Green development has become a major goal for most world powers, taking an increasingly important spot among the global economy. China and Europe are no exception, with both setting goals of green growth to reach carbon neutrality in the years to come. As the green economy is now global, cooperation is imperative to improve quality of life everywhere.
This cooperation is the focus of the latest report published by Xinhuanet Europe, the European branch of Chinese news and information platform Xinhuanet, and jointly with Tianfu Institute of International Big Data Strategy and Technology, which analyses the similarities and differences between China and Europe in their approach of the green economy. Titled Report on the Outlook of Sino-European Cooperation in the Green Economy, it aims to study what can be done between the two powers, with an exploration of opportunities and several cases.
The Report on the Outlook of Sino-European Cooperation in the Green Economy gives a clear picture of the challenges ahead and the interesting opportunities to engage with green economic development and cooperation between China and Europe, Philippe Mariani, CEO Sophia Antipolis Foundation, Sophia Antipolis Science & Technology Park France, said in the foreword of the report.
According to Philippe Mariani, investing in innovation into clean technologies has become vital in the global transition to net-zero objectives. Without eco innovation it will be very challenging and costly to address major environmental issues. Fostering, facilitating, and accelerating innovation is decisive for an effective medium to long term mutual response to climate change and can lead to new initiatives for climate and sustainability opportunities.
And he emphasized that we have a greater responsibility than ever before to engage in multi-lateral initiatives by promoting cooperation today for future generations. “I strongly believe that innovative partnerships between Europe and China will create new models for sustainable growth,” he said.
Shi Yong, counsellor of China's State Council, member of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences expressed opinions. "It is believed that future in-depth exchanges and practical cooperation on the environment and climate, green energy, and green finance will further invigorate the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Europe in the coming period." He said, "It will provide new solutions for the economic transitions of other countries and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development globally. Sino-European cooperation in the green economy is worthy of global anticipation."
Outlook and challenges
One learning from the report is that the green economy does not only require cooperation in one specific sector but rather a generalised strategy across industries. “The development of the green economy is a step-by-step process, which requires the joint participation of many industries, including infrastructure, energy, transportation, and finance,” commented Gong Junzhong, Vice President of the Tianfu Institute of International Big Data Strategy and Technology. “It requires China and Europe to join hands to promote new technologies and achieve new goals in green development.”
An opinion shared by Zeng Yong, Member of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences and President of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. “Over the past decade, China and Europe have engaged in extensive exchanges and cooperation in such areas as green infrastructure, energy, transportation, and finance,” he commented, adding that “the Report on the Outlook of Sino-European Cooperation in the Green Economy presents an accurate picture of green economic development and cooperation between China and Europe, assesses the outlook and challenges for Sino-European cooperation, and puts forward constructive advice to promote Sino-European development and cooperation.”
An analysis of energy consumption
The report positions itself as a guide towards strengthening this cooperation across industries. To do so, it provides data and analysis of energy consumption in both China and Europe.
This study was lauded by Shi Yong, Counselor of the State Council, Member of the International Eurasian Academy of Science, and research director in several institutions. “In the Report on the Outlook of Sino-European Cooperation in the Green Economy, the key elements, links, and areas required for cooperation between China and Europe in transitioning to the green economy are objectively analyzed and evaluated,” he said. “Starting with an analysis of leading industries and energy consumption, a comparison of green economy policies, major cooperation areas, typical case studies, and the outlook for Sino-European cooperation, the Report highlights the scope and path of Sino-European cooperation in key areas.”
The opportunities highlighted in the report therefore follow the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which states that all nations are responsible for addressing environmental issues, even though they are not all equally responsible for them.
“Mutually beneficial cooperation is the way to tackle developmental challenges,” confirms Zhang Jing’an, Executive Vice Chairman of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences. “It is hoped that the Report will help Chinese and European entrepreneurs to explore the benefits of the green economy and bilateral cooperation opportunities.”
There are many valuable cases in this report. It not only includes green energy, green infrastructure, green transportation, and other industries, but also involves the financial field.
According to the report, it is noteworthy that Chinese enterprises and financial institutions are constantly exploring and making advances in green finance product innovation. For example, in May 2022, Shudao (Sichuan) Insurance Brokers Co., Ltd. cooperated with China Pacific Property Insurance Co., Ltd. to promote the extension of the conventional business to areas of green finance, as well as accelerate the transition and upgrading of conventional products. In addition, against the backdrop of the formal operations of CCETE, they comprehensively researched the local needs of Sichuan and pioneered innovative carbon finance products.
Shudao and Pacific jointly established a green insurance product system with the ESG investment concept at its core. The system mainly contains four major products, including carbon finance insurance, machine damage and carbon trading loss insurance for low-carbon projects, carbon emission reduction loss insurance focusing on carbon exchange quotas, and ecological protection insurance.
A critical stage
The report comes at an important time in the development of the green economy. “Carbon neutrality and green development in China and Europe are at a critical stage,” notes Wang Hongtao, Director of the Life Cycle Assessment & Management Committee of China Electronics Energy Saving Technology Association. “It is hoped that this Report can promote closer exchanges between China and Europe, especially in relation to key policies and regulations.”
With Europe’s leadership in green, low-carbon and energy-saving levels in the energy sector and China’s recent and vigorous promotion of the green transition, efforts are being made on both sides to improve quality of life around the globe. But to reach the next step of this development, they will have to cooperate.
Read the full Report on the Outlook of Sino-European Cooperation in the Green Economy here