WRI and Phoenix Present Global Economic and Environmental Trends for 2016 Stories to Watch Event

Beijing (February 29, 2016)—The Central Economic Work Conference recently gave top priority to green development in the work plan for 2016, following which a host of practical measures will be adopted. According to the results of a recent survey, conducted by World Resources Institute (WRI) and Phoenix International Think Tank on the topic of "Looking into Green Development under the 13th Five-Year Plan", 47.5% of respondents held that economic growth can be consistent with environmental protection actions, and 46.2% stated that sustained economic growth is impossible without environmental actions.

Today in Beijing, World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization, and Phoenix International Think Tank co-hosted “Looking into the 13th Five Year Plan: Stories to Watch 2016”. Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President for WRI, and ZOU Ming, Vice President and Chief Editor of ifeng.com, invited renowned energy and climate experts to identify key issues concerning global environment and development in 2016 and discuss hot topic issues under the 13th Five-Year Plan, including green growth goals and supply-side reform.

Global Environmental Trend is Closely Linked to China's Low-Carbon Development

In 2015, international commitments including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement set out a clear blueprint for sustainable, low-carbon economic development. China submitted comprehensive and robust national commitments (or INDCs), making new policy announcements and commitments to the international community, which demonstrate the country’s intention to pursue green and low-carbon development during the 13th Five Year Plan period. In today’s world of shared climate impacts, shifting to low-carbon development is a shared responsibility among all countries. Without further action, China will be greatly impacted by mounting climate impacts, and the low-carbon development path proposed by China will also have far-reaching significance for the international community.

Against this background, WRI experts comprehensively analyzed trends and data to develop insights for four stories, including how countries will implement of the Paris Agreement, how business and city leaders will respond to the Agreement, opportunities and challenges faced by green financial system, and why businesses and governments should help reduce food loss and waste.

WRI’s Manish Bapna said, “2015 brought historic agreements that will reshape our response to the twin challenges of global development and climate change. Now it is up to countries, businesses and other actors to make the pivot from agreements to implementation. The direction that China takes, including in its 13th Five-Year Plan, will play a major role in determining the success of these agreements, and will be a strong indication for the rest of the world about the shift to a more sustainable, low-carbon future.”

Green Growth Path under the 13th Five-Year Plan

As China faces serious overcapacity challenges, the central government has reiterated the need of supply-side reform and has made clear instructions for industries of excessive capacity, such as steel, coal, and real estate. These measures will bring huge pain to the society and may lead to economic slowdown and rising unemployment. Achieving soft landing in resolving overcapacity requires collaboration and coordination of all parties.

Citing professional research expertise of Phoenix International Think Tank, ZOU Ming, Vice President and Chief Editor of ifeng.com, said, " This year marks the beginning of China’s 13th Five-Year, a significant time for China to take the path of sustainable development under the guidance of transformations in energy area, to step up effort to develop green economy, and to promote the implementation of sustainable development strategy. China, at present, faces both challenges and opportunities in terms of multilateral energy cooperation, so its top priority is to speed up energy companies’ overseas development by taking full advantage of international and domestic markets and resources to strongly support the development of energy industry.

Stories to Watch is one of WRI’s flagship events that has been held for 13 consecutive years. This is the fourth time the event has been held in China. With its partners, WRI uses insights and data to analyze trends regarding sustainable development globally and in China, incorporating factors in science, economics, policy, development and markets that will impact natural resources and human society. By reviewing and drawing upon international experiences and analyzing specific opportunities and challenges, the event provides targeted, independent and evidence-based recommendations for China to progress toward green growth targets, including under the 13th Five Year Plan.