Participating Nations can benefit from the shift to Clean Energy, Analysts Point Out

Achieving Green development is an important but arduous task for countries involved in the Belt & Road Initiative and various technologies could play an important role in helping them realize that target, Analysts said.

Xu Qinhua, Vice Dean of the National Academy of Development and Strategy and Dean of the National Academy of Belt & Road Green Development under the China International Cultural Exchange Center, said those Countries involved in the BRI are essential for the realization of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Most countries involved in the BRI are facing both tasks of developing their economies as well as tackling climate change and carbon reduction,” she said.

“What kind of development paths they will choose and how to protect the fragile ecology and environment is what we are concerned about right now”

Nearly 2 billion people in the world lack clean energy, Xu said. Most of them are living in countries involved in the BRI while facing the dual challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governments need urgently to find green recovery measures to save economies ravaged by the disease and to preserve the environment.

The Belt & Road Green Development Conference was recently held for countries involved in the BRI to share their best practices of green development and boost global cooperation in green recovery.

China will enhance the nationally-determined-contribution targets and strive to hit peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and hit carbon neutrality before 2060.

Xu said it is very brave for China to make that pledge, and at the core of China’s green development strategy is to embark on a green, low-carbon cycle and sustainable development path while ensuring economic and social development.

“China has to reduce investment in coal-fired power plants while satisfying its increasing need for energy, which could be challenging,” she said.

Koh King Kee, president of the Centre For New Inclusive Asia, a Kuala Lumpur-based think tank, said that China has made remarkable achievements in the field of green development, for which it has been well recognized by the world.

It has created a man-made forest the size of Germany since it started a tree planting campaign nearly 40 years ago, he said. “China is now at the cutting edge of solar technology and low-carbon transport, and leads the world in embracing non-carbon renewables such as wind, solar, and geothermal biomass,” he said.

Substantial Stage

Koh said China has much to offer in complementing the green development efforts of ASEAN Countries.

Xu added that the global energy transition has reached a substantial stage, and the cost-efficiency of clean energy is quite high. But it is widely recognized the current green development strategy that developed countries have adopted does not work for developing countries.

In recent years, China has invested a lot in smart grids, battery technology, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage. They are examples of technologies that will be important now and in future energy systems, she said.

Countries involved in the BRI also need to build energy systems that can cope with external shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s renewable energy has shown remarkable resilience to the epidemic.

But in some other developing countries, many renewable energy projects were suspended or postponed because of transport interruptions and travel restrictions.

“More support is required for the development of local manufacturing capacity and to train local skills for renewable energy,” Xu said.