History will be made with first carbon neutral summit
China has launched a forest carbon project to offset the buildup of carbon emissions during the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou by planting thousands of trees.
China on Monday launched a forest carbon project to offset the buildup of carbon emissions during the G20 LeadersSummitinHangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, on Sept 4 and 5, making it the first carbon neutral summit.
With an estimated 6,674 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to be produced during the summit, the project plans to plant more than 22 hectares of trees in Hangzhou’s suburbs inMarch and April next year to offset the buildup of such emissions, Chen Shuxian, a top official of the State Forestry Administration, said at the launch ceremony.
Over the next 20 years, the trees are expected to absorb all greenhouse gases discharged during the summit, making it the first carbon neutral summit in the history of G20.
“The decision to launch a forest carbon project to offset carbon emissions during the G20 summit demonstrates our scientific attitude and practical action in mitigating climate change, sending a positive message to the world by promoting low-carbon events,” said Gao Feng, special representative on climate change issues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
HuangXuming, deputy governor of Zhejiang province, said they will give full support to the carbon offset project to ensure it is successful, adding that the province has already launched other forest programs, which raised more than 160 million yuan ($24 million) in funding.
It will be the third major global event hosted by China that is carbon neutral, made possible by planting trees, “continuing a trend in the country of hosting environmentally friendly events,” said Li Nuyun, secretary-general of theChina Green Carbon Foundation, co-organizers of the forest carbon project.
The first two carbon neutral major global events were the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Tianjin in October 2010 and the AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Beijing inNovember in 2014.
The planting of trees following those two events has finished and they are already playing their part in absorbing carbon emissions as scheduled, showingthat“wehavehonored our commitment to mitigating climate change,” Li said.
The foundation has supported more than 40 forest carbon projects in China, including many major events organized by governments as well as small programs funded by private companies.
These carbon offset programs have brought more benefits than simply reducing carbon emissions. They have also created more jobs for residents and fueled economic growth for local governments where the forests have been planted, Li said.
For example, following the forest program for the climate change conference in Tianjin, the counties in Shanxi province where the trees were planted are expected to make 2.6 million yuan for their labor services and more than 7 million yuan from the by-products and timber, a report from the foundation said.
“We hope more events, no matter how big or small, adopt such environmentally friendly practices to mitigate climate change and bring people profit,” Li said. Xinhua contributed to this story.