What is Low Carbon Economy?
Low carbon economy is a kind of economic model featuring low energy consumption,low pollution and low emission, human being’s another big leap forward after agricultural civilization and industrial civilization. The fundamental issue of low carbon economy is to realize high efficiency of energy use, development of clean energy, pursuit of green GDP, and the core matter is technological innovation in energy production , emission reduction, industrial structure and institution, and the transformation of human’s outlook on survival and development.
The idea of low carbon economy is raised in the backdrop of great challenge on human’s survival and development posed by global warming. With constant increase of global population and economic scale, people are more and more awared of the environmental problems broght about by energy use. Now, people are clear of not only the impact of smog, chemical smog and acid rain, but also the indisputable fact that the increase of CO2 in the air causes global climate change.
In this background, such concepts or policies as carbon footprint, low carbon economy, low carbin technology, low carbon development, low carbin living manner, low carbon society, low carbon city and low carbon world came into being. The great revolution in energy, economy and values may blaze a new path toward ecological civilization, i.e., abandon the traditional growth model of the 20th century, and apply directly technological innovation and its mechanism of the new century, by running a low carbon economy model and living a low carbon life, accomplish the sustainable development of the society.
As a kind of cutting-edg economic concept enjoying wide social recognition, there is no established definition of low carbon economy.
Development of the definition of low carbon economy
Low carbon economy was first officially referred in the UK 2003 White Paper on Energy titled Low Carbon Economy-----The Future of Our Energy. As an island country without affluent resources, yet the pioneer of the First Industrial Revolution, UK was fully awared of the challenges posed by energy security and climate change. It changed from a country enjoying sufficient domestic energy suppply to one dependent on import. At the same pace, it is estimated that by 2020, 80% of its energy need have to be met by import. Meanwhile, threats posed by cliamte change is an imperative matter.
In 2006, Nocolas, ex-chief economist of World Bank pointed out in his report that an annual investment of 1% of the current GDP in low carbon economy will avoid in the future an annual 5% to 20% GDP, which explains his calling for the transformation to low carbon economy.
In July, 2009, US senate filed Draft Law on Low Carbon Economy, which indicated that low carbon economy might be the strategic choice for the future.
Dec. 3, 2007, the UN Climate Change Conference was held in Bali Island of Thailand, and on 15th, it is approved to negotiate on new arrangements reacting to climate change before 2009, and set down Bali Island Roadmap which caught worldwide attention. The roadmap had clarified the agenda for 2009 negotiation on reacting to climate change, in which developed countries are dutied to reduce their greenhouse gas by 25% to 40% before 2020. The roadmap plays an positive role and is a milestone in pushing the world into low carbon economy.
UN Environmental Planning Administration determined that the theme of 2008 World Environment Day on Jun. 5 is Transform Traditional Concept and Promote Low Carbon Economy.
In Jul. 2008, the 8 members on G8 Summit agreed to work together with other signatories under UN Climate Change Framework Pact to reduce greenhouse gas by 50% by 2050.
To systematically talk about low carbon economy, it shoud dated back to 1992 UN Climate Change Framework Pact and 1997 Kyoto Treaty.
China in Low Carbon Economy
At the end of 2006, Ministry of Science and Technology, China Meteorology Administration, NDRC, National Environmental Administration jointly released China’s first National Report on Climate Change.
In Jun. 2007, China officially released the National Scheme Reacting to Climate Change.
In Jul. 2007, Premire Wen Jiabao presided over consecutively the First Meeting of Leadership for National Reaction to Climate Change and Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction, studying and deploying duties in reacting to climate change, energy conservation and emission reduction.
Dec. 26, 2007, State Council News Office released the white paper titled China’s Situation of Energy and policies, emphasized the diversification of energy, and listed renewable energy development rather than coal as an important part of the country’s energy development strategies.
Jan. 2008, Tsinghua University took the lead to establish low carbon economy academy, focusing on deep and systematic study in low carbon economy, low carbon policies and related strategies, acting as the think tank of China as well as developing renewable economy and accomplishing sustainable development.
Sep. 8, 2007, president Hu Jintao solemnly gave four proposals having bearing on people of china, Asia, and the whole world in large, in the 15th summit of APEC, in the spirit of being responsible for human being and the future.. In the speech, he referred to carbon for several times, and he pointed out that, we should improve the awareness of the public so that every citizen can do something for the improvement of the society. President Hu proposed to establish Asian-Pacific Network on Forest Recovery and Sustainable Management, which will increase the forest coverage and slow down climate change.
In the same month, minister Wan Gang of Ministry of Science and Technology called for the development of low carbon economy in Annual Meeting of China’s Scientif Association.
During the period of CPC and CPPCC in 2008, CPPCC member Wu Xiaoqing put on agenda the topic of low carbon economy, who believed that whether China would be a leading power in the future decades of years depends on mostly whether China have the ability to adjust to low carbon economy, so China has to take quick action to handle this kind of challenges. He proposed to develop fast the low carbon economy and launch researching work on making breakthroughs and execute trials.
Jun. 27, 2008, Party secretary Hu Jintao stressed at the study meeting of Political Bureau, that we should be highly resposible to our nation and the whole world, realize thoroughly the importance and imperativeness of adjusting to climate change, follow unswervingly the way of sustainable develoment, take policies and measures in force, improve in all aspects the ablity to handle climate change, so as to make constant contribution to the great cause of sustainable development of the world.