The 2022 Global Forum on Carbon Neutrality and Sustainable Development kicked off on December 8th. The forum was co-sponsored by HUST and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) and co-organized by the School of Energy and Power Engineering, the State Key Laboratory of Coal Combustion, and the School of Economics of HUST and the Program on Chinese Cities of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies of the UNC Chapel Hill. More than 30 Chinese and American experts participated in the forum in an online and offline hybrid format to jointly discuss the way to low-carbon development and the building of a green future for the whole world. At the opening ceremony, Chen Jianguo, Vice President of HUST, delivered opening remarks. The ceremony was moderated by Chen Jie, Director of the Office of International Affairs of HUST. A total of over 5,000 viewers watched the opening ceremony and its parallel sessions online.
In his opening remarks, Professor Chen noted that the world was faced with an escalating threat of climate change and more severe extreme climatic disasters. The international community has reached a strong consensus on carbon neutrality and green transformation. Both China and the U.S. have been taking concrete actions to promote the green transformation for sustainable development of the world. It was in this context that HUST and the UNC Chapel Hill, as two research universities with great sense of social responsibilities from China and the U.S., co-sponsored this annual high-end academic event. The forum aimed to provide an open exchange and discussion platform for global scholars, policy decision makers, and industry experts. Professor Chen expressed his hope that scholars on both sides could make full use of the forum to strengthen exchanges and mutual trust, unlock potential for new cooperation, and lead future scientific research on carbon neutrality to make contributions to the sustainable development around the globe.
Professor Song Yan, Director of the Program on Chinese Cities of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies of the UNC Chapel Hill, believed climate change mitigation was such a long-term challenge that no country could be immune to its ecological chain reaction. International cooperation, therefore, was urgently needed. As an annual interdisciplinary academic forum, the conference co-sponsored by the two universities marked a beginning of cooperation. Professor Song expected more experts and scholars of more disciplines from more countries would be invited to share their experience and jointly advance more cutting-edge discussions to bring benefit to the common well-being of humanity with concrete actions.
Professor Liu Zhaohui from the School of Energy and Power Engineering of HUST and Philip R. Berke, Director of the Center Resilient Communities and Environment, the Institute for the Environment of the UNC Chapel Hill, delivered keynote speeches respectively.
Professor Liu, in his keynote presentation entitled “CCUS Collaboration within U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center”, introduced global climate change and China’s dual target of peaking carbon emissions before 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality before 2060. He then elaborated on the importance of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) and achievements in CCUS made by U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center in the areas of intellectual property management, scientific research collaboration, and scientific and technological exchanges. He expressed his expectation that China and the U.S. would continue to work together to advance academic research and cooperation on global carbon neutrality.
Focusing on the theme of “Shaping Plans: Integrating Sustainability and Resilience Concepts through an Equity Lens”, Professor Philip R. Berke presented a new model of sustainable development integrating sustainability and resilience concepts through an equity lens for a vision meaningful for all residents in a city.
The forum had three parallel sessions: Carbon Neutrality and Energy Transformation, Carbon Neutrality and Green Economy, and Carbon Neutrality and Urban Development, with a total of 15 experts and scholars engaged in disciplinary dialogs and discussions.
The parallel session of Carbon Neutrality and Energy Transformation was chaired by Zhao Yongchun, Deputy Director of the State Key Laboratory of Coal Combustion and Professor of the School of Energy and Power Engineering of HUST. Experts and scholars at this session were Professor Li Zheng, President of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University, Noah Kittner, Assistant Professor of the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering and the Department of City and Regional Planning of the UNC Chapel Hill, Yang Ronggui, Professor of the School of Energy and Power Engineering of HUST, and Li Chaosu, Assistant Professor of Urban Governance and Design Thrust Area at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou). Professor Li Zheng analyzed the pathway and policy measures for a carbon neutral future in China. He then emphasized China’s determination and pathway for achieving its dual target of peaking carbon emissions before 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality before 2060. Noah Kittner focused on introducing the role of energy storage in deep decarbonization. He noted that the transition to clean energy required an intelligently flexible system and an infrastructure adaptive to renewable energy to ultimately advance the development driven by innovative technologies. Professor Yang Ronggui firstly introduced the background of the high temperature thermal energy storage technology and then elaborated on future electric system and materials and relevant equipment for high temperature thermal energy storage. In his talk, Li Chaosu mainly explored the spatial complexity of residential energy usage intensity and highlighted the importance of spatially explicit policies and clear urban design and form frameworks for improving urban energy efficiency.
The parallel session of Carbon Neutrality and Green Economy was chaired by Professor Kong Dongmin, Associate Dean of the School of Economics of HUST. Experts and scholars at this session were Professor Meenu Tewari of the UNC Chapel Hill, Professor Greg Gangi of the UNC Chapel Hill who is also the Associate Director for Clean Technology and Innovation, Zhu Junming, Associate Professor of the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, and Wang Banban, Associate Professor of the School of Economics of HUST. Meenu Tewari explored the impact of rising temperatures on industrial productivity and absenteeism and raised new ideas concerning the costs of climate change. Greg Gangi introduced in his talk a brief sketch of the UNC Clean Tech Summit and many of its various goals. He then analyzed possible ways to influence university level decision-making and facilitate cooperation and innovation in the clean tech sector. As elaborated by Zhu Junming, there was a substantial improvement in the public perceptions of their social status immediately following a large-scale clean heating policy in northern China. It would also positively influence the incomes and health of the public in the long run. Wang Banban used a simple analytical model to derive the welfare comparison between tradable performance standards and a price-based alternative. Substantial gains could arise from shifting two programs, China’s new national carbon market and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard, to a price mechanism.
The parallel session of Carbon Neutrality and Urban Development was chaired by Professor Song Yan from the UNC Chapel Hill. Experts and scholars at this session were Feng Kuishuang, Associate Professor of the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland College Park, Wang Shaojian, Associate Professor of the School of Geography and Planning of Sun Yat-Sen University, Angel Hsu, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Environment, Energy and Ecology of the UNC Chapel Hill, and Liu Helin, Professor of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning of HUST. They discussed the way to reduce carbon emission during urban development from macro and micro perspectives. In his talk, Dr. Feng Kuishuang discussed the mutual influence between income levels and carbon emission and how to formulate poverty alleviation policies in a carbon constrained world. According to Wang Shaojian, urban expansion was one of the main factors driving terrestrial carbon storage changes and China’s urban expansion would increase the uncertainty of the nation’s carbon emissions. Angel Hsu discussed in her presentation the role of subnational and non-state actors in China’s low-carbon transition drawing from a global perspective of how these entities contribute. Based on the perspective of time geography, Liu Helin discussed the relationship between residential spatial form and household energy consumption. He highlighted that the time and intensity of energy-use was the key to household energy consumption based on the perspective of time geography.
Source: Office of International Affairs of HUST
Written by: Liu Peiyuan, Peng Yumeng
Photograph by: Tao Ran
Edited by: Zhang Sihan