the goal of “double carbon” has been upgraded to a national strategy, and the first year of “carbon neutral” has officially opened. The system plan of “achieving carbon emission reduction targets through the construction of China’s energy Internet” put forward on March 18 clearly will promote the clean alternative of energy development and energy consumption; realize the clean leading of energy production and energy use; decouple the development of energy and electricity from carbon emission, and decouple the economic and social development from carbon emission.

Before this, the enterprise has long been moved by the wind. On March 1, State Grid, China’s largest energy company, announced its action plan of “carbon peaking and carbon neutralization” during the 14th Five Year Plan period in Beijing; on March 11, the Three Gorges group also said that it would strive to achieve carbon peaking in 2023 and carbon neutralization in 2040.

According to the statistics of “two provinces, cities, Beijing, Hubei, Hebei, Hebei, and other provinces and cities in the country, the” two carbon targets “have not been fully disclosed for at least 25 years.

For example, Beijing has proposed a clear carbon neutral schedule and roadmap to promote energy restructuring and energy conservation in key areas such as transportation and construction. During the fourteenth Five Year Plan period, carbon emissions have decreased steadily, and carbon neutral has taken solid steps, making a Beijing demonstration to deal with climate change. Shanghai has proposed to launch the eighth round of three-year action plan for environmental protection to speed up the construction of the national carbon emission trading market. Zhejiang, Hubei, Hunan, Chongqing and other places proposed to carry out low-carbon industrial park and “zero carbon” system pilot construction.

In fact, since 2020, China has carried out six low-carbon provinces (districts), 81 low-carbon cities, 52 low-carbon industrial parks, more than 400 low-carbon communities and 8 low-carbon pilot towns, and has initially formed a multi-level and comprehensive low-carbon pilot system.

“Big energy consumer”

Carbon peaking, carbon neutralization and heat return, but there are many obstacles to realize it. During the seminar, Liu Zhenya, chairman of the China Federation of electric power enterprises, also pointed out that in order to achieve the “double carbon” goal, China needs to change its energy development mode and realize low-carbon, decarbonization and clean energy system, but it is not easy.

From China’s energy consumption data, energy structure adjustment is still imminent. According to the data released recently by the National Bureau of statistics, the total energy consumption in 2020 will be 4.98 billion tons of standard coal, an increase of 2.2% compared with that in 2019. Among them, coal consumption accounted for 56.8% of the total energy consumption, which was 0.9 percentage point lower than that of the previous year, but the energy structure dominated by coal has not been fundamentally changed.

“In China’s energy structure, 60% is still coal, which may gradually decline in the future, but it may still account for more than 40% in the next three or five years. In the short term, based on China’s energy structure and energy endowment, it is still necessary to maintain a relative balance between the use of traditional energy and renewable energy. ” Miao Ping, President of Beijing low carbon clean energy research institute, believes that blindly raising costs may make it difficult for some industrial enterprises to maintain. As an enterprise, it can try to replace coal-fired power generation or gas-fired power generation with renewable energy, but this is a long process.

In addition, as a big manufacturing country, China is also the country with the highest steel output in the world, and the pressure to achieve the “double carbon” goal is also self-evident. According to statistics, China’s crude steel output exceeded 1 billion tons for the first time last year, accounting for 57% of global steel output. However, among the 31 categories of manufacturing industry, its carbon emission also ranks first, accounting for about 15% of the total emission.

How to transform?

“To achieve carbon neutrality requires a huge amount of investment. We should guide the financial system to provide the necessary investment and financing support in a market-oriented way.” Yi Gang pointed out. According to the calculation of Tsinghua University, according to the goal oriented transformation path of controlling the global average temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius, about 100 trillion yuan of new investment will be needed in the energy system from 2020 to 2050, accounting for 1.5% – 2% of GDP. To achieve the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, about 138 trillion yuan of new investment will be needed, more than 2.5% of annual GDP.

At present, the government has been trying to solve the urgent problem of transformation through financial allocation. The draft annual budget released recently mentioned that it supports the strengthening of pollution control and ecological construction. Among them, 27.5 billion yuan was allocated for the prevention and control of air pollution, an increase of 10%, with the focus on supporting clean heating in winter in the north and winning the battle to defend the blue sky. Support the work of carbon peaking and carbon neutralization. We will further support the development of renewable energy such as wind power and photovoltaic, the exploitation and utilization of unconventional natural gas, and increase the supply of renewable and clean energy.

However, Yi Gang also pointed out that “such a huge demand for funds, government funds can only cover a small part, and the gap needs to be made up by market funds.”. Qi Hailian, President of Beijing Teyi sunshine new energy Co., Ltd., said that due to historical reasons, the gene of China’s planned economy is too deep, making the development structure of some traditional industries in China unbalanced. At present, the lack of traditional industry development in China is the real market-oriented thinking and mechanism.

At present, the national carbon emission trading market is about to open. On March 18, Lu Xinming, deputy director of the Department of climate change under the Ministry of ecological environment, revealed that he would speed up the construction of the national carbon market and strive to issue the “Interim Regulations on the management of national carbon emission trading” this year. However, Qi Ye, a professor at the school of public administration of Tsinghua University, said publicly that the carbon market can indeed improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness, but the key factor that makes the carbon market really work is still the price. One of the main difficulties affecting the active carbon market in China is to solve the problem of carbon emission measurement and monitoring.

Beijing Business Daily reporter Tao Feng Liu Hanlin

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