OPINIONS Make low-carbon consumption the in thing for sustainability


Make low-carbon consumption the in thing for sustainability

China Daily

12:57, October 13, 2022

A consumer (left) checks out secondhand phones at an ATRenew outlet in Shanghai in September. (Photo: China Daily)

The central authorities have recently pointed out that China should enhance people's awareness of thrift, promote a simple, moderate, green and low-carbon lifestyle, while opposing extravagance, waste and excessive consumption.

China's household consumption accounts for about 53 percent of the country's total carbon emissions. Given that China plays an increasingly important role in global carbon emissions reduction and developing clean energy, it should change public consumption behaviors and transition to a green and low-carbon lifestyle.

Many people have consciously practiced a low-carbon and environmentally friendly lifestyle, including the use of electronic payment, the sale of unused items on second-hand platforms, and reduced their use of disposable tableware. However, to make green and low-carbon consumption a national trend, a sound and long-term system needs to be built. In January, the central government issued a program, proposing that by 2025, green transformation of consumption in key areas would have achieved obvious results and a green, low-carbon and circular development consumption system would have been initially formed, and by 2030, the green consumption policy system and institutional mechanism would have become basically sound.

By increasing R&D subsidies and introducing advanced technologies, the country can reduce the production cost of green products, so as to enrich green products through incentive mechanisms and further expand the supply scale of green products.

On the consumption side, in addition to guiding people to buy green products, the recycling consumption model such as "renting instead of buying" should be encouraged, especially for low-use frequency goods.

China should improve the green and low-carbon consumption system. Since last year, a number of regions have launched "personal carbon accounts", which digitally record carbon emissions reduction of consumers' clothing, food, housing and transportation in their personal "carbon ledger". Through green consumption behaviors such as bicycle riding, purchasing green home appliances and driving new energy vehicles, consumers can get green bonus points that can be redeemed for cash coupons or daily necessities.

Such institutional designs can maximize public enthusiasm to participate in carbon emissions reduction and should be widely promoted.

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