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译:Low-carbon logic

来源: 时间:2010-11-9 8:31:00 点击:

Beyond international efforts to cut carbon emissions, China has its own reasons for shifting to a green economy. It’s not a question of if, but how fast, writes Pan Jiahua.


Low-carbon development in China is not just about reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to combat climate change. It is also an essential strategic move for building a sustainable society, ensuring energy security and promoting environmental protection.

China lacks oil and has little natural gas, but it is rich in coal. The country’s vehicle-ownership rate is currently just 50 cars per thousand people – less than one fifteenth of the rate in the United States, and one tenth of that in Europe and Japan. Even so, China has to import half of the oil it consumes. Data from BP shows the country’s identified oil reserves are only sufficient to meet demand for 11.3 years. Natural-gas reserves will last three times as long, but still only 32.3 years, compared to 60.4 years for global reserves. China has greater quantities of coal, but at current extraction rates, these resources will last only 41 years – one third of the 122-year estimated lifespan of global reserves.

With a population of 1.3 billion, a huge economy and massive energy demand, China clearly cannot sit back and rely on world markets.

Meanwhile, China’s coal-mining industry damages groundwater systems, causes geological disasters and encounters frequent accidents, paying a high price in human lives. And the sulphur, nitrates, heavy metals, dust and solid waste associated with burning coal take a heavy environmental toll. For the sake of energy security, environmental protection and a sustainable society, China needs a rapid and radical transformation. Even without the dangers presented by climate change, low and zero-carbon development is still an urgent requirement.

China has announced that, by 2020, the carbon-intensity of its economy will fall by 40% to 45% on 2005 levels and non-fossil fuel sources will account for 15% of all primary energy consumption. It has also set goals for carbon-fixation in forests. These are all targets for low-carbon economic growth – and they are challenging and binding. The carbon-intensity target only covers carbon dioxide produced in the burning of fossil fuels, and does not affect other greenhouse-gases. Judging by current progress on the 20% energy-saving target in China’s 11th Five Year Plan (2006 to 2010), these aims will be difficult to achieve. But it is clear that in the 12th Five Year Plan, which is currently being formulated, China will include goals for cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, with binding targets set for both provinces and industries in order to strengthen implementation.

The whole of Chinese society is already at work, making efforts to create low-carbon cities, communities, businesses and consumption patterns. There is, in fact, much more momentum on this matter in China than in developed countries. Growth of solar and wind power, for example, is happening much more rapidly here than in most rich nations.

But China’s low-carbon transformation needs strong support from the international community. As a developing nation, China’s energy consumption and carbon emissions are still increasing, presenting a challenge for global efforts to cut carbon dioxide output. Clearly, China’s pains to shift to a low-carbon economy will not be adequate on their own: the world needs to work together.

To a certain extent, finance is not the issue. China has money. Yes, developed nations have even more, but if those countries are unable to bring about an immediate low-carbon transformation at home, then no matter how wide they open their purses, they cannot do it in China either. Technological cooperation is more crucial it seems. Most important is that developed nations take the lead in low-carbon consumption and provide examples for others to follow. If people in the developed world can enjoy a high quality of life while producing little carbon, developing nations will be able to follow their lead, and may even do better.

China’s target for reduction of carbon-intensity is a relative target – a fall of 45%. If the Chinese economy continues to grow at 10% annually, overall greenhouse-gas emissions will still grow by 60% by 2020. Is there a conflict here with China’s commitment to a maximum global temperature rise of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as recognised in the Copenhagen Accord?

China’s low-carbon transformation must happen in accord with the stage and level of the country’s development. There is no precedent for what the country is attempting to do – namely, reduce carbon intensity by 40% to 45% over a fifteen-year period (2006 to 2020) that will also be a time of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. It is no easy task.

China has experienced three decades of economic reform, leading to average annual growth of 10%. It is currently in the late middle stages of industrialisation. In 2009, steel production reached 570 million tonnes and concrete production 1.65 billion tonnes – about 50% of global totals and levels which are adequate, or even excessive. China’s boom will eventually slow, and annual economic growth of 10% cease. In Germany, a mature economy, growth is stable at around 2%. As there is limited room for expansion or improvement in living standards, sustained growth such as that seen in developing nations or industrialising societies is impossible.

Moreover, China’s economic growth is starting to shift from expansion to an improvement in quality. The importance of the manufacturing industry is diminishing, while that of the services industry is increasing. This means that a similar rate of economic growth will result in a much smaller increase in energy demand. So while greenhouse-gas emissions will increase as China develops, this will not happen at a rate of 10% annually. China accepts the two-degree goal, and will naturally work with international society to achieve it.

And so China agrees with the Copenhagen Accord’s two-degree target, but not with longer term emission goals, such as a global target for 50% cuts by 2050. Why? China is cutting emissions along with the rest of the world, and hopes to see further reductions, but the aim of cutting emissions by half by 2050 lacks a basis in science and justice.

First, international emissions-reduction targets should start in the near term and work outwards. But developed nations have not set mid-term goals for 2020, and even if they had, the 2050 goal would be hard to achieve. There is no sense in talking about goals for 2050 but not for 2020. Second, there is still uncertainty surrounding the science linking the two-degree limit with a 50% cut in emissions by 2050 and more research is needed. If developed nations cut per-capita emissions by 80% from the current level of 12.6 tonnes per year, they will reach 2.5 tonnes, while developing nations fall by 20% from 2.6 to 2.1 tonnes. This is clearly unfair.

