7 Reasons why China will change from Chief Polluter to Chief Solutions Provider


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  • Go on stage with a mask, take it off.
  • On some days, the pollution can go beyond the measurable index, or above 500. Oh yeah, that’s outside my window.
  • It might even reach 1000- a true airpocalypse. Did you know that in Brussels, they stop all car traffic in the city when the pollution reaches 50.
  • You may or may not care about the fact that 8 year old girls are getting cancer in China from nearby coal plants, but pollution crosses borders.
  • China’s problem is everyone’s problem.
    What this means for climate change …and you, is that the decisions China makes in the next several years will affect the next several thousand years.
  • In the last 250 years the US has generated more cumulative carbon dioxide than other countries,
  • but China’s emissions in the just last decade have grown alarmingly fast. In 2006 it equaled the US in emissions. Within a decade it will be double the US.
  • Qiu Bao Xing, one of China’s leading visionaries in green buildings, captured it best when he said, “The world is at war with energy, and China is the battlefield”.
    I would go further and say that right now China is the <only> battlefield that really matters. // To win this battle for the world, China needs everyone to join in and turn the tide on emissions now. //
  • The reality is that China’s energy consumption and emissions are much larger than they were two decades ago …and will continue to grow fast.
    Coal as a part of electricity generation is 80%. Will go down to 66% by 2030. But in total will rise 3x.
    A top priority for China is how to peak coal use before 2030.
  • This is because China is undergoing an unprecedented rate of urbanization, one that will only slow down in 15 years.
    China’s use of iron ore for steel will slow down in 15 years.
    In China an additional 350 million people
  • will move into cities in a 20 year time span
  • Until then, China will continue to construct 2 billion square meters a year of floor area
  • (or the entire building stock of Canada).
  • By 2025, China will have 226 cities with more than a million people each—compared with 35 cities in Europe today. 
  • To not having children walk three hours to and from school, from dark to dark. And reducing the inequality between urban rich and rural poor.
  • To creating jobs so that 61 million children aren’t left behind in villages while their parents find work.
  • To providing a better quality of life- even moderately comfortable by Western standards,
    we need to have access to electricity and build affordable housing.
    The energy for all this comes from fossil fuels and mainly coal, so increasing energy means increasing emissions.
  • To reach moderately comfortable living standards, China is expected to continue to grow for another 10-15 years.
    Li Junfeng, one of China’s top advocates for sustainable development, likens China to a teenager that still has a lot more to grow.
    Except that China isn’t just any ordinary teenager,
    it’s a teenage Yao Ming.
    You can’t simply cap China’s growth today just to cap emissions.
  • Second, China needs to urgently decouple emissions from electricity generation. Without capping emissions, China is currently on track to equal US per capita emissions in less than a decade. // The decisions China makes in these next handful of years will mean the world is Climate Safe or headed for Climate Disaster.
  • First, decouple economic growth from energy use.
  • Sweden has done this successfully. - at a much smaller scale and with a higher per capita income.

  • 1978-2012年:城镇人口增长了Urban Population Growth 312%
    能源消耗增长 Energy Consumption Growth 533%
    GDP增长了GDP Growth 14063%
    Urban Population (10thousand)
  • The problem is that coal pretty much equals emissions in China.
  • China is also now the largest investor in renewable energy in the world.
  • I’m going to share with you that I’ve learnt over the last 7 years working to accelerate the greening of China. Something that may light a path forward for China and the world.
  • The government, even with large scale privatization has retained an extraordinary amount of centralized control. This is essential to make large-scale infrastructure decisions quickly.
  • For example, the high speed rail started construction in 2007. In 2012 it became the largest … fastest high speed rail network in the world. Compare this with California’s high speed rail effort first proposed in the 1980s and…. Hasn’t yet started construction.
  • In 2008, China banned the giveaway of free plastic bags. In the first 5 years, 67 billion bags were eliminated from use.
  • The first is obvious.
    It doesn’t take a nation of 1.3 b to make this happen. // It only takes a few passionate individuals working in coalition with a handful of key influencers on the ground in China to be able to spark transformations in China that may save the world. // If I were to have one wish today, it would be that some of you in this audience will be those individuals to commit your time and resources in these next crucial few years.
    In 2007 I committed 10 years of my life to lead JUCCCE because I realized that the battle for the planet as we know it will be won or lost in this decade in China.
    So, if you’re frustrated about how slowly the world is making progress on climate change and pollution, come work with China. Why aren’t you in China already?
    Nowhere else in the world can we make so much progress together so fast. I invite you to join me …. before its too late. The beauty of this is there <is> a light forward … and that light may start with you.
  • This became evident for me when the JUCCCE China Smart Grid Coalition started talking to Chinese grid experts about bringing Smart Grid to China. There are only 2 grid companies in China, and only one is the Goliath. Compare this to the 3,200 utilities in the U.S.
  • The third characteristic is deeply rooted in the Chinese psyche. The Chinese have a passion for learning from international experts.
    Schools still have a bias in hiring because students will pay more money for foreign looking teachers versus Chinese looking teachers.
  • This is just a small sample of coalitions on the ground in China involving international experts.
    China knows it doesn’t have enough solutions in hand today, it’s run very inefficiently, we need to learn how to innovate better.
    So to run this marathon at a sprinters pace, that means looking outward.
  • You might be surprised by the fourth advantage … China’s communist government is surprisingly willing to experiment and fail. And it takes city size gambles.
  • Witness the carbon emissions trading schemes to set market signals for carbon that China is testing in 7 regions.
  • It’s taking every commercially viable sustainability solution and testing them out in multiple cities. Like shooting arrows at a target, you only need one to hit the center to create a model for the country. And China can shoot a lot of arrows.
  • So China is no longer just the factory of the world, it has also become the cleantech laboratory of the world. By bringing new technologies on-stream, superfast, at big scale, China can make sustainable solutions affordable for everyone around the world. It is doing this with solar.
  • This may not be radical innovation like in Silicon Valley,
  • The fifth advantage is that Chinese society has become used to fast changes and is not stuck on the status quo.
  • From infrastructure to internet, from food to fashion, China is a new country every 5 years.
  • One block of raw frozen eggs once a year, at Chinese New Year’s to make egg dumplings.
  • That means it’s not too late to reimagine a new form of prosperity for the emerging 800 million middle class consumers whose habits have not yet been set.
  • To move them away from candied images of a bling dream imported by Kim Kardashian ….idolizing gold toilets …
  • but towards a harmonious China dream focused on what Chinese really love … spending time with our family and friends. //
  • The good news…it’s not too late to reimagine a new form of prosperity for the emerging 800 million middle class consumers whose habits have not yet been set.

