Text: CCG MSC Event on China U.S. EU Cooperation

February 17 , 2024
The Center for China and Globalization (CCG) convened a side event titled “China, Europe, and the United States: Climate Cooperation in an Era of Great Power Politics” at the60th Munich Security Conference 2024. This event, held on Saturday, February 17, brought together over 30 high-level participants to discuss the critical role of international collaboration among major powers – particularly China, the EU, and the U.S. – in addressing climate change.As the side event was on-the-record, we are happy to provide a transcript of discussions from the roundtable based on an audio recording. It hasn’t been reviewed by the speakers. As we race to make it available sooner than later, there may be errors, and feel free to reach out to us for corrections.

Mabel Lu MIAO:Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. So let’s begin our seminar. Please have a seat. Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I’m Mabel Miao, Secretary General of the Center for China and globalization. On behalf of the CCG, it is my great honor and pleasure to warmly welcome you and thank you for taking time of your very busy schedules in MSC to join us. CCG is one of the globally recognized think tanks in China and one of the largest non-governmental think tanks. Since 2008, we have dedicated ourselves to study globalization and China’s role in it. We’ve become a partner of Munich Security Conference since 2018, having co-hosted several side events with the Munich Security Conference in 2019, 2020, and 2023, consecutively.

I remember in 2020, in this exact room, this cubicle, we invited Mr. John Kerry. He delivered a wonderful speech on the importance of the engagement between the U.S. and China on climate change. Interestingly, last year, we came back to Munich Security Conference and presented a follow-up discussion on U.S.-China cooperation on climate change. Some of you participated.

Actually last September, we also hosted a roundtable on our organization’s China and Globalization Forum. On the rare occasion, we invited the EU Ambassador to China, U.S. Ambassador to China, and several Global South ambassadors to sit together and call for stronger leadership for a sustainable future for all and the climate change cooperation.

This year, the Munich Security Conference annual report is quite impressive. It’s absolutely right that we must avoid ending up in ever more lose-lose situations that come with fragmenting global orders. The report encouraged all of us to think harder about how we could stop feeding a vicious circle.

We sincerely hope that climate cooperation can be such a silver lining on the horizon. So today, we are honored and privileged to have a very distinguished group here with us today. Please allow me to introduce some of them. Actually, time is limited. There’s the name list. You can have a look. I will not introduce one by one.We’re extremely grateful for the presence of our co-host, Ambassador Rainer Rudolph, Vice Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, who is sitting beside me. So let’s have a big welcome for Ambassador Rudolph.Rainer RUDOLPHVice Chairman, Munich Security Conference:


Thank you, Mabel. Thank you to you and to Professor Wang for again co-hosting this event here at MSC, for bringing the discussion here and for uniting all of us around the table. Mabel, you kindly already made reference to this report which we put out at the beginning of this MSC week, titled “Lose-Lose.” If you haven’t read it from the first to the last page yet, I encourage you to do so.

But the point you were making about lose-lose, lack of international cooperation sort of spreading, is indeed one of the core challenges we identified as we were preparing this conference. So I thought that your event on cooperation on climate policy is so important, be it merely for the fact that climate change is the one challenge that is existential to all of us and which none of us can just deny or escape. So that’s why I thought it’s really great that we were having this discussion here.

Sometimes climate policy is sort of identified as an island of cooperation, even when other things may be difficult or don’t work. But frankly, I’m a bit skeptical that is really the case because if we look closer, we do notice that the same geopolitical tensions that have impact on other policy areas also impact our cooperation on climate policy. Everyone around the table remembers how cooperation between China and the U.S. took a hit after the visit of Speaker Pelosi in Taiwan and obviously that was overcome ahead of the last conference. But still, it reminds us and it is not a given that climate cooperation, international climate cooperation — and here you’re focusing on the three largest regional groups, China, the U.S., and Europe — will work automatically. Now I think there is a lot of carriers we can start sort of below this general fact that cooperation is necessary. Many of you around the table know a lot more about that than I do. But it’s exactly for that reason that we are grateful that you came here, assembled all of us around the table, brought this discussion here. Final remark, I apologize I will have to leave before the end of this conversation, but I’m looking forward to the discussion.

Mabel Lu MIAO: Thank you, Ambassador. Next, I would like to invite Dr. Huiyao Wang, who is the founding president of the Center for China and Globalization to give us opening remarks.

Henry Huiyao WANG: Okay, great. Thank you, Dr. Miao. But also great thanks to Ambassador Rudolph for actually participating and also all the distinguished guests and friends of this roundtable.So it’s really important that we come to the Munich Security Conference. This is really a global landmark — I mean, probably the most important security conference that we can have, but also, over the years, has been gradually expanding its scope. And now security is not just limited to the defense, but also now expanded to climate, Artificial Intelligence, cyberspace and many other areas.But I think the climate is probably the most common threat to the mankind which, hopefully, can go beyond the geopolitical differences and transcend all the differences that we have to really work together. For that, China, the U.S., and of course, the EU, being the three largest economies and accounting for over 40% of the emissions into the space, have to really work together. For that, the Center of China and Globalization and, of course, Munich Security Conference have decided that we’re going to have this topic on “China, Europe, and the United States: Climate Cooperation in an Era of Great Power.” We are seeing this right now. But also, we’re very glad we have many friends from the Global South on this table as well.Basically, 2024 is a momentous year of election. How might this shift the preferences for the climate and all those things that we hope to work together? And what will happen in Washington, Beijing, and Brussels that will affect this collaboration?

So looking at the domestic agenda of the green transition in China, the EU, and the U.S., what are the conceivable shared interests? And of course, what is the condition for the world’s three largest economies to embrace the trilateral climate cooperation? I think we probably have to take a lead on that, given we are the three largest economies and one of the three largest emitters of pollution as well. So what can we do for that? And also, what are the security implications for the lack of strong global governance that we’re having right now? We’re entering a possible multipolar world, but then there’s no strong consensus on how we go about that. And that’s really what I can see will be the area that we’re gonna talk about this afternoon.

Of course, from China’s point of view, as a Chinese think tank, I would like to think that the U.S., China, and the EU, we should really work together with the Global South. Particularly, we have already consensus on the green infrastructure. We all have different infrastructure plans. How we can really work on that is very important.

So I would really hope that we have many issues to talk about — about all those development banks that we have, the World Bank and AIIB, ADB, FDB, European Investment Bank, and how we can work together. And also the clean technology, how can we transfer that to the developing countries because China has been leading on that? Also, Europe and the U.S. are also quite advanced in the green technology. How can we transfer that to the Global South? And also, reform and upgrade in the financial and insurance sectors: how can we enhance the industry and the Public-Private Partnerships to work on the global financing for this new climate war? And also the role of the industry standard setting, renewable energy research and development.

