China's pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060 entails $21 trillion in investment
Published: Sep 06, 2021 12:36 AM
Photo taken on Feb. 24, 2021 shows a molten-salt solar thermal power plant in Dunhuang, northwest China's Gansu Province. (Photo: Xinhua)

Photo taken on February 24, 2021 shows a molten-salt solar thermal power plant in Dunhuang, northwest China's Gansu Province. Photo: Xinhua

China's pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060 would entail investments totaling 136 trillion yuan ($21.07 trillion), according to industry estimates revealed on Sunday during the ongoing China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS).

It is easy to achieve the carbon dioxide emissions peak, but the goal of reaching carbon neutrality would be difficult as 60 percent of the technologies underpinning carbon neutrality remain in the conceptual stage. A massive injection of capital is needed as well as support of basic research, Zhang Shaogang, Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said at a forum on carbon neutrality during the CIFTIS. 

The six-day annual event began to open to the public on Sunday and will conclude on Tuesday.

The country ought to explore a low carbon path that suits its own development and rely on technological innovation to maintain competitive advantages; thereby ensuring the development initiative is "firmly grasped in our hands," Zhang said.

The 136 trillion yuan required for the carbon neutrality push suggests other funding sources additional to government spending, mentioned Zhang, adding that substantial social capital will be needed to have the market play a bigger part in funding the pledge. 

The country's carbon trading market was forecast to hit 300 billion yuan, arguably a blue ocean with enormous opportunities.  

In a fresh sign of progress, Chinese digital mapping and navigation firm, AutoNavi, inked a deal on Saturday during the annual services trade fair  featuring 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions  from green transport with the Beijing Municipal Road and Bridge Building Material Group Co. This carbon trading deal is the first of its kind globally. 

The carbon neutral green technology services sector was one of the highlights at this year's CIFTIS where a variety of low carbon technologies, clean energy applications, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and utilization, carbon sink and ecological construction and carbon market services are being shown. The event offers a glimpse at what is envisioned to underpin the country's goal of reaching its peak in carbon emissions by 2030 before being carbon neutral by 2060.

Among the exhibitors is French energy giant Schneider Electric which launched its carbon neutrality consulting service at the event. The new service ranges from top-level planning to implementation, aiming to help Chinese companies accelerate their carbon neutrality process. 

"At present, China is undergoing a critical period of carbon neutrality," Yin Zheng, Executive Vice President of Schneider Electric and President of Schneider Electric China, said in a statement shared with the Global Times.

Reputing carbon neutrality as a systematic project "that can be achieved only by cooperation from all parties, the CIFTIS, an indication of China's long-term commitment in openness and cooperation, offers the company a significant platform for communicating and exhibiting, said Yin.

With the process of China's new development, "service from China" will gradually attract more market opportunities, he commented.