CHINA’S CARBON EMISSIONS ARE SET TO DECLINE YEARS EARLIER THAN EXPECTED | Kanebridge News
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CHINA’S CARBON EMISSIONS ARE SET TO DECLINE YEARS EARLIER THAN EXPECTED

By SHA HUA
Mon, Feb 12, 2024 4:46pmGrey Clock 4 min

China’s massive rollout of renewable energy is accelerating, its investments in the sector growing so large that international climate watchdogs now expect the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions to peak years earlier than anticipated—possibly as soon as this year.

China installed 217 gigawatts worth of solar power last year alone, a 55% increase, according to new government data. That is more than 500 million solar panels and well above the total installed solar capacity of the U.S. They appeared everywhere from the deserts of Inner Mongolia to the mountains of southwest China to rooftops across the country, including on the Great Hall of the People on the edge of Tiananmen Square.

Wind-energy installation additions were 76 gigawatts last year, more than the rest of the world combined. That amounted to more than 20,000 new turbines across the country, including the world’s largest, planted on towers in the sea off China’s east coast.

The low-carbon capacity additions, which also included hydropower and nuclear, were for the first time large enough that their power output could cover the entire annual increase in Chinese electricity demand, analysts say. The dynamic suggests that coal-fired generation—which accounts for 70% of overall emissions for the world’s biggest polluter—is set to decline in the years to come, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency and Lauri Myllyvirta , the Helsinki-based lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

China’s expanding renewables footprint is shaping the global response to climate change. Its companies are the leading manufacturers of clean-energy technology, from solar panels and wind turbines to electric vehicles. That is stoking concerns in the rest of the industrialized world about depending on China for their energy supplies in the future.

At the same time, China’s deployment of renewables at home is breathing new life into international climate diplomacy . Its rapid emissions growth long provided fodder for critics who said Beijing wasn’t committed to fighting climate change or supporting the Paris accord , the landmark climate agreement that calls for governments to attempt to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial temperatures. Now, analysts and officials say Beijing’s efforts are lending momentum to the Paris process, which requires governments to draft new emissions plans every five years.

“An early peak would have a lot of symbolic value and send a signal to the world that we’ve turned a corner,” said Jan Ivar Korsbakken, a senior researcher at the Oslo-based Center for International Climate and Environmental Research.

In 2020, Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged that the country’s emissions would begin falling before 2030 and hit net zero before 2060, part of its plan prepared under the Paris accord. He also said China would have 1,200 gigawatts of total solar- and wind-power capacity by the end of this decade. The country is six years ahead of schedule: China reached 1,050 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity at the end of 2023, and the China Electricity Council forecast last month that capacity would top 1,300 gigawatts by the end of this year.

“China’s acceleration was extraordinary,” said Fatih Birol , the executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

Chinese authorities publish regular data on energy consumption and generation but not overall greenhouse-gas emissions. Transition Zero, a U.K.-based nonprofit that uses satellite images to monitor industrial activity and emissions in China, says the official data are “broadly aligned and consistent” with theirs.

Once the peak arrives, some analysts expect an emissions plateau to follow rather than a rapid fall in the following years. That is a problem, scientists say, because the world’s major emitters must sharply cut global emissions this decade—by 43% compared with 2019—to fulfill the Paris accord.

Climate Action Tracker, a scientific consortium that evaluates governments’ emissions plans, rates China’s current policies as “highly insufficient” to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal . Its latest analysis, published in November, says China’s emissions should peak by 2025. If wind and solar installations can average 300 gigawatts a year—as they did last year—China’s emissions should fall significantly by the end of the decade, the consortium says. The actions and policies of the U.S., where emissions have been falling, were graded as “insufficient.”

Still, moving China’s timeline for an overall emissions peak forward could shave off around 0.3 to 0.4 degrees Celsius of projected global warming if emissions started to decline next decade, analysts say. Emissions plans submitted to date under the Paris accord would put the world on track to warm by 2.5 degrees Celsius this century, a United Nations Environment Program report said in November.

China is still building coal-fired power plants , fueling criticism from Western officials that it is locking in carbon-dioxide emissions years into the future. Beijing has been telling Western officials that the new plants won’t be as polluting as they fear. They are replacing older, higher-emitting plants, and will run far below full capacity, used largely to maintain electric-grid stability as China generates more of its power from intermittent wind and solar. In November, China unveiled a system of capacity payments for coal-fired plants that will allow them to earn money even when they are running as backup power sources. Xi said in 2021 that China would begin to phase down its coal consumption starting in 2026.

The exact timing of China’s peak depends on factors such as economic growth and weather in the next few years, analysts say. Growth is expected to slow following China’s real-estate sector slump —unless Beijing undertakes a major new program of economic stimulus that would boost industrial emissions. Another spell of drought this summer would push the country’s coal plants to run harder to replace lost hydropower generation.

The most certain variable in the equation is the breakneck pace of China’s renewable-energy rollout, which analysts expect will continue to add 200 to 300 gigawatts of new wind and solar capacity a year. The investments in renewable energy have become a major driver of the Chinese economy. The country’s clean-energy spending totaled $890 billion last year, up 40%. Without that growth, investment in China would have been flat as the country reels from the slump in its real-estate sector, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

The investments include clean-energy installations and the construction of enormous factories to produce solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles—turning the country into the leading manufacturer of clean tech. Its factories in those sectors now have plenty of unused capacity . The adoption of electric vehicles is happening so rapidly that analysts say peak gasoline demand in China was already reached last year.

At the United Nations COP28 climate conference in Dubai in November, Xie Zhenhua , then China’s climate envoy , said the government would calculate the year and absolute volume of the country’s emissions peak. He also said Beijing is drawing up its next emissions plan under the Paris accord.