So basically, there are many, many issues. We’re gathered here, all great experts, at this roundtable. This is probably one of the very few China-U.S.-and-Europe-devoted roundtables on climate change, particularly with the title of China as the subject. So we really appreciate the Munich Security Conference’s support in setting this agenda together.

And so what I would like to do is — I’m probably getting to moderate this afternoon — we’ll have some keynote input. And then after that, we’ll also open up and we’ll have a roundtable discussion. Then we’ll take good notes, we’ll absorb all your wisdom, all your advice, all your recommendations so that we can really, as a think tank, to report back, but also try to improve for the future side events that we’re gonna have.

So I’ll stop there. I will not talk too long, but I would like to have some keynote input. Maybe we’ll have 3, 4 minutes of each. And then after that, we’ll open up. You can raise your hand if you want to input as well. But perhaps first, I would like to have Graham, my old Dean at Kennedy School, and also a great promoter of cooperation. I know you’re coming to Beijing next month. We look forward to that. So probably, Graham, maybe why don’t you start? I remember last time you started also. I would like to have you to start this roundtable. Graham, please.


Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School:

I’m certainly happy to participate. Climate is one of the arenas for both competition and cooperation and I track. But climate is not my main subject; I’m mainly focused on the geopolitics. But I’ll say there’s two, three things.

First, after having survived the Cuban Missile Crisis, John Kennedy became a much more reflected person. He thought there was about a one in three chance that this would end in a nuclear war which would kill several hundred million people. And that led him to think, wait a minute, what the hell are we doing? Is this making any sense? And so in the most important foreign policy speech he ever made, which was just five months before he was assassinated, he said, the course that we had set out under the Cold War — he was not giving up his convictions about who was the good guy and who was the bad guy in the Cold War, but nonetheless meant that for the foreseeable future, the U.S. would have to concentrate on “building a world safe for diversity.” And many people thought, what? I mean this is before diversity was a topic in the current conversation. He meant as diverse as an evil empire in a good framework, because if the alternative were to have a nuclear war, in which we were destroyed, that’s unacceptable. Then ultimately, Ronald Reagan captured the core of this in his famous statement, a nuclear war cannot be won because at the end of day, the country’s destroyed, so it must therefore never be fought.

And what we came to understand of as MAD, mutual assured destruction, meant that Reagan was right: it cannot be fought. The parties would each have to constrain their own behavior and find ways to cooperate, even if in their heart of hearts, they wanted to bury the other. So I think if I look at the U.S.-China rivalry in this context, there’s a version of nuclear MAD. But then here’s my main point: there’s a second idea that I’ve been exploring, which might be called Climate MAD, climate mutual assured destruction.

So what would that mean? Well, we all know we inhabit a rather small climate. We know that it’s an enclosed biosphere. We know that each of our greenhouse gases goes into the same biosphere. And we know that on the current trajectories, either China or the U.S. or Europe by themselves, could in sufficient decades, make the whole biosphere uninhabitable for us all. So if my survival requires my finding a way to constrain my greenhouse gas emissions and persuade you, and cooperate with you to find a way for you to constrain yours, survival is a pretty powerful motivation for people and for countries, though I think there’s a clue of an idea here that’s actually motivating: the fact that the U.S. and China have found their way, despite the geopolitics, for cooperation. The U.S.-China agreement prior to the Paris Accord was the essential foundation for the Paris Accord. And even in the recent period, as you saw in COP 28, the U.S. and China have been cooperating. So that’s point one.

I’ll make point two that kind of goes a little bit in the other direction. I, among the, at least the Harvard crowd — the Delphi Center and the Kennedy School — I’m regarded as a kind of a climate skeptic because I try to ask inconvenient questions. I’d say here’s what I believe, and I would like to be persuaded otherwise: I think unless technological advances make it possible to meet the energy demands people have that are necessary for the advancement of the rest of their lives, there is really no solution to this problem. So telling people just tighten your belt, I think that’s not generally gonna happen.

The good news is that technology is advancing very rapidly and China is at the forefront of this. So if you look at almost all the green technologies, China is leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else. I wrote a piece last year, or the year before, called “America’s Green Future is Red.” [“Will America’s Green Future Be Red?”] So 70% of all of solar, wind, EVs — take any of the green technologies and you’ll find China both dominating the supply chain, dominating the product, and producing things at half the price of other markets. And as Elon Musk said recently in his investors’ call in January — so this is where he has to be under some constraints because this is legally binding, and he has the the most successful EV company in the world at this point but finding the Chinese market extremely competitive — he said, unless in the absence of protectionism, BYD and other Chinese competitors will drive out every other automobile company in the world. Since automobile companies play a pretty important role in the U.S., a pretty important role in Germany, I think this will end up becoming an area of friction. Maybe that’s enough to get started.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Okay, good. Thank you, Graham. You mentioned corporation and competition, of course. So let’s compare to high, not to low. I agree that we have a level playing field and also we have to really harness all the technology that the humankind can develop, really to work together. That’s exactly the purpose of this roundtable — it’s to stimulate discussion and to build up consensus and find a way to work together. And so I would like to thank you for your input and contribution for this.

So sitting on my next is of course, Jennifer Morgan. Also I appreciate your coming here as well. You know, Jennifer is the State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action at the Federal Foreign Office, Federal Republic of Germany. So we’re very happy to have you here, and I would like to hear your input as well. Thank you.


Jennifer MORGAN

State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action, German Federal Foreign Office:

Thank you so much. Congratulations on bringing us together. I think having the three countries, if I may, sitting down among such exemplary experts as well is well-needed and very timely. And I think, also because right now, if we think about the last couple of days here in Munich, we’ve very much been talking a lot about the tensions in the system, right? So quite a lot about how states are looking inward, how we’re plagued with our low economic growth, around inflation, around debt, and obviously, the mistrust and the friction that there are from the repercussions from the Russian attack on Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas. And that’s been the kind of thing that’s weighing on us. And it should be here and it should be discussed.

But I think there’s one piece that may not be given, but I think it’s worth reflecting on how at COP 28, we did manage, despite everything going on in the world, to come to quite a significant outcome — not what we need yet. We are still not on track to be within that 1.5 minutes, but we all collectively agreed to transition away from fossil fuels in a just orally manner, to triple renewal energy and double efficiency by 2030. And I think partially that happened because we have a collective interest.

We are all experiencing the risks, the impacts of climate change. Germany’s River Rhine and Chiemsee were both dry at the same time. We have experienced in Germany also, you know, we were talking with colleagues in the DRC about the impact of climate change and hydro plants in China and how that contributes to energy security and how you need to flexibilize your grids so that you can be working on renewables. But I think also it was possible because there’s a sense that the energy revolution or the energy transition, it’s unstoppable now. It’s not yet clear how fast, and there are all of these additional questions about energy security that come with that. But I think it’s not a “whether”, it’s a “how fast.”

