Green light

His­tory will be made with first car­bon neu­tral sum­mit

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

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