“GEI (Global Energy Interconnection) provides a technologically advanced, cost-effective, feasible and easy to scale-up global solution for implementing the Paris Agreement, with important and far-reaching implications for climate governance and energy transformation”, remarked Chairman Liu Zhenya of GEIDCO attended a thematic event during COP24. On December.10, during the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, the China-initiated Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) and the Secretariat of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) jointly held a thematic event and launched the GEI Action Plan to Promote the Implementation of Paris Agreement.
On December.2, the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) of the UNFCCC kicked off in the city of Katowice in southern Poland, lasting for two weeks. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the opening ceremony that “climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late”. “It is our job here in Katowice to finalize the Paris Agreement Work Programme ‑ the rule book for implementation. I remind all parties that this is a deadline you set for yourselves and it is vital you meet it.”
During the COP 24, Liu Zhenya attended multiple important meetings and delivered speeches. He said the root cause of high greenhouse gas emissions is humans’ reliance on fossil fuels. The carbon dioxide emitted by the energy system accounts for over 70% of total greenhouse gas emissions. To address climate change, we must accelerate clean development and comprehensively de-carbonize the energy system. The Paris Agreement established the political framework for countries to jointly tackle climate change. Accelerating the implementation of this agreement requires us to broaden our horizons and find an effective solution, he said.
Liu Zhenya said GEI is a comprehensive solution for achieving clean development and tackling climate change. It is the fundamental solution to tackling climate change. GEI is a necessary path to enhancing the scale, speed and quality of clean development, thus turning the tables in the fight against climate change. He called on governments, enterprises, organizations, and institutions to join hands to create a global work mechanism, deepen strategic and forward-looking research on fields such as climate and energy, and actively push forward six major actions of clean development, electricity access (upgrading), grid interconnection, electricity replacement, smart grid and energy efficiency improvement, to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement and build GEI.
The official release of the GEI Action Plan to Promote the Implementation of Paris Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the “Action Plan”) at this conference attracted extensive attention. The Action Plan fully aligns with the six thematic areas of the Paris Agreement, namely mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building, and transparency, and proposes a systematic solution for the implementation of the Paris Agreement in five aspects: development trend, mitigation plan, synergizing ideas, continental actions, and administration mechanism. It provides a global emission reduction path for achieving the target of 2℃ temperature control and provides a carrier and mechanism support for countries to carry out pragmatic cooperation and achieve low-carbon development. According to the Action Plan, GEI can enlarge the scale of global clean energy development fourfold and accelerate the annual growth of clean energy consumption fivefold, and drive global carbon emissions to decrease to less than 1/2 of that of 1990 in 2050, after the emission reaching the peak around 2025.
The Action Plan clarifies how GEI can help implement the Paris Agreement in six aspects: first, achieving global emission reduction targets, by accelerating the large-scale development of global clean power, cross-national and cross-continental power grid interconnection and electrification development; second, enhancing the resilience to climate change, by improving disaster prevention and recovery capabilities of energy and power infrastructure in extreme weather conditions, such as floods, droughts, and high temperatures, and reducing the population living without electricity; third, expanding the source of funds for tackling climate change, by utilizing economy of scale and networked benefits to help lower the cost of clean energy development around the global, and improving the competitiveness and Return On Investment of clean energy; fourth, expediting the innovation and transfer of technologies, by promoting innovation and breakthroughs in key technologies and equipment such as clean power generation, submarine cables, and large-capacity energy storage; fifth, bolstering capacity building of all nations, by perfecting the climate and energy strategy planning system of developing countries, enriching their project experience and cultivating relevant talents; sixth, promoting global stock taking and improving transparency, by obtaining data on global electricity production and power trading and performing accounting of carbon emissions from different countries and the global energy system.
During the conference, multiple GEI-themed activities were held simultaneously. On December 6th, GEIDCO, the Secretariat of Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), and the US Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) jointly held an activity entitled “Energy Interconnection to Tackle Climate Change” - China Pavilion. On December 10th, GEIDCO and the UNFCCC Secretariat jointly held a thematic event entitled “Building Global Energy Interconnection, Promoting the Implementation of Paris Agreement”, and Mr. Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Secretariat, and Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative of China Climate Change Affairs, among others, attended the event and delivered speeches. On December 11th, GEIDCO and the International Energy Agency (IEA) jointly held a meeting entitled “Energy Interconnection: Advancing Energy Transition for Sustainable Development”. On December 12th, GEIDCO and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) jointly held a meeting entitled “Global Energy Interconnection to Promote the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The series of activities aimed at deepening cooperation among parties, consolidating wisdom and power, facilitating and supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and thus taking more vigorous measures to tackle climate change and achieve the 2℃ temperature rise control objective.
In December 2015, nearly 200 contracting parties of the UNFCCC unanimously adopted the Paris Agreement at the Paris Climate Change Conference, with the goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 ℃ above pre-industrial levels.
China has long been an active contributor to the fulfillment of emission reduction goals and has fulfilled, three years ahead of schedule, the commitment of “reducing emission intensity per unit of GDP by 40% to 45% by 2020”. At present, China’s installed capacity for hydropower, wind power, and solar power is 350GW, 170GW, and 160GW respectively, all ranking first in the world. China’s installed capacity for non-fossil fuels accounts to 39% of the total; its carbon dioxide emissions are cut by 1.4 billion tons annually, and emissions of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants are cut by 7 million tons every year.
The GEI Initiative provides a solution for tackling climate change and implementing the Paris Agreement. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said in a media interview during her visit to GEIDCO in July this year that “GEI Initiative promotes the use of clean and renewable resources of energy, and also promotes energy efficiency and in this case in terms of really utilizing all the energy produced in one place, and bring it wherever it is need.” This can not only solve the problem of climate change and carbon emissions but also greatly improve humans’ living environment and improve people’s living standard in underdeveloped regions, thus making huge contributions to global development.
Just prior to the COP 24, GEIDCO and the UNFCCC Secretariat signed a cooperation agreement. The UNFCCC Secretariat was established in 1992 when the UNFCCC was ratified and adopted by the contracting parties. Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, the UNFCCC Secretariat is a standing body of the UN responsible for advancing the implementation of the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and Paris Agreement.
At the Global Energy Interconnection Thematic Event on December 10th, GEI Think Tank Alliance was established. This alliance, initiated by GEIDCO and made up of well-known Chinese and international think tanks, will establish a joint research platform for fields such as policy, theory, and technology to provide intellectual support for GEI development and jointly advance the implementation of GEI strategies. 28 well-known research institutions from 13 countries in five continents are the first batch of members of this alliance. China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute (GREEI) of POWERCHINA is the first chairman institution, while China’s State Grid Energy Research Institute and the (Arab) Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) are the first vice-chairman institutions.