(译文如有出入请联系本会,来源于chinadialogue)

译   文:

中国低碳转型有内在动因

潘家华认为,一方面国际上日益要求各国合作减少碳排放,另一方面中国也有其发展绿色经济的内在动因。低碳转型不是转与不转的问题,而是如何加速的问题。


低碳转型:不是转与不转的问题,而是如何加速的问题

从战略上,中国发展低碳经济,不仅仅是为了应对全球气候变化,控制温室气体排放,同时也是可持续的需要、能源安全的需要、环境和生态保护的客观要求。中国化石能源的资源禀赋特征是缺油少气富煤炭。中国目前汽车拥有率约为每千人50辆,不足美国的1/15,欧盟日本的1/10。但石油进口已占石油消费总量的一半以上。根据英国石油公司的数据,中国石油探明贮量,只够满足11.3年的需要。中国天然气的出采比比石油高三倍,也只有32.3年,只有全球60.4年的一半。中国煤炭储量相对丰富,但贮采比按目前速率只可采41年,只有全球贮采比122年的1/3。中国13亿人口,庞大的经济规模,巨大的能源需求,中国不可能完全依赖世界市场。况且中国煤炭开采,破坏了地下水系,引发地质灾害,事故频发,生命代价巨大。煤炭燃烧排放的二氧化硫、氮氧化合物、重金属汞、粉尘和固体废弃物,引发巨大环境代价。能源安全、环境保护和可持续社会,要求中国迅速而大规模转型,即使没有气候变化,低碳、零碳发展也势在必行,迫在眉睫。

第二,中国向国际社会宣布的2020年单位GDP二氧化碳排放量比2005年水平降低40%-45%,非化石能源占一次能源消费总量15%,以及森林碳汇目标,是中国低碳增长转型的行动目标。中国的上述目标难度大,刚性约束强。碳强度目标只针对化石能源燃烧的二氧化碳,没有包括其他温室气体。从十一五20%节能目标的实现情况看,今后难度会不断增大。但是,非常明确的是,中国正在制定的“十二五”规划,会纳入温室气体减排目标,并分解到各省和主要行业部门,作为约束性指标加以落实。目前低碳城市、低碳社区、低碳企业、低碳消费已成为全社会的行动,中国低碳转型的声势,比发达国家还要浩大。中国风能,太阳能的增长速度远高于多数发达国家。

第三,中国的低碳增长转型,需要国际协同努力。作为发展中国家,中国的能源消费和碳排放仍将增长,对全球控制温室气体排放形成挑战。可见,中国的低碳转型,仅有中国的努力是不够的,需要全球共同努力。资金在某种程度上并不重要,中国有资金,发达国家有更雄厚的资金,如果发达国家的资金不能立即转型零碳,即使发达国家慷慨解囊,也不能在中国立即实现零碳。技术合作似乎比资金更重要,技术可以指明减排的潜力和方向,但更重要的是发达国家在低碳消费方面的率先垂范,如果发达国家人均低碳排放高生活品质,发展中国家必然效仿,可能做得更好。
 

转型进程:与发展阶段和水平相适应

中国碳强度减排是相对目标,即使中国碳强度下降45%,如果中国经济仍按10%的速度增长,中国在2020年温室气体排放总量还将增长60%,这与中国承诺的全球2°温升上限控制目标存在矛盾吗?

低碳转型必须与发展阶段和水平相适应。中国在15年间(2006-2020),尤其是在工业化、城市化的快速发展时期,将单位国内生产总值二氧化碳排放降低幅度高达40%-45%,目标高,难度大,历史上没有任何一个国家做到。中国改革开放30年,经济以年均10%的速度增长。目前的工业化已处于中后期阶段,2009年钢铁产量达5.7亿吨,水泥16.5亿吨,均占全球产量的50%左右,产能已近饱和甚至过剩,中国经济增长速度也将趋缓,难以达到年增10%的水平。例如德国,作为一个成熟经济体,经济增长多稳定在2%左右,因为德国经济外延扩张空间有限,生活品质提高的幅度也有限,不可能像发展中经济体或大规模工业化阶段那样持续高速增长。不仅如此,中国经济增长已经出现从规模扩张到品质提升的转型,制造业比重将不断下降,服务业比重会持续上升。因而同样的经济增长速度对能源需求的增长必将大幅下降。因此,随着中国经济发展,温室气体排放会有所增加,但不可能以10%的速度增加。中国认同2°目标,也必然会努力与国际社会一起实现这一目标。

中国认同《哥本哈根协议》中2°温升目标,但对于长远减排目标,例如2050年全球温室气体减半的目标,并不认同。这是为什么?中国参与全球温室气体减排,希望减得更多,但2050年减半的表述,缺乏科学、公平基础。第一,全球减排目标,应该由近及远,远近协同。但是,发达国家并没有明确2020年的中期目标,即使给出的目标,也难以确保2050年减半目标。没有2020年目标,而谈2050年目标,逻辑上不通。第二,2°目标与温室气体减半的关系尚具有科学不确定性,需要进一步研究明确。第三,是公平考虑。目前,发达国家和发展中国家的排放各占50%,如果发达国家在当前人均12.6吨水平上减排80%,2050年人均还有2.5吨二氧化碳,发展中国家从当前人均2.6吨水平上减20%,2050年人均水平只有2.1吨,显然不公平。如果不是等比例减排的“祖父原则”,而是人均历史累积排放的碳预算分配,公平合理,发展中国家的碳排放权益得到保障,发展中国家必然赞成2050年减半的总量控制水平。

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