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High-ranking Chinese researchers visit PIK

06/17/2014 - A high-level delegation from China was brought up to speed on a variety of topics - from rising sea levels to the problems of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) - during a visit to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The delegation was led by Du Xiangwan, Director of the China Expert Panel on Climate Change (EPCC), which advises the Chinese State Council. Other acclaimed scholars from renowned Chinese institutions such as Tsinghua University were also present, including He Jiankun, Zhou Dadi and Chao Qingchen. The delegation also included Tian Chengchuan, Yuan Jiashuang and Zhu Songli, all of whom hold notable positions in key advisory bodies such as the National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC). China is currently discussing its future carbon emission targets. Due to the country’s critical impact on the global climate and international climate policy, the outcome of this deliberation has been the subject of intense speculation and anticipation.
High-ranking Chinese researchers visit PIK

Chinese delegation visits PIK: Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (center left), EPCC Director Du Xiangwan (center right) and EPPC Vice Chairman He Jiankun (2nd from left). Photo: Chang/PIK

"You managed to present the latest research developments in a simple yet very meaningful way," said delegation leader Du after PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber's talk. The Chinese researchers were particularly interested in how the effects would differ if global warming were to exceed 4°C as opposed to 2°C. Schellnhuber emphasized that even with an increase of 2°C, the overall risks would increase sharply – a 4°C rise, however, would render the effects unmanageable.

Schellnhuber also pointed out that PIK, in collaboration with the Asia Society Hong Kong, will be hosting its biennial Nobel Laureate Symposium entitled Nobel Cause in October. "This year's theme - '4 C: Changing Climate, Changing Cities' - could also be of particular interest to China given its rapid urbanization," said Schellnhuber. As the world’s most populous country, China is currently facing a wide range of challenges directly connected to climate change. "However, this may also prove to be a great opportunity for China to take a leading role in the 21st century world in which modernity has to cope with the transition to sustainability," said Schellnhuber. PIK would be delighted to provide its expertise and advice in this regard.

Ottmar Edenhofer, head of PIK's research domain Sustainable Solutions, illustrated options for a revitalization of the European emissions trade. He proposed the introduction of a minimum price which would increase over time. Along with a fixed price ceiling, this could serve to stabilize market expectations and provide investors with an incentive to invest in low carbon technologies. To countries like China which are currently in the process of establishing their own CO2 emissions trading systems, the lessons learned from the EU ETS may be of particular value, said Edenhofer.

 

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