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中国能减排40亿吨,美国何如? Can the US match China’s efforts?

11/25/09

–Mengxiao Han, Nanjing, China

US president Barack Obama’s first visit to China and his announcement with Chinese president Hu Jintao have renewed hopes for international climate talks, as both countries reaffirmed their commitment to a successful outcome in Copenhagen.

In order to reach a legally binding global deal in Copenhagen, what we need now is political will and leadership, particularly from the United States and China. The key to reaching this lies in fostering cooperation in areas like clean energy and low-carbon technology between the two countries, with an ultimate goal of setting concrete long-term emissions reduction targets

Opponents of the United States signing a binding agreement in Copenhagen have continually argued that they will not take action because China is not moving to cut emissions. But it turns out that China is actually doing a surprising amount to address climate change.

In 2006, China reached the 20% energy intensity target it set for 2010, a goal that will reduce carbon emissions by 1.5 gigatons. This is nearly four times larger than EU member countries’ combined emission reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. The Chinese government will continue this trend beyond 2010, reaching a 50% reduction in energy intensity by 2020 from 2005 levels. By 2020, China will obtain 15% of primary energy from renewable sources, which will help cut four gigatonnes off its annual emissions compared with 2005 levels. This year China is expected to reach the world’s second-largest installed wind power capacity, and the largest installation of wind turbines. It is already the world’s largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaics, and has more than 60% of the world’s solar water heaters.

But can the United States match China’s four-gigatonne emissions reduction? The country will not be able to match this target without considerable effort. If any global deal is to be reached, the United States will have to set similarly ambitious targets that show the world it is willing to lead.

For the United States and China, more strategic and practical cooperation in clean energy and low-carbon technology is an excellent start to bridging a very dangerous divide. Success in  low-carbon development has the potential to dramatically change our future – both in terms of starting the zero-carbon revolution and keeping the temperature rise below two degrees.

在美国总统奥巴马的第一次访华中,中国国家主席胡锦涛与奥巴马重申了双方对达成一个国际气候谈判协议的承诺和共同的愿望。在上周新加坡APEC(亚太经合组织)会议后,关于温室气体减排的前景一度落入悲观情绪的情况下,这确实是一个令人振奋的进展。简单而言,如果想要把全球气温升高幅度控制在2℃以下,世界需要一个具有法律约束力的全球协议。我们现在需要的是政治意愿和领导力的示范作用——特别是美国和中国。达到这一目标的关键是促进中美在清洁能源和低碳技术的等领域的合作,最终建立一个更具体的长期减排目标。

中美两国在过去几年间的气候变化对话已经明确了很多具有共同利益的领域,双方在绿色技术、低碳企业的技术交流与投资等方面的合作都在迅速扩大。 然而在美国,仍然有人反对美国在哥本哈根签署具有法律约束力的协议,辩称因为中国并未努力减排,所以他们也将拒绝采取行动。 但是实际上,中国已经为应对气候变化做出了令人瞩目的努力,并计划在未来采取更多行动。

在2006年,中国宣布即将在2010年实现能源强度降低20%的目标,将因此减少15亿吨的碳排放量。这是所有国家中规模最大的减排行动,几乎是欧盟成员国在京都议定书中所承诺的减排量总和的四倍。2010年之后,中国政府还将继续减排,以在2020年实现能源强度比2005年降低50%,或实现等量的碳排放强度目标。到2020年,中国一次能源中的15%将来自可再生能源,这将在2005年的排放量基础上,减少多达40亿吨的巨额二氧化碳排放。考虑到中国可再生能源快速发展的趋势,可再生能源在一次能源使用中的比例可能会上升到接近20%,相应减少的二氧化碳排放量可能更高。到2009年末,中国将拥有仅次于美国的世界第二大风电装机量和2009年世界最多的年新增风力涡轮机装机量。同时,中国也拥有世界最大的光伏发电设备生产能力。在光热应用上,中国安装了世界60%以上的太阳能热水器,2008年新增安装太阳能热水器的数量占全世界新增量的80%。

尽管取得了这些令人鼓舞的成就,我们仍然相信中国可以而且应该做得更多。中国最终会超越美国成为世界最大的碳排放国。中国必须积极参与国际气候变化谈判, 促进低碳科技的发展和传播。长期而言,中国需要做好准备应对未来的碳排放峰值,以及碳排放量下降将引发的问题,积极适应全世界的气候目标。 但同时我们不能忘记,中国的人均碳排放量仍然比美国平均水平低4.5倍。在“历史碳债务”中,相对于美国29%的影响,中国的影响也小的多,估计仅有8%。

中美两国在清洁能源和低碳技术领域内的战略和务实的合作是在危险鸿沟上架起沟通桥梁的良好开端。中美在低碳发展上的成功合作将可能真正地改写我们的未来 ——不管是启动零碳革命(ZeroCO2Rev)或是将全球温升控制在工业革命前两摄氏度以内。

还有不到2周的时间——世界各国领导人,包括奥巴马总统和胡锦涛主席将面临一个关键的选择:放弃还是支持在哥本哈根达成一个强有力的成果。为了实现这一成果,美国和中国必须找到双赢的合作方法。因此,最重要的是奥巴马总统与中国紧密协作,共同建立安全、稳定和具有活力的低碳投资环境,实现两国向低碳经济的顺利转型。

(参考内容:中外对话)

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