The "dual carbon" top-level design documents have been implemented. Why do you put energy conservation in the first place?

  The "1" of the carbon peak carbon neutral "1+N" policy system has finally been announced, and the long-awaited "boots" of the society have landed.

  The "Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on the Complete, Accurate and Comprehensive Implementation of the New Development Concept to Do a Good Job in Carbon Peak and Carbon Neutrality" (hereinafter referred to as the "Opinions") was released on the 24th.

  When answering a reporter’s question, the head of the National Development and Reform Commission stated that the "Opinions" issued by the Party Central Committee and the State Council, as a "1", are for the long-term management and play a role in the carbon peak carbon neutrality "1+N" policy system. Leading role; the "Opinions" and the carbon peaking action plan before 2030 will form a top-level design that runs through the two stages of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality.

"N" includes the implementation plan for carbon peaks in sub-sectors such as energy, industry, transportation, and urban-rural construction, as well as guarantee plans such as technological support, energy security, carbon sink capacity, fiscal and financial price policies, standard measurement systems, and inspection and evaluation. .

A series of documents will establish a carbon peak carbon neutral policy system with clear objectives, reasonable division of labor, effective measures, and orderly cohesion.

  "Achieving carbon peak carbon neutrality is by no means a matter of discussing carbon on carbon, but a systematic economic and social reform with multiple goals and multiple constraints." He Lifeng, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and Director of the National Development and Reform Commission, wrote an article in the People's Daily on the 25th Said that it is necessary to coordinate and handle development and emission reduction, carbon reduction and security, overall and partial, short-term and medium-to-long-term, establishment and destruction, government and market, domestic and international multi-dimensional relations, and adopt strong measures. Shape China's economic structure, energy structure, and transform production methods and lifestyles.

Put energy conservation in the first place

  The "Opinions" clarified that to achieve the carbon peak and carbon neutral goals, we must adhere to the working principles of "national overall planning, saving priority, two-wheel drive, smooth internal and external flow, and risk prevention".

  The "Opinions" emphasizes that the conservation of energy and resources is the first priority, the implementation of a comprehensive strategy of conservation, the continuous reduction of energy resource consumption and carbon emissions per unit of output, the improvement of input and output efficiency, and the promotion of a simple and moderate, green and low-carbon lifestyle, from the source and the entrance Form an effective carbon emission control valve.

  Why put the conservation of energy resources at such an important height?

In this regard, Guo Jiaofeng, a researcher at the Institute of Resources and Environmental Policy of the Development Research Center of the State Council, told China Business News that, in fact, the concept of energy conservation has always been the core of the energy consumption revolution.

  Guo Jiaofeng said that no matter in the past, present or future, the concept of conservation has been put in the first place.

There are three main reasons behind this: First, China's total energy consumption is large and continuously increasing, which puts pressure on the energy supply side and needs to be adjusted from the demand side.

The second is that China's total energy consumption is large, which means that there is also a lot of room for saving.

At present, China's extensive energy development method has not been fundamentally resolved, and there is a lot of room for improvement in energy efficiency.

The third is that in the future, residential consumption may become one of the main sources of energy consumption. Therefore, it is necessary to advocate a simple and moderate, green and low-carbon lifestyle.

Preliminary estimates indicate that by enhancing the public’s awareness of energy conservation, energy consumption can be reduced by 20%, which is about 20% of carbon dioxide emissions.

  "Conservation must come first. Saving energy resources is not only energy saving, but also water saving, land saving, material saving, food saving and so on. Let me talk about saving money first, and then talk about open source." China Energy Research Association Energy and Environment The Secretary-General of the Professional Committee Wang Weiquan told a reporter from China Business News that the current energy and material consumption per unit GDP of China still lags far behind that of developed countries.

The higher the carbon peak, the more difficult it is for carbon neutralization.

Therefore, if we want to maintain the original economic growth rate while reducing carbon emissions, we must implement the concept of conservation.

  Wang Weiquan believes that the current difficulty in energy-saving work is that, on the one hand, small and medium-sized enterprises have relatively high pressure to survive, and the investment capacity for some energy-saving renovation work is limited.

Therefore, it is necessary to cultivate professional third-party energy-saving service organizations, rationally innovate business models, increase support for green finance, and promote the development of energy-saving work.

On the other hand, many organizations and individuals have weak awareness and insufficient capacity for energy conservation, which has hindered the development of energy conservation efforts.

For this reason, we should strengthen the publicity and education of energy conservation and form a good atmosphere that advocates energy conservation and simple life.

  Guo Jiaofeng said that it is necessary to conscientiously implement energy consumption "dual control" and other management and control mechanisms to force companies to save energy and reduce emissions, but also to let companies see that energy conservation is not only about input but no output.

For example, when an enterprise saves a certain amount of carbon allowances through transformation and upgrading, it can trade on the carbon market to obtain income.

More than 80% of non-fossil energy consumption in 2060

  In terms of goals, the "Opinions" put forward five main goals for building a green and low-carbon circular development economic system, improving energy efficiency, increasing the proportion of non-fossil energy consumption, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and improving the carbon sink capacity of the ecosystem.

  According to the "Opinions", by 2030, significant results will be achieved in the overall green transformation of economic and social development, and the energy efficiency of key energy-consuming industries will reach the international advanced level.

The proportion of non-fossil energy consumption reached about 25%, and the total installed capacity of wind power and solar power generation reached more than 1.2 billion kilowatts.

By 2060, a green and low-carbon recycling economic system and a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system will be fully established, the energy utilization efficiency will reach the international advanced level, and the proportion of non-fossil energy consumption will reach more than 80%.

  According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China's non-fossil energy consumption accounted for 15.9% in 2020.

