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National Green Competitiveness Forum 2014

Herausforderungen und Perspektiven für Chinas grüne Entwicklung

Within the framework of the National Green Competitiveness Forum 2014, held by KAS partner ECO-NOMY on, KAS Shanghai assisted to hold the sub forum on “The Challenge of Future Energy”.

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The topic of the plenary session was China’s "National Green Competitiveness". During the session, several approaches to solve current pressing environmental problems like air pollution and land exploitation were explained.

Professor DAI Xingzi, from the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at Fudan University, gave the introductory speech and explained his view point on further ecological development: key is the improvement of human capital; significant changes in the environment are only possible, if people are willing to change their life styles.

Takuma OURA, of the Kitakyushu Business Promotion Office in Shanghai, and Manuel SCHERFER, of the German Energy Center & College, illustrated solution approaches from developed countries. Mr. OURA showed how the previously stifling air pollution in Japan’s industrial region Kitakyushu could be eliminated by changes in policy, which aimed to promote a modernization of production sites and recycling. Manuel SCHERFER introduced the aims, successes and problems of the German energy transition (Energiewende). Other contributions came from Ailin HUANG, Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency, and SUN Haiyan, co-founder and chief editor of ECO-NOMY Magazine. Both agreed that changes are not necessarily the result of expensive investments; small actions on the individual level can already have an important impact. Miss HUANG explained the concept of “cradle to cradle”, developed by Michael Baumgart and William McDonough in 2002. Their principle: the “waste” of one product can serve as the source material for a new product. They argue that, even with a growing world population, through more efficient use and recycling of materials and resources environmental destruction can be reversed and consumption could have a positive impact.

The second panel dealt with the topic “How to control Air Pollution? A Roadmap for Controlling Haze”. According to the speakers, the main sources of smog – the word coining from a hybrid of smoke and fog – are heavy industry, energy production and emissions from the transportation sector. Therefore, solution approaches that were introduced addressed three areas: 1. More regulations for industrial producers, urging them to modernize factories, e.g. adding catalysts to funnels; 2. Change of the energy production mix, aiming at using less fossil resources like coal and oil; 3. Expansion of public transportation systems, pulling private cars from the roads, increasing the number of electric vehicles, give priority to cyclists and pedestrians. In addition to the key areas, other possibilities to face the wide-spread air pollution were explained. Central is the inclusion of urban planning, promoting more green areas in residential districts, more energy efficient buildings and a shorter distance between residential districts and industrial areas to avoid private commuting.

During the panel „The Challenge of Future Energy“ representatives from academia and enterprises spoke on the current and future perspectives on sustainable energy politics. In a first presentation, MENG Xiangan, Deputy Director of the China Renewable Energy Society, introduced China’s efforts to promote the use of renewable energies. He referred to the difficulty of escaping the dependency on fossil energy sources in times of unprecedented economic growth and demand. The aim to increase the share of renewables up to 20% of the energy mix by 2020 is honorable; in international comparison, however, China is trailing behind. Prof. JIANG Zhujun, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, suggested a revision of taxes and incentives aimed at influencing energy consumption. So far only high income households benefitted from subsidies. At the same time, effective efforts to capture people’s awareness for an environmentally friendly and efficient use of energy are still rare. Various representatives from companies, which develop technologies for a more environmentally friendly and less pollutant energy production, introduced techniques, which proved innovative potential. The examples showed possibilities to save energy and highlighted the importance of innovations in the private sector.

Ongoing urbanization and rising living standards will substantially increase the demand for energy resources in the next decades. Intelligent and reasonable models are consequently of great importance, if China wants to take the path of sustainable development.

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