Nations urged to join efforts for energy security

2023-02-27 10:12:46China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Workers install a wind power turbine in Zhangye, Gansu province. (PHOTO by YANG YONGWEI/FOR CHINA DAILY)

As the changing geopolitical landscape continues to threaten energy security, countries need to work together to secure energy supplies and promote new energy, experts said.

"The rise of protectionism and unilateralism is steering global politics away from multilateralism and the rules-based international system, leading to a deterioration in the notion of peace and people-centric development," said Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at Asian Vision Institute, a think tank based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The traditional use of fossil fuels and increasing energy prices triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict underscore the need to shift away from nonrenewable energy sources toward greener and cleaner energy sources, Mengdavid said.

Noting that the spirit of the China-proposed "building a community with a shared future for mankind" is based on openness, inclusiveness, mutual respect and concerns for the Earth, he said this is crucial because there can be no respect for oneself without respect for the planet we live on.

President Xi Jinping first presented the concept of "building a community with a shared future for mankind" to the world during his visit to Russia in March 2013.

"Mankind, by living in the same global village in the same era where history and reality meet, has increasingly emerged as a community of common destiny in which everyone has in himself a little bit of others," Xi said in his speech, which marked the debut of the concept.

In January, Zhao Chenxin, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that China has upheld the vision of a human community with a shared future, has always been a major participant in, contributor to and torchbearer of the global movement for building an eco-friendly civilization, and has contributed its wisdom and strength to global sustainable development.

"China is among the countries with the fastest reduction in energy intensity," Zhao said at a news conference during the release of a white paper on "China's Green Development in the New Era".

The proportion of clean energy sources in total energy consumption increased from 14.5 percent in 2012 to 25.5 percent in 2021, and the proportion of coal decreased from 68.5 percent to 56 percent over the same period, according to the white paper.

China has also been cooperating with other nations to enhance energy security and advance sustainable development worldwide.

For example, during the first China-Arab States Summit held in December in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, both sides agreed to make all-out efforts to build a China-Arab community with a shared future.

In an outline of the comprehensive cooperation plan between the two sides, a total of 182 cooperation measures in 18 fields, including energy security, were covered.

Chen Dongmei, a research fellow at the Riyadh-based King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, or KAPSARC, said that clean energy technology "is playing a crucial role" in achieving global net-zero emission targets.

"Major economies are stepping up their efforts to expand their use of green energy, low-carbon fuels, and carbon capture and storage, with the aims of advancing net-zero transitions, strengthening energy security and competing in the new energy economy," Chen said.

"The bilateral platform established under the Sino-Saudi high-level joint committee for the Belt and Road Initiative, alongside their cooperation on energy, can help deepen their cooperation on a circular carbon economy," Chen added.

According to the researcher, it could also help the Gulf Cooperation Council members build a regional hub for carbon capture utilization and storage, and hydrogen.

A case in point is how Riyadh-based ACWA Power has benefited from its widely established partnerships with Chinese entities in power generation and water desalination, Chen said.

ACWA Power is a leading developer, investor and operator of a portfolio of power generation, renewable energy and desalinated water production plants in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Amid heightened awareness that geopolitics will continue to threaten energy security, developing countries have not lost sight that securing dependable and affordable supplies of energy continues to be a major policy goal for almost all countries.

This was part of the opening message of KAPSARC President Fahad Alajlan at the 44th International Conference of the International Association for Energy Economics, held in Riyadh from Feb 4 to Feb 9, the first such event to be held in the Middle East and North Africa region.

"Securing demand at stable prices also constitutes the central policy aim of energy exporters. So, we have both energy importers and energy exporters looking at issues of supply and demand security," Alajlan said.

Mengdavid from the Asian Vision Institute said that China, a world leader in the development and use of new energy, has been playing a pivotal role and actively participating in the United Nations Development Programme and the UN Environment Programme.

"To advance the global economy, multilateralism and free trade, China's numerous initiatives to promote economic development through Belt and Road, green economy, and hard and soft connectivity are crucial," he added.


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