Digitalization 'key' to carbon neutrality

Yang Jian
Experts told the online 2021 Schneider Electric Innovation Summit of key measure to drive carbon neutrality which China is pledged to achieve by 2060.
Yang Jian

Digitalization, which can help measure and reduce energy consumption, is the key measure to drive carbon neutrality, experts told an online summit on Wednesday.

China has pledged to reduce domestic carbon dioxide emissions in an international effort to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The nation will strive to cap carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

The ambition and the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) will map the future trend of the Chinese economy, such as massive industrial integration, a prosperous green economy and more trade pacts, said Li Daokui, a professor at Tsinghua University.

“Companies must take low-carbon emissions as their key development strategy and seek opportunities through social transformation,” Li told the online 2021 Schneider Electric Innovation Summit, which began on Tuesday and ends on Tuesday. 

Industrial leaders, experts and economists shared their opinions on topics such as the opportunities and challenges of carbon neutrality, digital transformation, green energy management and green intelligent manufacturing.

“Carbon neutrality is a restraint as well as a historical opportunity,” said Pan Jiahua, director of the Ecological Civilization Research Institute of Beijing University of Technology.

Pan said companies should take the opportunity of innovation to shape future competitiveness.

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan has made the digital economy, new energy and innovation as the three pillars to achieve carbon neutrality.

“Digitalization is the best tool to drive carbon neutrality,” said Yin Zheng, executive vice president of Schneider Electric and president of the China region.

Digitalization can help to measure, analyze and reduce energy consumption by integrating management. It can also boost the development of new energy and the circular economy, Yin said.

Thirteen of its 23 factories in China have been listed as national “green factories” by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Schneider aims to achieve carbon neutrality during the company’s operations by 2025 and among its full supply chains by 2040.

Forty percent of global carbon emissions come from industry, 20 percent from transport, 40 percent from buildings and around 3 percent come from the IT industry.

China's 14th Five-Year Plan highlights the development of the digital economy by promoting its deep integration with the real economy and building digital industrial clusters with international competitiveness to spur high-quality growth.

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