“Our country will do as it’s said and strive to do even better,” he said. “I have faith.”



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AACCI’s Strategic Vision for Enhancing Australia-Arab Trade Relations

The Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) is fostering robust trade relations between Australia and Arab countries.

Mon, May 20, 2024 5 min

In an era where global trade and international relationships are more crucial than ever, the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) serves as a bridge, for cooperation and growth between Australia and the Arab nations. Led by its Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Hage, the AACCI has taken on projects aimed at strengthening relationships and fostering development across borders.

This exclusive interview explores the initiatives implemented by the AACCI to expand its presence and influence in the region including the significant establishment of a new operational hub in Dubai. We also delve into how the Chamber embraces education through training and research, its participation in major international exhibitions, and its active support for both large corporations and small businesses.

Looking towards tomorrow, Mr. Mohamed shares his vision for broadening AACCI’s reach emphasizing the importance of the on-ground operations and cultural understanding in building business connections.

-Could you elaborate on the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry, including its objectives and main areas of focus?

The Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) plays a fundamental role, in promoting business partnerships and trade between Australia and the 22 Arab countries. As a member of the Union of Arab Chambers affiliated with the Arab League, AACCI focuses on strengthening trade and investment ties, across these countries.

To nurture these connections effectively AACCI has outlined four objectives: facilitating trade and investment activities, certifying documents, educating stakeholders, and offering marketing assistance.

Our initiatives are designed not only to empower trade and investment endeavors but to also ensure engagement with specific sectors that drive these activities. With an understanding of the characteristics, strengths and preferences of each country, AACCI prides itself on its specialized knowledge customized to suit the distinct business environments of these nations.

– As the AACCI approaches its 50th anniversary, what have been some of the key milestones and achievements?

I believe one of AACCI’s accomplishments is the opportunities it has opened up for numerous Australian companies to access markets, in the region. Moreover, the strong bilateral trade relationship that has developed between Australia and the 22 Arab nations over the five decades has led to trade transactions amounting to billions of dollars.

This extensive trade covers industries such as food and beverages, luxury hotels and many more services. Each successive generation, within AACCI has built upon the foundation laid by its predecessors enriching their knowledge base and expanding their range of services.

– How does the AACCI leverage its diverse leadership team to enhance trade and investment opportunities between Australia and the Arab region?

Since taking on the role of chairman, my main focus has been on expanding our presence in the region. This led to the idea of opening an office in Dubai, which symbolizes our dedication to deepening our engagement in that area. We have successfully secured the license to open our first office in Dubai after 50 years, which will serve as a gateway to the GCC and North Africa.

I strongly believe that building two-way trade and investment ties requires more than a degree of business connectivity; it demands having local representatives present in each region. With trends emphasizing strategies the value of face-to-face engagements cannot be overstated.

Setting up offices in the region is essential for the Chamber to truly serve as a link and support system for business activities. Ultimately this expansion will bring benefits to our members and partners by providing them with access, to dynamic markets and diverse prospects.

– Can you discuss the significance of AACCI’s role in cultural and business exchanges between the two regions?

The importance of understanding cultures in our operations cannot be overstated. To address this, we have included a training platform within the Chamber to strengthen our cultural awareness initiatives. This new program offers our members access to modules on our website focusing on global business practices.

Furthermore, we have set up a Center of Excellence specifically dedicated to researching areas like food security and cultural awareness. These research endeavors are essential for promoting knowledge between the two regions.

By combining the resources of the Center of Excellence, our training resources, and the forthcoming local office in Dubai, we’re providing cultural awareness not only in the region but also in Australia. This approach ensures that our members are well equipped and knowledgeable boosting their effectiveness and involvement, in markets.

– What is the objective of your on-ground presence at conferences and events?

Participating in conferences and on ground events is very important for increasing awareness in industries like construction where knowledge of opportunities in the Arab world may not be widespread. When we see projects such as NEOM or notice the construction boom happening in the region it becomes important for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to highlight these prospects. By taking part in large scale expos such as the Sydney Build Expo we position ourselves at the forefront of these advancements.

Our presence at these events enables interaction giving entrepreneurs a chance to visit our booth engage in discussions and learn more about the region in an approachable and personalized manner. This plays a role in simplifying the process and making opportunities concrete.

– With such a diverse membership base, how does AACCI tailor its services to meet the needs of both large corporations and small startups?

When it comes to discussing business it’s important to grasp how influence and vision come into play. Businesses looking to expand are often motivated by a desire to achieve something whether they are big companies or small enterprises. Small businesses typically aim to raise their brands profile while larger corporations seek recognition and market dominance.

Standing out in this area can be tough mainly because the key driving force is the passion to showcase the brand and products on a platform. This determination serves as a motivator for entrepreneurs.

At the Chamber we make a point of recognizing the needs of both big and small players by understanding each members individual situation. We ensure that every member is well informed about the opportunities and risks that come with expanding. For small businesses, this means being aware of the financial demands, while large businesses are advised on the necessity of both financial and emotional resilience.

– How does AACCI plan to expand or evolve its services in the coming years to further support its members?

The importance of having resources on the ground cannot be emphasized enough. Having local staff is key to establishing connections with the communities we serve. Without a presence in the area staying updated on events and activities becomes quite challenging.

This is why, as I’ve mentioned before, we have established an office in Dubai, staffed with personnel dedicated to supporting our members. This local office will help us effectively bridge the gap between Australia and the Arab world. And our members will benefit from insights and assistance from someone who truly knows the landscape.

In Australia we have equipped offices throughout the country staffed by individuals who play a significant role in our operations. This strong domestic network complements our efforts ensuring that we provide support to our members both locally and globally. This strategic approach is crucial, for nurturing business relationships and fostering continental understanding.

 

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