So if you look at the three, China, the U.S. and Europe just very quickly, or Germany, obviously, the Chinese developments are extraordinary. It’s looking like you’re gonna meet your 2030 target for wind and solar already this year. We certainly applaud that. We are hoping and having dialogues that China could actually bring energy, climate, and economic security together in a way that coal could be addressed and brought down. This is of huge significance to the world and recognizing need to do those together. But there are ways and that’s what Europe actually and Germany has been doing — it’s phasing out coal by 2030, phasing out nuclear, and driving up renewable energy. So I think that is also in almost a global public conversation on that.

The IRA in the U.S. obviously, is driving one of the most ambitious green industry programs in history in the United States, creating a political economy that I think hopefully will be around to stay for a while. And in Germany, we’re at over 50% renewable energy in our electricity sector, driving towards 80; we’re meeting our targets. And it’s creating, I mean, this is a whole another piece of it where I think it can bring us together is the opportunity that are there, that 1.5 million jobs that have been created in Germany, that many more that have been created in the United States. I have also read studies that the growth in China is very much economic growth driven by the clean energy economy right now. So that’s something also that I think unites us.

And I think the key question is: how do we turn that into a collaborative, fair competition? And there are some key questions that we’re gonna have to answer coming forward. The pie is huge. So when I have conversations with Chinese government or companies and they’re worried about different things that are happening in the world, like there’s gonna be a lot of market for Chinese products and others. I think there’s an equity issue, which is around the fact that the growth in renewables is happening in just a few countries. So that’s why we’re very keen to be working on new paradigms of collaboration with developing countries and how we do non-extractive partnerships — by that I mean how we create local value creation in developing countries to grow renewable energy. And perhaps that scenario as well that we can come together. And I think we need to make this a race to the top. And I think trade needs to be used as an enabler that benefits us all, and I think that’s perhaps an area that we can be looking towards.

So we all need to be doing more. And I think that’s clear. I think we are, if I take Professor’s Climate MAD in a way that we are at a crossroads, because this is an area where we can collaborate. Germany has many areas of collaboration, As to the European Union with China, U.S.-China relations are key. But so either we step into that collaborative, competitive, fair competition and space, or we roll the dice and even have climate and climate impacts that won’t be hitting all of our countries used in that mix as a negative. Not acting actually also has implications on each other. And let’s make sure we avoid that. So let’s work to get to the collaborative, fair, competitive future. Thank you.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you very much, Hon. Secretary Jennifer Morgan. Those are the areas where we should avoid a lose-lose scenario and attain a common achievement. I think you’re absolutely right. China is also taking more efforts now in terms of getting the coal reduction. For example, the renewable energy accounts for over 50% of China’s energy now, and China has stopped building coal plants outside China, and we are also reducing that inside China. But as Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this morning, China will achieve its target probably the shortest in terms of the Chinese population size for its objective to achieve a climate peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060 — it’s all “before”, not “by.” I asked Minister Xie, China’s Climate Envoy, he said, it’s not “by”, it’s “before”, so it could mean ahead of schedule. So that is an old direction that we have to work together. So again, thank you for your presence, for your remarks.

Now I would like to also have another representative from a Global South country. We have Ambassador Khalid Al-Khater from Qatar, one of the Gulf countries. We’d like to hear from you also. We see that countries in the Gulf and in the Middle East actually also play a lot of role in terms of energy production. How do we fight together for the climate change? So Ambassador Al-Khater, please.

Khalid Fahad AL-KHATER

Policy Planning Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The State of Qatar


Thank you very much and Professor Wang for convening this important discussion and inviting me to participate in this. Qatar has been since many years in the forefront of reengaging climate change since we were the first country in the GCC and Gulf countries to host the COP 18 back in 2012, where we managed, I think, to pave the way to the Paris Agreement where we had actually one of the most complicated problems in history at that time. And since that time, we have also engaged in expanding our energy and looking at it in terms of how we can mitigate climate change and really having some importance, one of the biggest major investments in energy storage, in carbon caption and storage technologies to facilitate mitigating much of the climate change.

And looking at the climate conversation, which so far has the comments that I’ve been reading out so far delivered here, it’s maybe just useful for me to look at the opportunities that exist in the cooperation between the possibilities and the areas of engagement and cooperation that do exist between China, the EU, and the U.S. And looking at some of the areas, I think I’ll just identify some of these areas for the purpose of saying that actually the ground does exist for a lot of cooperation to move forward.

First of all, we have areas like carbon neutrality goals where you see China, the EU, and U.S. all in for carbon neutrality: China 2060, EU 2050. And so we have an alignment in some of these longer-term goals and strategies. And there is renewable energy targets. I think all players have ambitious renewable targets in this area. Similarly, in green finance initiatives, I think they are some of the areas where there’s good traction on that in China, in Europe, and in the U.S. This is an area, I think, where all three also have important initiatives: emission reduction measures. And areas of afforestation and reforestation, I think this is another area which has a very good potential. And the area of circular economy, I think this also an emphasizes the support for promoting efficient resource use, waste minimization, recycling. So all the countries actually have, all that Europe, China, US, and even, you know, the Global South all moved a lot in this area, to promote circular economy.

So the important thing is, I think, which has to be put emphasis is really moving from a lose-lose to a win-win situation. We have industrial collaboration and [need] more projects to promote that. And that can only be used again by having more dialogues and venues for dialogues and engagements between these important players, the world players on climate change, and promoting their cooperation rather than competition.

So these are the areas I just wanted to put on the table. I have more comments, but I think time is limited on this. And I think this will just give a good momentum to further discussion. Thank you.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you, Ambassador Al-Khater. Next I would also have a representative from the Parliament. You just came, right? Do you want to be the next speaker?

Hildegard BENTELE: If you can give me one small break then I can just…

Henry Huiyao WANG:Okay, I’ll have Niall. Niall is a great friend and you’ve been studying the China-U.S.-EU relation. You have a very good advantage point. And also we heard your speech the other night as well. So from your point of view — you also lived in the UK for many years, so you have a very global point of view — how do you look at this global Climate Three collaboration, if they can make some collaboration/cooperation? This would be the area that they have to collaborate, otherwise we won’t get anything. So Niall, please.


Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University:


It’s a great pleasure to be here, Prof. Wang, Henry. I’m, of course, in no way qualified to talk about climate. There are colleagues here, including my Hoover colleague, Elizabeth Economy, who have written books about this and who should really take precedence. So I wouldn’t speak for long.

When my good friend Graham Allison told me he was writing a book with the title “Destined for War,” I begged him at least to put a question mark at the end of the title, and he didn’t. And I became very pessimistic in the period after the publication of Graham’s book and began to think that he might well turn out to be right. But it’s actually a pleasure to be able to admit that things are moving in a better direction. In history, sometimes the most important events are non-events. And something that did not happen this year was a crisis over Taiwan. And that, I thought, was a very healthy sign that San Francisco had had meaningful consequences.

