If China adopts the low-carbon road map proposed by international experts in its next five-year plan (2011–2015), it could lead the new global carbon economy, says Gordon Conway.
The road map will be presented to premier Wen Jiabao today (13 November).
It presents options for reducing emissions — to 13 billion, nine billion or five billion tonnes by 2050 — while maintaining economic growth, with the goal of creating a low-carbon society by 2050.
Efficiency measures and clean energy sources could reduce emissions by 20–23 per cent per unit of gross domestic product during the next five years.
These include industrial restructuring, more efficient fossil fuel use, use of carbon capture and storage, and a shift to clean energy — by 2050, all new power sources will be low carbon.
Technology is crucial, says Conway, both in terms of adapting existing technologies to Chinese conditions and more global cooperation in innovation and technology.
If China's vision of a low-carbon economy can be realised, it will gain a competitive advantage in the new global carbon economy. The country is aiming to be a major player in clean technology markets and already leads the field in solar power, heat and wind turbines, and electric cars.
And the road map doesn't just make economic sense, argues Conway — it also complements president Hu Jintao's support for science for development, and contributes to his vision for a "harmonious civilisation".