​Tsinghua hosts 2022 Carbon Neutrality Economic Forum

The 2022 Tsinghua University Carbon Neutrality Economic Forum met to establish and improve green and low-carbon circular economic development and promote a comprehensive green transformation of economic and social development in Beijing on August 27. This year’s theme was "Innovation Drives Development, Technology Leads the Future". Renowned experts and scholars from government departments, social organizations, energy companies, and domestic and foreign "dual carbon" sectors gathered to discuss carbon and emission reduction and to explore the future of the green economy.

Wang Xiqin, president of Tsinghua University, said in his opening speech at the forum that green development is a strategic path for ecological civilization, an important proposition to achieve "peak carbon and carbon neutrality", and a broad and profound systemic socio-economic change that requires society’s joint efforts. Tsinghua University and Sinopec Group convened the Carbon Neutrality Economic Forum to gather wisdom and strength; realize "dual carbon" goals; and, promote the coexistence of humankind and nature. Facing the future, Tsinghua University will combine the forces of scientific and technological development with resources for cultivating talent and innovation, and implement the requirements of the Five-sphere Integrated Plan into the university's operations. He said the University will start from the three dimensions of time, space, and life to educate and guide students and enhance their sense of community for the Chinese nation, of the community with a shared future for mankind, and of the relationship between mankind and nature. He said Tsinghua will further promote exchanges and cooperation among educational, academic and industrial sectors, and strive to make greater contributions to serving the national "dual carbon" strategy.

Li Yizhong, former minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and president of the China Federation of Industrial Economics (CFIE), said in his keynote speech that accelerating the construction of a clean, low-carbon, safe, and efficient energy system is the key to achieving dual carbon goals and necessary to optimize energy structure and ensure a smooth transition. It is the responsibility of every industry to achieve the dual carbon goals, he said, and necessary to sort out the carbon emission distribution of key industries, discover carbon footprints, and establish a standard accounting and testing system for carbon emissions. Food, clothing, housing, and transportation also have carbon footprints, so consumers must also shoulder the responsibility of reducing emissions and prioritize conservation, he said. Lastly, it is necessary to coordinate policy measures, strengthen scientific and technological breakthroughs, and achieve control of the intensity and total amount of carbon emissions. A sound carbon trading market should be established and a carbon tax should be introduced, he said. China should make more technical breakthroughs, promote the industrial application of technological achievements, and provide solid scientific and technological support for carbon reduction and zero carbon.

Zhao Dong, director, general manager, and deputy secretary of Party Leadership Group at Sinopec Group, said in his keynote speech that profound changes in the international political and economic structure and global energy supply system are presenting new challenges for China's energy security and adding pressure to green and low-carbon development. As a pillar industry of the national economy, the petroleum and petrochemical industry will accelerate the development of green oil and gas fields, green refining and chemical industries, green storage and transportation systems, and green circular systems, and move towards green and low-carbon development. He said Sinopec pays close attention to the global energy transition trends under its "dual carbon" goals. In the future, it will comprehensively promote clean fossil energy, large-scale clean energy, and a low-carbon production process to reduce and eliminate total carbon emissions, enhance green energy supply, optimize corporate energy structure, make green and low-carbon technology breakthroughs, participate in building the national carbon market, and strive for net zero emissions.

Li Shousheng, chairman of China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), said the petrochemical industry will play a dual role as traditional energy supplier and future energy pioneer. The "dual carbon" goal will bring great challenges to the petrochemical industry, and will help China's chemical industry to reach a higher level of supply and demand balance, promote technological innovation, and facilitate cohesive development of the petrochemical industry and various other industries.

LI Chuangjun, director of the New Energy and Renewable Energy Sources Department of the National Energy Administration (NEA), said the move to green and low-carbon energy is a global consensus, and renewable energy is an important pillar for China to reduce emissions without reducing productivity. He introduced the development mode of China's renewable energy, the classification and regional layout of demonstration projects during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, and relevant policy support.

Bai Chong-En, dean of the School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University (Tsinghua SEM) and Mansfield Freeman Chair Professor, presided over the opening ceremony of the forum and delivered a keynote speech. He suggested establishing a comprehensive, effective, fair and long-term predictable carbon price system; using a systematic price mechanism to facilitate resource allocation across time and domains; and better dealing with foreign carbon tax systems to promote the realization of dual carbon goals.

The event also featured three sub-forums under the themes of "carbon neutrality and energy transformation", "carbon neutrality and technological innovation", and "carbon neutrality and new economy", hosted by associate deans Xu Xin, Li Jizhen, and deputy dean He Ping of Tsinghua SEM. The guests conducted in-depth discussions and enthusiastic exchanges on topics such as carbon neutral development, future energy transformation, technology-driven carbon neutrality, and the development of new economic forms under carbon neutrality. Renowned scholars, experts and entrepreneurs spoke and participated in dialogues.

The forum was convened by Tsinghua University and Sinopec Group, co-organized by Tsinghua SEM, ICON, and China Economic Publishing House, and hosted by the Executive Education Center of Tsinghua SEM. The forum also featured a launch announcement for "Dialogue with Eco-Explorer."

The "Eco-Explorer" program was initiated by Tsinghua SEM in 2021. Its first phase brought together 50 renowned entrepreneurs and investors in the domestic "dual carbon" field. Through learning and exchange, they conducted joint research with first-class disciplines at Tsinghua University, developed a platform for integrating enterprise-university-research institute, and jointly contributed solutions, wisdom and strength to China’s dual carbon goals.

From Tsinghua SEM

Editor: Li Han

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