The China Institute organised a conference with two of the best-known experts in energy and sustainable development. Ma Jun is the founder of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) in Pekin and Jeffrey Sachs is the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development.

Alvin Lin, who is the China Climate and Energy Policy Director in the Natural Resource Defence Council’s Beijing office moderated the conference. He pointed out the Chinese government efforts to reduce greenhouse gases with ambitious goals such as increasing the use of non-fossil energy sources, increasing its solar power capacity or increasing its wind power.

The Chinese expert agreed with Lin that his country has already made great progress in reducing greenhouse gases. The main message of both experts had many points in common. Both agreed that over the last years there have been many lessons that will serve as a reference to improve and achieve their respective objectives. Environmental transparency is another essential point to continue improving in China.

Sachs hopes that Biden’s arrival in the White House will mean a greater effort of the United States in decarbonization. Biden’s program is expected to focus on electrification, on the highway system or battery systems. Sachs also stressed that China is making giant strides in producing photovoltaic energy, wind turbines, renewable energy or electric cars.

Cooperation between the two countries is vital to speed up the process and reach the common goal of both countries. Sachs advocates for countries to be as electric as they can be: with the use of electric cars, renewable sources of energy and the use of non-fossil energy sources. In the years 2050 and 2060 respectively, the US and China are expected to achieve climate neutrality.

To achieve these ambitious goals, regulation is vital, as well as the joint effort of these two superpowers. Despite many differences in military, technological or political matters, Sachs insists that it is important to change the perspective, to have a joint understanding and not of one country against the other.

The technological race is one of the aspects of the greatest enmity between them. Sachs also recognizes that we are currently at a point of difficult collaboration between the two countries, and therefore it is more necessary than ever to seek dialogue between them.

Experts from both countries stressed the need to cooperate, to put aside commercial and political interests. To finish, Sachs urged Americans to know more about China, since as more as one knows the other country, understanding between the two countries will be easier. Jun also recognized the need to break the existing gap between both countries, since working together the objectives will be achieved more quickly and efficiently

Carolina Sánchez Caminal, Student Intern.

Peace and Cooperation