China will continue to implement policies and measures to support clean energy development and promote harmony between people and nature, the nation's leaders said on Wednesday.
They also urged other countries to improve global mechanisms to address climate change; strengthen innovation and cooperation in clean energy, support social and business participation in green industries; and share technologies and experiences with developing countries.
China attaches great importance to developing clean energy because it plays a crucial role in reforming energy structure, maintaining energy security and building an ecological civilization, President Xi Jinping said in a letter to the opening ceremony of the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial and second Mission Innovation Ministerial energy-related forums being held in Beijing.
He said China is committed to the path of peaceful, open and green development, and will continue to promote a green lifestyle, harmony between people and nature, and cooperation with other nations to push for sustainable development around the world.
Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, who hosted the ceremony, said China has achieved many results in clean energy development thanks to reforms and innovations.
Last year, 64 percent of China's electricity was generated using fossil fuels. That's 13 percentage points lower than the proportion in 2007, Zhang said, adding that "while coal continues to be the centerpiece, China's energy structure has witnessed relatively big changes over the years".
The biggest change has been wind power's share in generating electricity, which rose from 0.58 percent in 2007 to 9.03 percent last year. Nuclear energy also saw a slight rise, from 1.23 percent to 2.04 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
China has also made great strides in green industries and technologies, especially in the cleaner use of coal, Zhang said.
It opened the world's first production line that converts coal into ethanol, the main chemical ingredient in alcohol, to be used as clean fuel. China has pledged to continue cutting substandard coal capacity and increasing fuel efficiency, Zhang said.
The latest progress report from the State Council said that by May, China had cut 68.97 million metric tons in coal capacity — 46 percent of this year's goal.
As for new energy vehicles, China is the world's largest market in sales and supporting infrastructure, Zhang added. By the end of last year, the country had more than 1 million registered new energy vehicles on the road — half the global total — and 150,000 charging stations.
"Green industries will be our economy's new growth point," the vice-premier said.
Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said Chinese leaders understand that going green is in their best interest, and it is reassuring to see China so committed to this goal for so many years. Figueres, in Beijing for the meetings, is behind Mission 2020, which has brought together a group of leading climate and business experts to push for meaningful climate action by 2020.
Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission, said it is important for the European Union to work with China in fighting climate change, while politicians and business leaders around the world need to understand that spending for green technologies is not just an expenditure, but an investment in the future.