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The Yangtze River Delta(YRD) regional integration plan has been elevated to a national strategy and transitioning to a zero-carbon economy, which presents a significant opportunity for the YRD region. An opportunity in that is the commercialization of low and zero-carbon solutions, including clean energy technologies,which can further catalyze an important emerging market and support the transformation of the economy. 

The Paris Agreement has provided new impetus for the zero-carbon transition. Different countries are moving at different speeds, and the result is a gradual shift in the energy mix from fossil fuels to renewables. Zero-carbon sources of energy supply are falling in price and some are within reach of the point where they can be competitive without subsidy.

Failure to shift from higher carbon to lower- and ultimately zero-carbon sources of energy supply could pose a major risk to the integration of the YRD.

Developing a zero-carbon transition road-map

China has been scaling up pollution control to substantially cut the total emissions of major pollutants and lower the intensity of resource consumption. The push to develop a roadmap for zero-carbon transition in YRD coincides with the Three Critical Battles which China has determined to fight.

Notably, having a longer-term vision, and trying to prepare years ahead, is actually in line with China’s interests and its political and social priorities.

Reforms are needed to ensure that the policy and regulation framework will support the zero-carbon transition of the energy system and the rebalancing of the economy. This is a complex task, requiring comprehensive and mutually supportive policy actions.

It is critical that governments,industry, the research community, and financiers work together to ensure the broad introduction of zero-carbon transition, making it part of a sustainable future that takes economic development, energy security and environmental concerns into account.

As we are all important stakeholders in this effort, we should join this journey and make it a success. Overall, I’d like to make only one, but far reaching,recommendation:that the YRD should, act as a pioneer of the country and the world, develop a road map for zero-carbon transition in a bid to reduce ecological foot print and accelerate the transition to a new open economy.

The zero-carbon road map should lay out a set of strategic objectives intended to help develop a robust and successful domestic zero-carbon transition industry. This road map will bean information source and a planning tool to help industry,government and other stakeholders evaluate promising new zero-carbon technologies and solutions, and to serve as a guide for R&D and demonstration decisions being made today. Achieving the objectives would result in the eventual development of zero-emissions in China and thus economic, environmental and social benefits for all Chinese.

Zero-carbon transition is both feasible and achievable and the technologies are available today.

According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,there are three pillars for the zero-carbon transition of energy system:

Energy efficiency and conservation:Lowering the energy consumed per unit of GDP(energy intensity) by technically improving products and processes, including waste reduction and structural and behavioral changes. Examples in transport include improving vehicle technologies, smart urban design and optimizing logistical chains;in buildings, improving end-use equipment, architectural design, building practices and construction materials; in manufacturing, improving equipment, production processes, material efficiency and the re-use of waste heat.

Decarbonizing electricity and fuels: Reducing the carbon content of all transformed energies — electricity, heat, liquids and gases. In the power sector, replacing uncontrolled fossil fuel-based generation with renewable energy (like hydro, wind, solar and geothermal) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) solutions. For on-site and in-vehicle combustion, decarbonizing liquid and gas fuels through the diffusion of biomass fuel and /or synthetic fuels (like hydrogen) produced through low-carbon processes.

Switching energy end-uses to lower-carbon, and eventually zero-carbon, energy carriers (like electricity, hydrogen and biofuels): Initially, for example, shifting from coal to natural gas; in the longer run, shifting to decarbonized energy carriers, like electrification of space and water heating and cooling; adoption of electric, biofuel or hydrogen vehicles; and industry directly using biofuels, hydrogen or synthetic natural gas (syngas).

I believe the Shanghai municipal leadership knows much better than me how to develop a road map for zero-carbon transition through an updated policy and regulation framework.

As a company, we are, as always, ready to provide support. Our ambition is to make zero-carbon transition possible for industry and local authorities.

ENGIE is best positioned to offer and implement this approach.

First, because we ourselves are already engaged in a zero-carbon transition, with an impressive track record.

Then because we have a double DNA, customer service and complex infrastructures, which we are going to combine.

Last, we have been working with local and national authorities for a large number of decades in Europe and worldwide and we are keen to keep providing our expertise for the well-being of the environment and the human kind.

Source: China Daily