As a rare heat wave grills China, an ongoing global forum themed on ecological civilization in southwest China's Guizhou Province became all the more relevant as parts of its discussions are dedicated to climate change.
Eco Forum Global Guiyang 2023, China's only national-level global forum themed on ecological civilization, kicked off on Saturday in Guiyang, the provincial capital.
This year's event, themed "pursuing modernization of harmony between humanity and nature – promoting green and low-carbon development," has attracted over 2,500 participants with both online and offline activities.
"I've already felt the consequences of the rising global temperatures," said Danny Alexander, vice president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), when addressing a sub-forum. He noted that this summer, many parts of China are experiencing heat waves, and terrible flooding took place in Pakistan last year.
Since June, many regions in China, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and Shandong, have logged high temperatures surpassing 40 degrees Celsius, as the meteorological departments continue to issue high-temperature alerts. The much cooler weather in Guiyang, however, offers the forum participants coming from elsewhere in China a respite from the scorching summer heat.
Tamas Hajba, senior advisor for China and head of the OECD Beijing Office, told Xinhua during the event that China's role in tackling climate change is very important, adding that the OECD and China have been cooperating on climate and environment for many years.
He added that China has a lot of experiences and a lot to share with the world as China is a leading country in the application of renewable energies in the world, like solar panel, new energy vehicles (NEVs) and batteries.
"Even more importantly, China has managed to bring down the prices of renewable energies, in other words, to commercialize renewable energies much faster and much earlier than other countries," Hajba added.
China has announced that it will peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. To achieve that, Chinese authorities have introduced a raft of measures to boost the use of renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions.
Remarkable progress has been recorded. Data from the National Energy Administration showed that China's installed clean energy capacity saw expansion in the first five months of this year. By the end of May, the installed capacity of wind power had risen 12.7 percent year on year to approximately 380 million kilowatts, while that of solar energy stood at about 450 million kilowatts, a year-on-year increase of 38.4 percent.
China has produced over 20 million NEVs so far, with the 20 millionth NEV rolling off the production line earlier this month in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province.
China is also the fastest greening country in the world, which can be attributed to the country's afforestation efforts and ecological protection and restoration. Official data shows that during the 2012-2022 period, China's accumulative afforestation area reached about 64 million hectares, while about 11 million hectares of grassland were improved, and more than 800,000 million hectares of wetlands were added or restored.
Alexander said China's carbon peak and neutrality pledges, together with it driving forward the climate transition, will be critical contributions to the world, both in terms of emission reductions and experience shared with others.
"Climate change is a defining issue of our times, and we are at a critical juncture," said James George, deputy resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in China, adding that conferences like Eco Forum Global Guiyang 2023, which bring new ideas and new thinking, are critical.
(With input from Xinhua)