The other thing that is really extremely good news is that I can now retire a slide that I’ve used many times in presentations. And this slide used to say that China had been responsible for 64% of the 32% increase in CO2 missions since Greta Thunberg’s birth and 93% of the 39% increase in coal consumption. And this slide was the basis for my observation that there was almost no possibility of detente, of real meaningful cooperation on climate between the United States and China.

Well, that slide is now redundant. It’s obsolete because of the remarkable progress that China has made. And you don’t need to take it from me. It was just published in the Wall Street Journal, citing multiple international climate watchdogs that China’s greenhouse gas emissions are peaking far earlier than anticipated, “possibly,” I quote, “as soon as this year.” China installed 217 gigawatts worth of solar power last year alone, a 55% increase, more than the 500 million solar panels and well above the total installed solar capacity in the U.S. This is an astonishing achievement by any standards. And it’s proved me wrong because I have said many times that I did not believe that China would meet Xi Jinping’s targets. In fact, it’s going to more than meet them; it’s going to beat them.

This is really the only thing I want to draw attention to. Sometimes the hardest thing for professors to do is to admit when they’re wrong. It’s almost held against you. And I know some professors who insist that they’re never wrong or have only been wrong once or maybe twice. But in fact, it’s good practice to acknowledge when you’re wrong and to update your data. And I hereby update my view on U.S.-China climate data. I think it’s real. And I think it’s real mainly because of colossal effort on the part of the Chinese economy. I’ll say no more and hand it over to Hildegard Bentele if you wish.

Henry Huiyao WANG:As a parliamentary representative. But first, I would like to also thank Niall for the positive comment and you’re absolutely right. CCG had a conference about a few months ago in Beijing where we have invited Ambassador Nick Burns and also China’s Climate Envoy, Minister Xie, and also European Ambassador Toledo. During that meeting, Ambassador Nick Burns made his first public speech in China. And they all reached consensus that we had to work together. And then they had a very good turnout in the Sunnylands subsequently because I think they had agreed at that time they could have a meeting in the U.S. So you are right, China and the U.S. can really talk and we want to work with our European friends, too. So I’d like to have the parliamentary representative, Hon. Hildegard Bentele, a member of the European Parliament, to share some of your thoughts, please.

Hildegard BENTELE

Member of the European Parliament:


Thank you very much for inviting me. I’m indeed a member of the European Parliament, and I’m sitting on the committees for industry, environment, and development. So it means the range which it covers. And I’m a former diplomat, so I very much believe into diplomacy and into cooperation. And my good impression dates back to Glasgow Conference because I was strongly impressed by the big Chinese delegation and by all your plans. I was really impressed also about your thoughts about the CO2 Emissions Trading System. And since then I really tried to advocate in the European Union together with the colleagues of my group and from the European People’s Party, which is the biggest group in the European Parliament, and also the party of the President of the Commission.

So we very much urge the EU to go more actively for global cooperation also with China because we have seen in the past that the Commission was very much inward-looking, you know, changing legislation and so on. But we are very much aware that Europe alone, by the 9% of population will not make the decisive shift. And at the same moment, of course, we have to justify all the measures we are undertaking, which are pretty expensive. So we really advocate to do the efforts where it’s the most efficient and the most cost-effective. And this is why I would advocate for a level playing field.

I think we should talk about the level playing field. I understand that the cooperation with the U.S., which I also wish for, is maybe a different one because we talk about green tech common market. I think that would go too far to do with China. But we talk about a level playing field because we are putting measures in place, as you know, CO2 pricing, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. I was the arbiter for critical raw materials. So we think about the raw materials which we put into the climate technologies, of which we need much more, but we better source them responsibly. So we have to think. And the same goes for hydrogen, what are the criteria for hydrogen, green hydrogen. So I think there are many developments ongoing that we create this market, which should be a global one, and there’s a lot of need and demand for these kinds of technologies.

But what I would advocate for, and I know that’s not an easy task to do, that we go for a common playing field because if not, we have a hard time also to argue back home, to continue on this path because if it’s just left to the Chinese products, then we have hard time. So I think there’s a share for everyone in it. And if you consider it as a common effort, because it has a lot to do, that would make much more sense. So I put a lot of hope also in our new Commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, who has kind of taken after the portfolio as international climate commissioner because Commissioner Sinkevičius is now doing more internally. So I hope there will be more activities into international negotiations and also on a permanent basis with China because this is, I think, the most needed because we can make the biggest and the most effective steps if we bring China on board and ideally also the U.S. But I think there’s a longer talk needed to bring about three.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you, Hon. Bentele. Yeah, absolutely, I think we need a common playing field. And also, I think we need to strengthen the technological cooperation. China now is leading on some of the clean technologies. I think we need to really work with each other rather than preventing working with each other because it’s hurting our objective for continuous cooperation. Perhaps I could have a Chinese representative. I would like to have Dr. Wu Shicun. He’s actually more of an ocean expert, but of course, he also knows climate very well. He’s the President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies. So perhaps Doctor Wu can share a few words.

Shicun WU

Chairman of Board of Directors, Huayang Center on Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance; former President, National Institute for South China Sea Studies:

Thank you, Dr. Wang and Dr. Miao for inviting me to participate in this workshop — small workshop but an important side event. So if my memory is right, I think it is my fifth time to participate in a CCG event on climate change. So congratulations for this successful event. Actually, Dr. Wang just mentioned my Institute, National Institute for South China Sea Studies. I used to be its president for more than 25 years, but now I’m running a non-governmental think tank named as the Huayang Center on Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance.

So one important thing that I would like to share with my colleagues, guests here from the United States, EU, and China, is that my center, Huayang Center, initiated and organized a symposium on maritime cooperation and ocean governance since 2020. In 2021, at the second annual conference, Mr. Wang Yi, Foreign Minister, sent his congratulatory remarks and a keynote speech by video links during the pandemic period. So this year, the fifth annual conference, the symposium will be held in either Hainan, Sanya’s southern most city, the most popular tourism destination in China or other coastal cities such as Shenzhen or Shanghai. So in that case, I would like to invite participants and brilliant scholars from the United States, the EU, and China to participate to address the climate change, that is, our common challenge we are facing from the ocean governance perspectives.

