The sixth plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which was held from November 8 to 11 in Beijing, called for common prosperity in the development of the Chinese economy in order to avoid the kind of class distortions and the gap between rich and poor that we currently see in North America and Europe.
The meeting focused on national rejuvenation as a concept that embraces traditional Chinese values ââwhile simultaneously projecting China forward into the 21st century by advancing technology, medical care, and health systems. green energy.
The schedule for the Sixth Plenum coincided with the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, or COP 26, in Glasgow, Scotland. As international heads of state at the conference made strides in the fight against climate change, activists protested en masse, calling the meeting a sham.
Previous United Nations climate change conferences have focused on carbon trading (a mechanism adopted by investment banks and capital markets that fails to actually reduce emissions) and remediation funds (necessary for environmental repair after damage). They did not focus on the central issue of transforming each nation’s energy grid from dependence on fossil fuels to green energy. It’s a proposition that most Western politicians, who depend on fossil fuel companies for campaign funds, would prefer to avoid.
China’s commitment to this transformation has now become a national policy with very specific objectives, as was underlined at the Sixth Plenum. Ecological civilization as a national policy has been recognized as one of the achievements of the CCP. This national environmental policy was even enshrined in the CCP Constitution, making the CCP technically the greenest political party in the world.
Let’s look at the big picture to understand what’s going on in China. When the Green Civilization Policy was first adopted in 2015, China depended on coal for nearly 80% of its energy needs. As part of the green civilization policy, China will have adopted green energy systems for 80% of its needs by 2030. This will require political determination to effect such a drastic change in energy use. .
Few Western politicians could make such a commitment, as it would sideline traditional fossil fuel interests. The CCP’s determination to move China’s energy network away from dependence on fossil fuels by adopting new technologies for green energy places China as a world leader in the fight against climate change. And China has a comprehensive and coordinated political approach in which different sectors work together to achieve a common goal.
The concept of ecological civilization takes into consideration global approaches in order to achieve the national objectives of transformation of the energy network. Capital investment in the constant modernization of infrastructure has been a hallmark of China’s economic development. The policy of green civilization will require that such investments focus on redesigning the electricity grid away from fossil fuels towards green solutions.
Green finance will be inherent in this process, with local governments issuing green bonds, through which funds raised will go to new green energy and water conservation solutions. Technology will play a key role and education will focus on new engineering and system conversion standards to promote green energy solutions nationwide. In addition, public education will foster a national commitment to save rather than consume.
While many European countries have very advanced technology for green energy, some of these countries only have a population of several million, which is less than the size of a simple neighborhood in n ‘ any Chinese city. Thus, by improving green technologies through expanding their footprint, costs are drastically reduced, allowing China to expand these solutions on a more cost effective basis than fossil fuels. These new solutions, green infrastructures and technologies can now be offered to developing countries participating in the Belt and Road initiative which must modernize their energy approaches.
At the heart of it all is GDP, the old measure of economic success that often does not broadly cover economic health. In the past, local officials were promoted on the basis of their ability to generate high GDP rates. From now on, local elected representatives are subject to an assessment of the natural assets of their region. Promotion or demotion now depends on their ability to preserve, protect and even enhance the natural environment of their region.
So, in many ways, the Sixth Plenum set new standards for public servants to achieve in their careers and new technological thresholds for future generations.
The author is a senior international researcher at the Center for China and Globalization.