China has always been an advocate for energy conservation and energy efficiency. Even at the early stages of the country’s reforms and open-up policies, China had already formulated energy guidelines which called for paying “equal attention to energy production and saving – making energy saving a priority”. In recent years, China has achieved its, goal to “quadruple economic growth through [only] doubling energy consumption growth”.
In the 2000s China paid even more attention to improving energy efficiency. Since 2005, China has designated energy intensity – measured by energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) – as an indicator of national socio-economic development, and has achieved remarkable results. From 2006-2015, energy intensity fell by 34 percent. This led to savings of 1.6billion tons of coal equivalent (tce), with a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 3.6 billion tons, as well as significant reductions in emissions from other pollutants. World Bank research shows that China has contributed more than half of total global energy savings in the past twenty years. China’s own experience has shown that improving energy efficiency plays a key role in promoting economic transformation, ensuring energy security, protecting the environment and addressing climate change.
In the future, China aspires to develop into an innovative, green and open economy. China’s13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development (FYP)has set a clear energy intensity reduction goal of 15 percent by 2020 –keeping total energy consumption to less than 5 billion tce. At the same time, China has proposed changes to the energy mix by significantly decreasing the share of coal in total energy consumption and increasing non-fossil energy sources to 15 percent of total energy consumption.
Such national actions are important, but so too are international ones. Progressing global energy efficiency further requires strengthened international collaboration. Major energy consuming countries such as those represented in the G20need to play a leading role. In September this year, the G20 Leaders at the Hangzhou Summit endorsed the G20 Energy Efficiency Leading Programme (G20 EELP), which is not only a programmatic document, but also a major milestone for energy efficiency collaboration. The G20 EELP for the first time outlines a set of G20 Voluntary Pillars for Energy Efficiency Collaboration and a G20 Long-Term Aim, which together set a concrete framework for energy efficiency collaboration under the G20. Thus, to strengthen energy efficiency collaboration and actively respond to energy challenges and climate change has become the common aspiration and responsibility of the international community. Below, I would like to share three recommendations to strengthen international collaboration on energy efficiency, especially under the G20: First is to give full play to the important role of energy savings and energy efficiency in addressing climate change. I call on G20 countries to strengthen international energy efficiency collaboration, prioritize energy efficiency domestically, and lead and encourage other countries to implement the Paris Agreement in a joint, active response to global climate change.
Second is to further strengthen the market framework and industry
support for energy efficiency in the G20.
Energy efficiency has multiple benefits. It leads to reductions in environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and also drives economic prosperity, economic growth, and the creation of green jobs. I recommend that theG20 continuously work together to expand the scope of collaboration to strengthen energy efficiency, and support the development and scale up of energy-efficient equipment and products, as well as the energy service industry, and establish international platforms for the exchange of information for enterprises. This will strengthen the industrial and market framework for energy efficiency globally and create economic momentum.
Third is to innovate and expand the areas of G20 energy efficiency
collaboration. In recent years, G20 members have carried out various forms of collaboration on energy efficiency. In the future, this can be extended to demonstration projects and energy efficient production. I suggest expanding the scope of collaboration to other countries and regions so that together we may explore potential and innovative forms of collaboration, leading to the construction of a new energy efficient future. Energy security, environmental protection, and climate change are common challenges faced by mankind. There is a growing consensus that energy efficiency and emission reductions are key to low-carbon development. Energy efficiency is the inevitable first choice for all countries on this path to low-carbon development. China will actively participate and lead in international energy cooperation by sharing policy and experiences, best available technologies and best practices, and new market concepts in an active exchange with other countries, so that we may all jointly work to promote energy efficiency and actively contribute to global sustainable development.
Ren Shuben Director General, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China