    We just have to envision it, make it aspirational, make it tantalizing.
  • The sixth advantage is that the story of climate change in China isn’t focused on polar bears- it’s focused on Chinese near term interests.
  • The sixth advantage is that the story of climate change in China isn’t focused on polar bears- it’s focused on Chinese near term interests.
  • Because of these 7 unique advantages, China is mastering change at gigascale. Which is necessary if we’re going to clamp down on emissions and adapt to climate change.
  • To keep temperature increases limited to 2 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial temperatures, China will need to reduce the trajectory of emissions by 40% by 2030. Or one third of all global reductions required.
  • This is a tremendous challenge, but the light forward is this:
    in contrast to much of the rest of the world where change requires broad based consensus, in China change can occur with small, precisely focused interventions – I call these “acupuncture points.”
  • This is a broadbased map of acupuncture points that can get us most of the way towards the reductions of emissions needed.
    A lot of work is already happening on the ground around each of these. Like building more dense, liveable Ecocities, or energy efficiency in industry. But to really help accelerate these shifts in China, effective cross-border and cross-sector coalitions need to be focused on each acupuncture point. These coalitions need your support//
  • What I’ve learnt at JUCCCE is that the makeup of these acupuncture coalitions makes a difference - the difference between conferences and white papers … and action with real results.
    To make these coalitions <really> catalyze shifts, they need 4 types of people.
    We need experts who can integrate technologies into pathways that makes sense for China.
    We need a large support team of strong cultural bridges helping both sides understand each other when the culture of China may be 180 degree opposite of the West.
    And then we need people who can make the coalitions work more effectively- like collaboration coaches.
    Most importantly, we need storytellers like ad creatives or … TED Coaches. What I tell my team at JUCCCE is that <half of the value of these coalitions> is <storytelling the big shift> in a way that excites all the stakeholders.
  • The Chinese government knows that China needs to create our own environmentally sustainable dream… a China Dream.

    In the last 3 and a half years, my organization JUCCCE has been looking around the world at how people create behavior change at large scale in order to forge a new China Dream that speaks to people’s hearts, that we can take pride in, and won’t break the planet if Chinese actually achieve it.
    Today’s I’d like to share with you the lessons that we’ve learnt so far.
  • The second thing we did was to take a cue from advertising ideation workshops. Our first China Dream workshop format was created by Julian Borra, who at the time was the global creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi S, and his colleagues.

  • Each one of these workshops are attended by 25 people or less. And involve three key types of stakeholders.
  • Two is Sustainability experts because we want to embed sustainable values into the new social norms.
  • What we hear in these workshops might sound a bit repetitive, but that’s a good thing because what we want to do is start curating the common values.
  • On March 29, we started the conversation in America at TEDxOccidental College ..
    With a full day on Reinventing the American Dream
  • What’s wonderful about the Dream in a Box process is that it applies to any region in the world that wants to reimagine prosperity, retell the story of sustainability, and transform desire.
    In the UK last year, Julian Borra of Thin Air Factory with Best Foot Forward led four workshops exploring a UK Dream.
  • 7 Reasons why China will change from Chief Polluter to Chief Solutions Provider

