Low Carbon Leadership Network: China’s Green Five-Year-Plan – How Can International Cooperation Contribute to the Development of a Green Economy in China?

The China Low Carbon Leadership Network is a communication platform and includes a series of networking and consultation events involving the climate change sector in China. It is jointly organized by the China Carbon Forum (CCF) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. ‘China’s Green Five-Year-Plan – How Can International Cooperation Contribute to the Development of a Green Economy in China’ is the fourth event of the platform.

19th May, 2011

Location: Grand Hotel, Beijing

‘China’s Green Five-Year-Plan: How Can International Cooperation Contribute to the Development of a Green Economy?’ event fostered a thoughtful discussion on the impact of China’s 12th Five Year Plan on greener development. The new plan, which was passed in January 2011, is in effect until 2015. Featured speakers were:

• Dr. Astrid Skala-Kuhmann, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
• Mr. SU Wei, Director General, NDRC, Climate Change Division
• Mr. Dirk Moens, Secretary General, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC)
• Dr. Michael Schaefer, German Ambassador to China, European Union
• Mr. Jonathan Watts, Correspondent, The Guardian (Moderator)
• Dr. Anton Smitsendonk, Chairman, China Carbon Forum

The discussion was subject to the Chatham House rule.

When discussing the environmental significance of the new plan, the speakers noted that the 12th Five Year Plan is the first Five Year Plan to have an entire chapter dedicated to the issue of climate change, signaling China’s unprecedented recognition that climate change has become a strategic issue for social and economic development. The importance of the new plan was further highlighted by the observation that the chapter’s theme of green, low-carbon development and ambitious new energy targets would serve as a guide for the development of the overall economy.

In addition to addressing the significance of the 12th Five Year Plan for the Chinese economy, the panelists described Germany as a complementary partner of China for action on climate change. The German Government’s unique, new “Energy Concept” was mentioned as a measure that would guide environmentally sound, reliable and affordable energy until 2050. Germany aims to phase in renewable energy to 60% of the overall energy mix and 80% of all electric power by 2050.

There was agreement among the speakers that the Five-Year Plan opens new, win-win market opportunities for the business world. Some commented that work was still needed to address existing barriers for foreign business, and the Five-Year Plan was a missed opportunity to leverage investment capital. Overall, a call was made for business to be “participants” and “practitioners” in the implementation of the plan and China’s green, low-carbon development.

Over 80 people from foreign embassies and institutions, Chinese government, NGOs, and industry attended the event. Participants engaged in lively Q&A with the speakers after the panel discussion, and many lingered long afterward to network and discuss the topics of the evening.

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