Another important thing I would like to share with you, my colleagues here, is that my center now is focusing on some academic areas. Number one is trying to promote the signing of a South China Sea Convention on environmental protection like European countries, particularly the coastal states of Mediterranean Sea, did in 1976 — we call it Barcelona Convention. So we are trying our best for the coastal states, including China and ASEAN countries, to promote environmental protection in South China Sea. Number two is taking the opportunity of the BBNJ. Maybe colleagues here know BBNJ: Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, simply called High Sea Convention. Last year, the UN assembly passed it. It will be take effect maybe next year. So as South China Sea states, we should, or shall be encouraged by BBNJ agreement to learn from the major management tools such as marine genetic resources, area-based management tools, environmental impact assessment, capacity building, and transfer of technology to protect the areas in South China Sea in order to preserve natural resources and environment in the South China Sea region. So those areas, I do think, is what we can study together and share our views on this area, the climate change. Thank you. Dr. Wang.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you. We might not have the time for maybe 3,4 minutes each, but we really assembled such a high-caliber roundtable here, which is great, so all the wisdom we’re gonna tap into and we are gonna make a good note of that and we will refer to that in the future. So we’ll follow this list. We have some keynote input. Prof. Arancha González, you are the Dean of Sciences Po and the former Minster of Foreign Affairs for the Spanish government. You visited us also in China just a few months ago. So you know both places very well. You worked in WTO for many years. I’d like to hear from you as well.


Dean, Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po; former Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain:

Thank you very much, Henry and Mabel, for bringing us together. This is about EU, U.S., China. I think we’re missing an actor because this is not about how important one is, but how much a country emits. So we would need a fourth one in this list called India, just as a matter of principle, because at the end of the day, this is what we need to address this issue.

I think the starting point — I’m not gonna dwell on that — is that either is win-win or is lose-lose, that there is no way to make it win for someone and lose for others. So I’m going to use the Chinese Ying and Yang to make two comments. On the Ying, it’s going in the right direction, but we’re not there because on the current trajectory, we are not within the realm of the 1.5 ℃ — that is, in a way, our guided principle. So what do we do there? I’m going to be a bit parochial because just the entire last year, I was working as part of the Climate Overshoot Commission that is a baby of the Paris Peace Forum. And we all owe a lot to Justin (Vaïsse) who is on the table to put together some suggestions as to how to do it, how to accelerate, whether it is on reduction, whether it’s on adaptation — the big orphan in this conversation — whether it’s on carbon removal because it’s good not to emit, but we’ve still got a stock that we have to get rid of, and what to do with geoengineering. This Commission is twelve members, six and six, six developed, six developing. China is there. And the sense that I got working with the colleagues is, and by the way, lots of others where they are [from are] small islands, Africa, Latin America, because this is not just a one-group game. The game is very diverse. It’s doable, but the name of the game is faster.

The Yang. I think we’ve got an issue on the level playing field. I think there is overcapacity that is building. Enhancing our capacities would be good to respond to Graham’s call to make sure that everyone can decarbonize. Overcapacities, if it is with unfair practices, are going to lead to confrontation. So my advice would be: on this part, we [need] a serious dialogue with people around the table because if not, we will go into confrontation as opposed to cooperation. And this will imbalance the fight for climate change. And then I’ve got a super Yang, which is what happens in the U.S. election, because the two offers are very different. So there’s not much we can do on the European side, not much the Chinese or the Indians can do. This is for the Americans to decide, but just so that we are clear, we can have a big surprise if we have a result that leads to a super Yang. Thank you.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you, Arancha. Absolutely, I agree with you that India is of course a very important player. Actually in our concept note, we said, the U.S., China, the EU, three largest economies, working with the Global South to combat the climate change. So even though they represent 40% of the emission, but we have to work with the other 60% of the Global South as well. So absolutely. And again, we need a level playing field, but also we need to harness the technology that is there, that we can really tap into that with greater cooperation. So thank you, Prof. Arancha.

Now I’d like to invite Mr Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, a good thinker. He is also the Editor of Foreign Affairs and Peter G. Peterson Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations. So I know you just recently had a roundtable with Minister Liu Jianchao. He follows our model actually. So it’s good to see you again. And why don’t you share your Foreign Affairs point of view as well.


Editor, Foreign Affairs; Peter G. Peterson Chair, Council on Foreign Relations:

Thank you, Henry. I’m an editor and as many of your roundtable can probably attest — though hopefully only once I’m out of your shop — I can be a very annoying editor. So I can’t, with apologies, Henry, I can’t resist taking a red pen to one word in the subtitle of this session, and that’s the word cooperation. Not because I think cooperation is a bad thing or there’s not a space for it when it comes to addressing these challenges, but because if we frame it that narrowly, I think we’re gonna end up failing.

If this becomes a choice for China, the U.S., Europe, and other key actors, India, if it’s a choice between cooperation with effective management of climate change or competition with climate catastrophe, I think we’re almost certain to end up with competition and climate catastrophe. And so rather than posing this only as a question of how we find win-win cooperation, I think we need to broaden it to a question of how we get to versions of win-win competition. Survive-survive competition might be a better way of putting it. But, to accept that there’s going to be a broader framework of competition, or struggle, or whatever term we want to put to it, now we’re going to have to find a way to create norms and structures that allow effective management of these issues, even when cooperation is not possible.

I think looking at the last several months of the U.S.-China relationship, there’s actually cause for some hope paradox in this regard when we go back to the meeting in November between President Biden and Xi in San Francisco, in Woodside. When we go back to Woodside, some of the commentary on it has been about the U.S.-China relationship being back on a positive trajectory. But when you talk to people, I think in both governments, there’s a real sobriety in the way they talk about that meeting.

That’s true of people I met with in your government as well as in ours. And I think that’s a good thing. It wasn’t about putting the relationship back on a trajectory towards cooperation, but really about a mutual acceptance of low expectations in some regard. And I think in this case, there’s a real virtue to low expectations. I think the most problematic periods in the U.S.-China relationship have really been about cycles of hope and bitter disappointment and the instability and mutual recrimination that comes in those periods. I wrote a book about the early Cold War version of this. I think there’s been a version of this in recent decades. So I think this moment of low expectations actually gives us a really good opportunity to come up with habits of competing without catastrophe — to steal the title that we gave to a piece that, Kurt Campbell and Jake Sullivan wrote a year before they were in government — finding those habits and structures that don’t require cooperation but still do allow us to address this fundamentally shared existential threat.

And I think the two most important outcomes in my mind from the Woodside summit were on mil-mil and AI. And both of those were not about, you know, grand visions of cooperation. They were incredibly modest. But simply coming up with these very basic structures for creating channels and communication, trying to avert the worst outcomes, I think, is really where the focus needs to be now. So if I can use my red pen on your subtitle, that’s the one change I would make.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you, Daniel. Actually, you know, when we say cooperation, it doesn’t mean there’s no competition. You know, competition is the best medicine. Human beings thrive on competition. It is best medicine to cure all the inefficiencies. But the problem now is we’re talking too much competition these days, there’s less about cooperation. So that’s like Graham mentioned last time. So we want to have a little bit of refocus on the cooperation. I agree with you, you know, competition is absolutely needed. A healthy competition is what we need. Next, I’d like to have Dr. Justin Vaïsse. He’s the Founder of Paris Peace Forum, but also where the word Paris Accord comes from. So maybe you can talk.

