SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will seek high-tech solutions to resolve its complex environmental challenges and make use of innovations in big data, biotech and artificial intelligence to tackle pollution, habitat loss and climate change, it said on Wednesday.
In a new action plan, the Chinese government said it would build a “green technology innovation system” over the 2021-2025 period to tackle air, soil and groundwater pollution, reduce waste and protect ecosystems, noting that current technologies were not mature enough to serve the country’s long-term needs.
The system will be backed by tax incentives and new “green technology banks”, and China will also encourage enterprises and financial institutions to provide more support to innovative green technologies, the plan said.
The new plan is designed to help the world’s biggest greenhouse gas producer meet its targets to bring emissions to a peak by 2030 and to become “carbon neutral” by 2060. China has cut CO2 emissions per unit of economic growth by a third in the last decade, but overall volumes continue to rise.
The hi-tech plan appeared days before the start of a new round of global climate talks in Egypt, with Chinese representatives expected to focus on persuading industrialised countries to provide a long-awaited $100 billion annual fund to help poorer nations adapt to rising temperatures.
The plan promised to “deploy science and technology systematically” to resolve a wide range of environmental problems, improve its ability to assess the impact of rising temperatures in vulnerable regions, and monitor new sources of pollution, harmful chemicals and drug-resistant bacteria.
It also reiterated its commitment to carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology to prevent greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. It promised more research to support large-scale demonstration projects and the use of aquifers and oil-bearing formations to contain sequestered CO2.
The government will also support research into “deep decarbonisation technologies” in a variety of industrial sectors, including steel, cement, thermal power and agriculture, it said.
The plan, published by the Ministry of Science and Technology and other government departments, also called for more international cooperation in the field of climate and environment, including with the United States.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Michael Perry)
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