According to the target set out in the "Opinions", by 2030, the proportion of non-fossil energy consumption will increase to 25%, an increase of nearly 10 percentage points.

The gap is even greater before the target of 80% of the proportion by 2060.

How is this figure derived?

  Yuan Jiahai, a professor at the School of Economics and Management of North China Electric Power University, told CBN reporters that although the total energy consumption in 2060 is difficult to predict, the proportion of non-fossil energy consumption above 80% can be locked in advance because this is based on the requirements of carbon neutrality. It came out "backward".

  Carbon neutrality refers to the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced directly or indirectly within a certain period of time. Through tree planting, energy saving and emission reduction, it can offset its own carbon dioxide emissions and achieve "zero emissions" of carbon dioxide.

Yuan Jiahai said that at present, it seems that forest carbon sinks and CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage) technologies are difficult to offset carbon dioxide emissions on a large scale. Therefore, it is necessary to improve energy efficiency and adjust energy consumption structure.

  He calculated an account with reporters: If according to the current energy efficiency level, China's primary energy consumption will exceed 10 billion tons of standard coal by 2060, how can there be so much primary energy?

Our current terminal energy consumption is 3.7 billion tons of standard coal. According to calculations, by 2060, our terminal energy consumption can only be controlled within 2.5 billion tons.

More than 80% of these are consumed by electricity, so the power generation of the whole society in 2060 should be around 17 trillion kWh.

It is currently 7.6 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, with a net increase of 10 trillion kilowatt-hours by 2060.

Among them, most of them come from renewable energy, mainly wind power and photovoltaic, as well as hydropower, nuclear power and other generating units with moment of inertia.

  Zeng Ming, director of the Energy Internet Research Center of North China Electric Power University, analyzed to a reporter from China Business News that the difficulty in the large-scale growth of non-fossil energy consumption is that, on the one hand, it is necessary to build a new power system with new energy as the main body and complete a series of technological innovations. Including power dispatch, energy storage technology, smart grid, etc.

On the other hand, it is necessary to promote the construction of a market-oriented mechanism, expand the scale of market-oriented transactions, rely on the invisible hand of the market, rationally allocate energy resources, and form an effective incentive and restraint mechanism.

Furthermore, the government must strengthen policy guidance, strengthen top-level design, and consolidate the responsibilities of all parties.

The government and the market are both indispensable.

  "It is especially important to note that the transition from traditional fossil energy sources to non-fossil energy sources is a very long process, which will have a certain impact on energy security and energy economy. Therefore, in this process, we must coordinate well. The synergy between the three goals of reasonable economy, stability and safety, and green and low-carbon. At different stages, dynamic optimization should be carried out based on these three goals. Only in this way can the goal of 80% of non-fossil energy consumption by 2060 be successfully achieved "Zeng Ming said.

Reasonably binding carbon price mechanism

  Carbon trading is a particularly interesting part of the carbon neutral path.

  The "Opinions" proposed to accelerate the construction and improvement of the national carbon emissions trading market, gradually expand the market coverage, enrich the types of transactions and trading methods, and improve the management of allowance allocation.

Incorporate carbon sink trading into the national carbon emissions trading market, and establish and improve an ecological protection and compensation mechanism that can reflect the value of carbon sinks.

Accelerate the formation of a reasonably binding carbon price mechanism.

  In July of this year, China's carbon market was officially launched for online trading. More than 2,000 key emission units were included in the power generation industry, covering approximately 4.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, making it the world's largest carbon market covering greenhouse gas emissions.

However, there have always been different opinions about the reasonable transaction price of the current carbon market.

  Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Energy Policy Research Institute at Xiamen University, told China Business News that the carbon market is the most effective mechanism for curbing carbon emissions in the future.

If the carbon price is high enough, companies will definitely reduce the total amount and intensity of carbon emissions.

However, if the carbon price is too high, the cost cannot be transmitted to consumers, and the industry itself cannot fully bear it.

Therefore, this mechanism must be coordinated with other power market reform measures.

  What is a reasonable level of carbon price?

  According to Zhang Xiliang, executive director of the Institute of Energy, Environment and Economics of Tsinghua University, previously estimated that the current marginal cost of abatement on a full economic scale in China is about $7.

For the carbon market to play an effective role, the carbon price should be greater than or equal to US$7 per ton.

Towards the peak of carbon in 2030 and the goal of carbon neutrality in 2060, the full-scale carbon emission reduction costs of the Chinese economy will also increase, so there is still room for carbon prices to rise.

During the "14th Five-Year Plan" period, the carbon price in China's carbon market may be around US$8 to US$10 per ton.

During the "15th Five-Year Plan" period, carbon prices may further rise to US$15 per ton.

  Professor Chen Zhanming, deputy dean and professor of the School of Applied Economics, Renmin University of China, analyzed to a reporter from China Business News that the main purpose of establishing a carbon trading market is to discover carbon prices.

In the long run, the carbon price should be between the current price and the EU price.

In July this year, the European Union has announced the launch of the world's first "carbon border tax" plan, imposing tariffs on imported carbon products including steel, cement, fertilizer and aluminum.

In the context of the domestic and international double cycle, the carbon price of China's foreign trade activities will naturally be transmitted to the domestic carbon market, which is reflected in the carbon price.

  In response to the "Opinions" suggesting that carbon sinks should be included in the national carbon emissions trading market, Chen Zhanming said that carbon sinks can be understood as "negative carbon emissions", so this measure actually expands the target of carbon emissions trading from the negative side.

On the one hand, it can be avoided that the contribution of carbon sinks is not fully transmitted to the carbon market due to information asymmetry and other reasons.

On the other hand, it can make the public and institutions clearly aware that carbon sinks are an important way for us to achieve our dual carbon goals and are recognized and encouraged by the government.

(Author: Ma Chenchen)

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