Justin VAÏSSE:Thanks, Henry. I was just looking at the list and my neighbor Jason has been skipped.

Henry Huiyao WANG:We’ll come back to him, of course.


Director General, Paris Peace Forum; former Director, Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the French Republic:

So I’d be very brief and then pass the mic onto him, especially because Aransha sort of stole my thunder. I was gonna talk about the Overshoot Commission because I think it’s a really great job that they did. And one thing I was reflecting upon was the fact that a couple of years ago, you could hope to have a convergence of the three models in terms of climate, China, U.S. and Europe. But more recently, I see them diverging and I’m not sure Europe is on the right side. She’s probably doing the best efforts and reaching the best results, at least in the medium term. But over the long term, I have questions and also on its strategy. So basically, if you wanna characterize the three models as I see them, and there are many other much better experts than I am, the EU rests on basically mandatory numerical targets, on CBAM, on carbon markets, and public policies encouraging virtuous behavior or mandating virtuous behavior to the price of tensions.

Five years ago already, the yellow vests was a direct output of that. The farmers, more recently, and not just in France, but it started in the Netherlands, then Germany, then France and elsewhere, and that’s related. There were other reasons than climate policies, but it’s very much linked to that. And of course, it’s making a big comeback in the 2024 elections and the sort of backlash against the Green Deal. And so that’s the sort of European way, painful but virtuous. But over the long term, I don’t know how sustainable it will be. The U.S., I think, has given up on carbon markets and is going all the way towards innovation and technology — thinking of the IRA, of course — and I think, with at least some results. We’ll see how it goes in the long term. And then China with, of course, strong industrial policy meant to ensure its place in the production of what we need for the green transition but also careful not to harm growth which can be understood.

Probably there is much dispute in the characterization of these three models. But I think it makes sense that obviously, you would want to have some sort of convergence if you want to achieve climate goals. But the problem is that that creates tensions — tensions between the EU and the U.S. around IRA because many industries are crossing the Atlantic because conditions are now better in the U.S. for many industries; tensions between the EU and China around CBAM in particular; tensions between China and the U.S. around accusation of dumping on the American side towards the Chinese, and protectionism on the other hand. So we have a situation which is not conducive to improving results. And so we need modalities of dialogue and finding ways to do, if not cooperation, I think coordination and harmonization, I would say, of trajectories that takes into account these differences between models, that respects the need for development and mix and improves the governance of technologies because technology is sort of the common point, even if the Europeans are not putting so much faith in them.

So that’s what was leading me to the Overshoot Commission: because I think what the Overshoot Commission did — and it gave its report last fall, and now it’s presenting them everywhere — is offering a different take. I think it’s the only group apart from the UNFCCC that gathers people from China, from the U.S., from South Asia, Africa, small island states, former presidents, former ministers like Arancha, and others, taking time — and a lot of time — to deliberate six to plus days, moments of deliberation on policy options, etc. and integrate the various aspects of the question, especially technological dimension for mitigation, for adaptation, for carbon removal and solar radiation modification. And after hard deliberations and a lot to note, I would say — Arancha can certainly attest to that — they reached conclusion. I think it sort of paves the way for taking things differently than we do. Bilateral relations are key, but such recommendations and reports with, I would say, a step back, can also lead the way to improving our record on climate.

Henry Huiyao WANG: Thank you, Justin. You’re the expert, after running the the Paris Peace Forum for so many years, and also having tackled this issue for many times. Thank you for that. Of course, Jason, you’re the expert also from Columbia University, the Center on Global Energy Policy. We would like to hear from you. Let’s do it briefly. We’ll have more.


Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University SIPA:

Well, Justin highlighted a lot of points I would make. I think they’re really important because when you look at this relationship between the U.S., Europe, and China, the risk of trade conflict as this transition unfolds is a massive risk to the pace at which we need to accelerate the clean energy transition, and I don’t think we’ve acknowledged that.

I thought you that you said the U.S. has given up on carbon markets. That’s true, except for a carbon border tax, which we seem to like, even though we’re not imposing the carbon tax on ourselves, you can get Republicans and Democrats to agree on that clearly as a policy aimed at China. So as Daniel said, cooperation is important, cooperation is possible. We saw success at COP 28 this year with things like methane and commitment to triple global renewables. And the seeds for that were sewn in the Biden-Xi meeting. And I think I appreciate Niall for kind of acknowledging errors of the past and pointing to the fact that from IEA to Sinopec to others forecast that Chinese coal use will shortly peak and then decline; 500 gigawatts of solar under construction. I think there are three cautions or caveats at least to put on that, which might mean we don’t know yet if it leads to detente, it might lead in the opposite direction of detente.

So first, there are still 250 gigawatts of coal under construction and the projections that we all have for the decline and emissions assume that we’re going from something like 50% coal capacity utilization to an net zero scenario, 30% coal capacity utilization by 2050. The world has never had that much coal capacity sitting around idle and unused or retired — hundreds of gigawatts of coal capacity — early. I hope that’s the case, but I’d love to hear some thoughts on whether we should have a high degree of confidence that will be the case.

The second is the backlash that is emerging to the enormous investments and leadership role that Niall pointed to. When you look at last year, you know, two trillion dollars was spent on clean energy, one trillion on fossil fuels, a staggering change according to the IEA. One in five new cars sold globally are electric; half of that spending was in China; half of the new cars sold are in China; 80% of the world’s solar manufacturing is in China; 90% plus of the critical mineral refining and processing. That’s an enormous contribution to how quickly we’ve seen clean energy grow, and the rest of the world is really freaked out about it. And nobody is saying thank you. They’re doing the opposite, which is saying, we need to make sure that we’re not just derisking supply chains, but we’re seeing steps that actually point in the direction of decoupling supply chains. While we were all gathered together in Dubai at COP 28, the U.S. Treasury Department was issuing guidance for foreign entities of concern and how much of a components of a battery could come from China and picked the more restrictive of the various options on the table. The first summit between the EU and China in four years broke down and for many issues, one of them was concerns about low-cost Chinese EVs coming into the European market.

So the significant role that China plays in global clean energy supply chains, if that is met with resistance, concern, and an effort to make sure that we can talk about diversifying supply chains, but there’s a limit to that and how quickly you can do that, we’re seeing a series of measures put in place based on concerns about security, resilience, and in some cases, just outright protectionism — that’s what motivates a lot of industrial policy and builds the political consensus for it. That is a huge risk to raising the cost of the clean energy transition and slowing the pace at which it can move forward. So I just think we need to acknowledge that and figure out how we’re gonna talk about it and address it in addition to sort of praising cooperation and acknowledging we need cooperation as well.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you, Jason, absolutely. You know, there’s a lot of new technological development and we’ve yet to figure out how we can cope with the challenges and imbalance in this battle against climate change. So we’ll go to this end again. We have Prof. Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. So let’s be brief.