    1. 1. @juccce @shanghaipeggy www.juccce.org Peggy Liu, Chairperson
    2. 2. Chief Polluter to Chief Solutions Provider
    3. 3. #beyondindex
    4. 4. #airpocalypse
    5. 5. Cumulative CO2 emissions SOURCE: Global Carbon Budget (2011)
    6. 6. China CO2 Emissions = 2x US in <10yrs SOURCE: BP Statistical Review of World Energy (2013)
    7. 7. Baoxing Qiu Fmr. Vice Minister Ministry of Housing & Urban Rural Development “China is the battlefront”
    8. 8. Coal for electricity will rise 3x
    9. 9. #urbanization Photo: Billy Hustace
    10. 10. #migration
    11. 11. #migration
    12. 12. #migration
    13. 13. Shanghai 1990
    14. 14. Shanghai 2000
    15. 15. Shanghai 2014
    16. 16. 成都立体城市 Chengdu Great City 1.3 km2
    17. 17. survive to thrive
    18. 18. survive to thrive
    19. 19. 26sqm 38sqm survive to thrive
    20. 20. $707 $3,968 $16,985 $39,874 2000 2013 China US Disposable Personal Income ($) SOURCES: United States Census, Ycharts.com, Trading Economics.com 24x 10x
    21. 21. #stillgrowing
    22. 22. SOURCE: CDIAC Data, Le Quere et al 2013; Global Carbon Project 2013 Per capita emissions
    23. 23. 2 step changes needed
    24. 24. 1. Decouple energy from economic growth Reduce energy intensity per unit GDP
    25. 25. SOURCE: Arstechnica Sweden decoupling GDP growth and emissions
    26. 26. #decarbonize 2. Decouple emissions from electricity generation
    27. 27. SOURCES: IEA; Nature News Blog China’s carbon intensity reduction goal
    28. 28. coal = emissions
    29. 29. Coal alternatives for a cleaner future
    30. 30. 13 26
    31. 31. Advantage 1. Centralized control
    32. 32. #ChinaInc
    33. 33. Advantage 2. Long term thinking
    34. 34. Advantage 3. Few key decision makers
    35. 35. XiaoMin Bai China Electric Power Research Institute, State Grid XueHao Hu
    36. 36. Advantage 4. Willing to learn from others
    37. 37. Spearheaded by Effort JUCCCE China Dream: reimagining prosperity US DOE Clean Energy Research Centers LBNL EE for Top Energy Consuming Enterprises UCI Urban Sustainability Index Tongji U Sino-Finnish Center Smart Cities ITDP Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit WRI Demonstration of Carbon Capture & Storage RMI Reinventing Fire NRDC Energy Efficiency in Jiangsu EF Energy efficient buildings and appliances US EPA Environmental monitoring and reporting
    38. 38. Advantage 5. Willing to experiment
    39. 39. 7 regions
    40. 40. cleantech laboratory of the world
    41. 41. Radical Innovation
    42. 42. Tweakovation
    43. 43. Advantage 6. Willing to change
    44. 44. China is a new country every 5 years PHOTOS: New Vintage; Vogue China
    45. 45. Advantage 7. Highly motivated
    46. 46. #change@gigascale
    47. 47. Can China go Green fast enough?
    48. 48. China = 1/3 of global reductions needed for ‘Climate Safe’ scenario SOURCES: OECD; IEA; BP Statistical Review of World Energy (2013) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 11.6 7.1 6.1 Gigatons 40% emissions reduction from business as usual needed 2007 2030- BAU 2030- 450ppm
    49. 49. Decouple emissions from energy use Set high price for carbon Design dense, liveable ecocities Reimagine prosperity for consumers Energy efficiency Smarter consumption of resources Shift to services World pays up for green products Efficient coal plants Zero carbon fuels Gas Energy storage Carbon Storage Transparency Decouple energy from economic growth Blueprint
    50. 50. • Integration expert • Cultural bridge Effective coalitions need these skills • Collaboration concierge • Storyteller
    51. 51. Cultivate relationships with decision makers Identify acupuncture points Scale thru centralized channels Show tangible results quickly Catalyze change via coalitions
    52. 52. @juccce @shanghaipeggy www.juccce.org Peggy Liu, Chairperson
    53. 53. China Dream
    54. 54. #co-create storytellers environmentalists cultural ears
    55. 55. storytellers environmentalists cultural ears
    56. 56. NY Times feature by Tom Friedman on JUCCCE’s China Dream initiative Oct 2012 was translated into Chinese
    57. 57. NY Times feature led to Nov 2012 Oriental Outlook cover story on “China Dream”
    58. 58. Xi Jinping mentions “China Dream” Nov 15, 2013 "Nowadays, everyone is talking about the China Dream. Realizing the great renewal of the Chinese nation is the Chinese nation's greatest dream in modern history.”
    59. 59. @juccce @shanghaipeggy www.juccce.org/dream #dreaminabox #44SGS
    60. 60. • Joint investment in clean energy industry in Australia • Building mass transport nodes in Australia • Education for Chinese in Australia • Institute to nurture cultural bridges in Australia