Changing toward Green Growth

Changing toward Green Growth

Interview with Li Junyang, secretary general of the 6th World Economic and Environmental Conference

By staff reporter HOU RUILI


The 6th World Economic and Environmental Conference (WEC) is convening in Beijing, November 28 to 30. Before the opening, a China Today reporter sat down with WEC Secretary General Li Junyang to preview the highlights of this globally observed event.


China Today: Mr. Li, could you tell us about the history and role of the WEC?

Li Junyang: The creation of the conference was inspired by the UN Global Green New Deal. Seen as a platform for cooperation and exchange between governments and corporations, it is an important contribution towards mutually beneficial relationships between climate, sustainable development and economic growth. The conference is also expected to guide countries towards greener growth trajectories, and to rally peoples around the world to respond to the issue of environmental degradation caused by human activity, particularly in the course of economic development.

WEC promotes the principle of sustainable development through organizations for economic cooperation and pools the resources of government, economic organizations and academic institutions to foster a low-carbon economy in China and beyond. It offers a platform for political leadership of different countries at both national and local levels to promote dialogue on industrial policies, to plan green development strategies, and to share advice and proposals to empower low-carbon economies and environmental conservation.

The conference also introduces energy-saving and environment-friendly projects, including those involving new energy sources or new technologies, to potential investors, in order to facilitate industrial innovation and upgrading, and mobilize the public to build an economically prosperous and environment-friendly country.  

WEC encourages environment-friendly enterprises around the world through its International Carbon-value Award, to inspire corporate bodies to become the backbone of a "green force" to save energy and reduce emissions.


China Today: What are the major issues at the WEC?

Li Junyang: Launched in 2008, the annual event has held five sessions, each including 10 theme forums and trade meetings to deliberate on the most pressing issues the world faces, such as the financial crisis, the restructuring of the global economy, climate change, a deteriorating environment, and mounting stresses on energy supply. The WEC has held discussions on: "Coping with the financial crisis and promoting green transformation"; "Winning out in the era of green economy, creating wealth through a circular economy"; "China's low-carbon obligations amidst economic restructuring and development"; "A low carbon economy and China's sustainable growth strategies"; "Building a prosperous green market economy"; and so on. Such exchanges of experience and consultation would catalyze world economic transformation and sustainable growth, and explore new forms of global cooperation.

With regard to building China into a low-carbon economy, the conference has organized comparative studies on the forms and paths of the low-carbon development of different countries, with emphasis on energy conservation, emission reduction, and the circular economy. At the same time, it has tried to interpret the trends and policies of China's energy-saving, environment-friendly and new-energy industries, while seeking solutions to the major issues facing China's economic transformation. These efforts have boosted strategic green industries, the use of new and renewable energy, and international cooperation and transfer of low-carbon technologies.


China Today: What will be the highlights of the 2013 WEC? What achievements are expected?

Li Junyang: The 6th WEC is themed, "Striving for green and low-carbon development, deepening industrial reform, and developing in sustainable and harmonious ways." It will hold 12 forums featuring eminent speakers from diverse industries.

The 12 forums will deal with low-carbon developments in the international coal industry, clean-air technology and the treatment of air pollution, the green development of natural-gas and petro-chemical industries, energy conservation and emission reduction in global industries, and clean production, bio-tourism and innovative protection of cultural heritage, bio-agriculture and green foods, management of water resources and water-treatment technologies, green intelligent transport and new-energy vehicles, new-type urbanization and development of green agriculture in China, treatment of urban waste and resource recycling, low-carbon development and resource recycling in textile and garment industries, and investment in energy-saving and environment-friendly industries, as well as green finance.

The 6th WEC also features two exhibitions on the planet's ecological changes and the achievements of green enterprises, highlighting the perils of climate change as well as the encouraging advances in green industrial operations in China.

The conference is jointly hosted by the UN and other international organizations – testimony to its nature as a global platform for international cooperation and exchanges on sustainable development of the world economy and environment. It is expected in particular to galvanize scientific and technological innovations in such domains as energy saving, environmental protection and new energy in its host country, China, and to motivate greater participation in environment-related endeavors, contributing to efforts to build a "Beautiful China."


China Today: How does the WEC influence international policy?

Li Junyang: WEC participants involve a broad range of international organizations and agencies as well as experts in environmental protection from all over the world. We facilitate cooperation between China and the rest of the world in environment- and energy-related industries. What's more, we present the international community with a comprehensive picture of China's efforts and policies concerning climate change, environmental protection and energy development, offering a valuable reference point for foreign corporations eyeing China's environment and energy market. The WEC therefore contributes to a win-win situation for both Chinese and international industries, featuring energy saving, environmental protection and new energy.

China offers a huge market for global businesses, and is vital to the development of the world's low-carbon economy. Cooperation between China and the rest of the world is important for both sides. Such cooperation includes China – including enterprises and cities alike – reaching out, and foreign enterprises and governments and international organizations entering China. As such, the WEC opens up new channels for communication and consensus.

Through the WEC, businesses – both local and multinational – are able to express demands for policy changes concerning environment-friendly industries and seek solutions for issues that hinder the development of such industries.

The WEC calls for and coordinates the actions of all groups in the international community, including enterprises, non-governmental organizations and media, to resolve environment-related issues confronting the planet. It advocates for better monitoring and incentive systems, and proposes that governments stimulate corporate interest in participation, through explicit guidelines for particular industries and effective market mechanisms.

It also explores new ways to disseminate, and cooperate on, energy-saving and environment-friendly technologies, and to advance low-carbon technology transfer and the free flow of green trade. What's more, the WEC works to mobilize average citizens worldwide, to inspire them to engage in joint efforts in striving for holistic, sustainable development of both the environment and the economy, all of which is in the real and long-term interest of humankind.