Ngaire WOODS

Dean, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford:

Thank you, Henry. And we have to call Elizabeth because she’s got some good notes there. Sitting as a dean of a school of government, what’s striking to me is that most discussions of climate add more and more things to a very long list of what governments should do. And on the other hand, anyone who’s served in an elected government knows that they can probably only achieve one or two things, and they’re gonna be very clearly prioritized. And so maybe we need to be asking governments to do less and better on climate. And I just want to talk about what I mean by that.

So the last three years, I’ve been sitting on the board of a critical minerals metals mining company, and it’s forced me to change my mind on two things. One, lots of civil society organizations, academics, and such like have campaigned for such companies to divest of coal assets; and they shouldn’t. That’s a mistake. Why? Because those companies are the only ones that have the balance sheet to clean those resources up. And selling them to somebody else who continues to operate them dirtily does not get us any closer to our climate goals.

And the second is to reflect on what it is that governments need to do to mobilize the literally billions of dollars that are sitting on such companies’ balance streets ready to go into climate investments. And governments are spending quite a lot of time in multilaterals, for example, trying to raise investment, trying to raise financing, when it’s all sitting on those balance sheets. And what’s striking when you sit on the corporate side is that there are about 50 different goalposts that elected governments have created and that they shift about every six months or one year. And there’s just no company that can invest at scale when that’s the case.

So my first point is, governments need to do less and better. It’s gotta be steady. It’s gotta be bipartisan. There have to be one set of goalposts and they must not shift because then you can unlock the billions that are sitting on private sector balance sheets. And I think that’s positive because it’s got more chance of success.

And the second thing is to pick up on what Daniel said about cooperation. It took me back to his red pen. In some discussions of climate cooperation, people are hoping that cooperation on climate will spill over and promote cooperation in other areas. That’s way too much expectation to put on it. A second is expecting almost all actions that need to be taken on climate to be taken cooperatively, which is actually not necessary. So it’s to say, actually, let’s think back again, what is the minimum cooperation required to resolve the strictly collective action parts of the problem and then, as it were, have a much more sovereignty protecting approach to climate cooperation, which is what it is in fact happening because of the differences in systems. But I think it’s worth the climate discussion being framed in those ways. And it will cause less backlash if it is.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you. So, Guntram, your turn, please.

Guntram WOLFF

Director and Chief Executive Officer, German Council on Foreign Relations:

Thank you so much, Henry and Mabel for convening us. It’s a great pleasure to be here again. So what to add as the last speaker? So let me add three points.

The first is to remind ourselves that time is really of the essence. I mean, we are on a very dangerous trajectory. When you talk with natural scientists, the evidence is multiplying that we are actually crossing tipping points. And this is a very, very dangerous moment. And it requires rapid reductions in emissions. However, global emissions are, unfortunately, still increasing. And that increase is, let me join in with what Jason said, at the moment still mostly concentrated in Asia, emerging Asia, but also of course, China. So I’m hopeful that, and I’m more optimistic than I used to be, about the Chinese trajectory, but we are still on the path where, actually, emissions have been rising, including in China, and that is a problem for the global climate because it’s a non-linear system. So let’s be clear on what’s really at stake here.

The second point is, I’m also picking up on sort of what can be done about it. And, you know, there’s one area where we will need cooperation, and that is — and nobody has talked about it yet — funding. Green technology will require huge amounts of funding. Green technology is very capital-intensive. And we know that funding costs in large parts of the emerging world, the developing countries in particular, are prohibitively high. And that means basically, you cannot invest into major green infrastructure projects because the funding costs are just too high. So is this project-specific risk? No, there’s pretty much evidence, a lot of evidence now, that this is macroeconomic risk. That’s exchange-rate risk. It’s macroeconomic risk. So we have to find ways of collaborating on bringing down funding costs, which are macro costs through the international financial institutions, Bretton Woods institutions, and other institutions, and make sure that there’s transparency in lending practices to developing countries so as to be able to bring down the funding costs.

Third point, and very quickly, where I actually think competition isn’t a big problem, — it’s actually more a benefit — is technology. Technology is the key to unlocking this problem. We will need to invest all in negative emissions technology and really think about negative emissions technology. If we do so, a bit of competition, I don’t think is going to be the problem.

Now, there’s, of course, the issue of the level playing field and how do we think about our industries. But to my mind, this is the second-order problem. It’s not the first-order problem. The first-order problem is to compete so as to get rapidity in the speed of these new technologies. I mean, that’s really what we need because otherwise, the climate system is really at risk of moving in a very bad direction.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you, Guntram. I remember still a few years ago the dialogue we had after my Financial Times op-ed on climate. I think the clean technology China develops is really accelerating because China has such a short path to catch. Because on the per capita basis, China’s emission is one of the lowest, but if it’s collectively 1.4 billion, it could be the highest. But then the only way out is really accelerate the technology to shortcut that. So absolutely, we still need the cooperation.

So I would like to have Elizabeth. You’ve been the one of the trade advisors to the State Department, but also a fellow at the Hoover Institute. We would like to hear from you also. We’ve known you for many years.

Elizabeth C. ECONOMY

Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; former Senior China Advisor, US Department of Commerce:

Thank you, Dr. Wang, for that. Actually, I was at the Commerce Department, as China Advisor at the Commerce Department, just to be clear. I’m just gonna make three very quick points. I think the point you were making, I think about is the parallel tracks. So as opposed to having to have actual cooperation of the kind that we had back when we had the S&ED and we were talking about transfers of technology, which clearly China is looking for, well, in some cases still, transfers of some technology from the United States in the same way that we were back in the 80s and 90s. It’s a very different scenario. But I think the methane agreement, for example, is a good example, right? You’re setting your targets, you’re setting your benchmarks for achieving them, you’re developing your own paths toward methane reduction. I think that’s a good example of a very low common denominator level of cooperation that actually can work.

So I think that’s one point I would make. Second, Jason, I think, we heard two people talk about the level playing field. You put it as protectionism, right? But I think there’s an element of, it’s not just protectionism on the part of United States or Europe potentially when we’re talking about EVs, but it’s about this massive subsidies that have gone in. So that I think, just to be clear that there’s a cause and effect there, it’s a competitiveness element that’s not just protectionism on the part of the U.S. and the EU, but a response to policies that were taken in China that created an unlevel playing field, just to give a little bit of balance to it back again before. Anyway, just picking up on that.

I think I had a third. In the spirit of being optimistic, I would say, look at what happened during the Trump 1.0 period, if he is to come, you’ll see that there’s only one year in which our CO2 emissions actually increased during the time that he was in office. And some of that might have to do with COVID, which also begs the question of whether China’s emissions right now might have a COVID impact, and its low economic productivity right now. So whether or not if China bounces back economically, we’re gonna see again a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. I think we have to be cognizant of that as long as you’re continuing to invest and produce new coal fire power plants and put them online. I think that is a concern. But the positive note I wanna say is, if you think about the IRA in the United States, is there an opportunity — I don’t know the answer to this — to embed enough of what the U.S. is doing now in the private sector, in civil society, so that no matter what Trump administration comes in to do, you’re still gonna be on a trajectory where most of U.S. private enterprise has already built in good practices so that they’re not all of a sudden gonna retrench and go back and say, oh yeah, well now we can do all these bad things again. So just a thought to put in people’s minds that might be somewhat more optimistic.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you, Liz. We are actually running out of time, but also any industry representative could do some input.


Head of International Advisory, BP:

I’ll just make three points. My name is Michael Denison. I’m the head of International Affairs of BP. First point is actually cooperation is happening now. Chinese companies and Western companies are working on stuff together all over the world. They’re doing joint projects together. So it’s not a case of it not happening. It is happening already.

I think the second point, so Prof. Woods was right, I don’t think particularly Europe can regulate its way to victory on clean energy. It has to let the market do its work. And technology, as was pointed out, is vital to that.

And I think just thirdly, we’re not gonna get to those targets without China. The idea that we could do this without China’s input, not just in terms of its emissions but in terms of its technology industry, is gonna be absolutely fundamental to getting the targets that were set out in Paris and also in the UAE last year. So I think it’s an optimistic message because there’s a lot of unlocking of the private sector capital. It’s absolutely right. It is there, it’s available. Why is it not deployed? Probably because in some cases, the regulatory environment is not very conducive to it.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Okay, good. I know we have an observer from CGTN. Do you have a question towards anybody?

CGTN: Thanks, Henry, and thanks, CGG. I’m a reporter with CGTN. Obviously, climate change is not my specialty, so my question might be very general. So any of you are free to pick them up. So the first one, this year’s security report obviously shows that more and more people are concerned about the consequences of climate change. China, as a still developing country, obviously faces severe challenges in terms of energy conservation and the reduction of emissions. But despite of that, carbon emissions in the country could peak several years earlier than expected, as many of you are aware in this panel discussion. Last year, China added 300 gigawatts of wind and solar energy capacity for the first time. It has enough low carbon capacity to make the country’s annual increase in electricity demand. So I wonder, how do you guys view China’s contribution to the world in this area?

And my second question is, with the crisis in Ukraine and Gaza obviously dominating the headlines in Western media, it poses serious challenges to policymakers. So if traditional security issues like this won’t be easily solved, how would you guys expect to solve non-traditional threats like climate change? Thank you.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Okay, anybody wants to take a…?

[Unidentified Speaker]: I can say a word on the first one, which I think is a very important one. I think China’s contribution to fighting global climate change is really big, in particular because there is the production of a lot of green technology in China. And in the sense, to be honest, I’m quite relaxed about the solar industry having left Western Europe. I mean, if we can get cheap solar panels from China, that’s a great way of doing the energy transition. And by the way, it’s helping us to decrease the cost of this transition in a very effective way. And you know, the lost jobs in the solar panel industry is really of minor importance compared to the fact that we get cheap electricity. Now it becomes more complicated when we talk about electric vehicles. And that’s where I think we will see the tensions and we’re seeing the tensions. And there, it’s really the economic models that clash with one another. And in that space, I do think we actually need a proper dialogue about the level playing field and we need the anti-subsidy instruments as an appropriate way of corresponding to the differences in the economic models.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Okay, so perhaps maybe we’ll have the final word from Chinese participant, Professor Wang from Renmin University.

Yiwei WANG

Jean Monnet Chair Professor, School of International Studies, Renmin University of China; Senior Fellow, Center for China and Globalization (CCG):

Also CCG Senior Fellow. One comment and one suggestion. The comment is about, there’s a famous saying in China. Ding Zhongli, one Party leader said, it’s not a human being to save our planet; it’s a human being to save yourselves. So competition, yes, between us and among us, but that competition is like the doctors to compete how to save the lives. But AI for other geopolitical competition among China, the EU and the U.S., is the competition among the hunters to kill lives. One is to save lives, one is to cure lives. So it’s different competition. That’s my interpretation of the importance of cooperation.One suggestion is the transportation cooperation. China is now talking about the electric cargo. And also animals, not the gas and oil, as the cargo transportation energy. I think that’s a remarkable contribution to the climate change reduction. Even think about, in the future, airplanes. So all this, I think we can contribute a lot to human beings’ new life. Thanks.Henry Huiyao WANG:Thank you. Maybe Mr. Zhang, you want to say a few words?

Patrick Peng ZHANG

Senior Fellow (Non-resident), Center for China and Globalization (CCG):

Thank you, Henry, for having me. I’ve been doing research on technology competition between big powers for quite some years. And I would just like to talk a bit about the environmental cost of technology competition.

Now carbon emissions by data processing and also Large Language Model training are becoming a concern in climate change issues. And it has been further exacerbated by technology competition. For example, even if some countries have green and low carbon data processing capability, it’s usually difficult to transfer data to those countries because of data security concerns and also tech competition considerations. Advanced chips is another restricted area. Advanced chips are very critical for countries to have enough computing power and also communication efficiency with low carbon emissions. But the export control of advanced chips leads to the inability of many countries to carry out green and low carbon data processing. And also export control on critical minerals also has a very negative impact on clean energy and data processing activities.

So my understanding is that big powers competition will continue, but even so, we need to compete in a collaborative way. We need some basic principles and framework in that regard. Maybe the upcoming Sino-US AI governmental dialogue, and also the EU high-level dialogue on digital economy will be a proper venue to talk about that. Thank you.

Henry Huiyao WANG:A final word, just one minute from a former counsellor at Shanghai International Studies University, Mr Jiang.


Professor for European Studies, Chairman of the Board of Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies (SAGGAS) at Shanghai International Studies University (SISU):

Thank you, Henry, for giving me this opportunity. Thank you also, CCG. You have encouraged me to see the sentence said to you in a small talk. European colleagues, and you may be not aware of that, you are great contributors in the field of policy and also technology, in green policy. That’s great. And it is also great to see between China and Europe, there are a lot of projects running very well. Excellent. And you have to do that and very detailed information. I do not have the time enough. You have done a great job and go on.

Henry Huiyao WANG:Okay, great. So another positive note, I really want to thank all of your participating. We’ll make good notes and we’ll make proper recommendation back home. So thank you all very much again and appreciate. Thank you.