Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Global collaboration between nations and international institutions is essential not only for fighting the corona pandemic effectively, but also to facilitate ongoing collaboration on climate change. The EU and China, the two other largest economies, have both expressed a desire to strengthen international cooperation and multilateralism in the post-pandemic era, as well as calling for a green recovery. In June, during the 10th round of high-level strategic dialogue, China and the EU agreed to develop closer ties on a range of issues, such as corona recovery and climate challenges. Some experts believe that a strong EU-China relationship is critical to advance the international climate process.
Norway is highly dependent on open trade and international cooperation. As a small European country, Norway is closely connected to the EU, but has also developed a relatively good relationship with China since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 2016. As the EU and China have already established a platform for ocean cooperation, and considering that Norway and China have common interests and development strategies in ocean governance and sustainability, there exists a great opportunity for Norway and China to develop an ocean partnership, promoting sustainable ocean business, and making significant contributions to a greener global economy and recovery.
In 2018, King Harald and Queen Sonja led a state visit to China. During the visit, the King made a speech: "China and Norway - An Ocean of Opportunities", calling for more green and innovative ocean business cooperation between Norway and China.
I would like to point out three aspects for Norway and China´s cooperation in “Ocean Sustainability and Innovation”, the theme for the World Ocean Day 2020.
Joint R&D in developing innovative solutions and technologies for ocean sustainability
An interesting example was the integration of smart technology into the traditional seafood value chain system. Norwegian in a Box AS is currently cooperating with Vechain, a Shanghai-based, leading block chain technology company, to use ‘block chain as a service’ for transparency in the information flow during seafood production and processing.
Ocean plastic and microplastic pollution could be a key area for joint R&D for ocean sustainability. The Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences’ Water Institute has been working on finding solutions to control urban microplastic pollution in the larger Shanghai area. According to the director it remains at an early stage, and requires more work and international cooperation for future development. The international project ‘SINOPLASTE’ is also currently welcoming partners for a joint effort to combat plastic pollution.
Scaling up Norwegian maritime technologies and service solutions for the Chinese market
Norway is a leader in ships fueled by hydrogen, battery, and LNG. The Norwegian green shipping program aims to create the world’s most environmentally friendly fleet and scale up Norwegian green shipping technologies and service solutions for the global green market. China faces domestic environmental and climate challenges and has an ambition to develop its maritime economy and blue industries. In May, the Ministry of Transportation of the PRC issued ‘The Inland River Shipping Development Outline’. Three of the main tasks in the outline is the promotion and application of new and clean energy, promoting environmentally friendly ships, and improving green service system infrastructure in ports. Thus, this could offer a great opportunity for Norway to scale up the green shipping program through exporting these environmental technologies and green transport services to China.
Joint green investment and finance in maritime infrastructure in developing countries
“Norway will play a part in developing a sustainable shipping sector for the 21st century”, according to the government´s action plan for green shipping. The green shipping program can create green value in the maritime sector both domestically and internationally, and make a significant contribution to green maritime transport and logistics solutions. The BRI has a vision to build a Maritime Silk Road for the 21st century, connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa through energy and transport infrastructure investments in developing countries. Currently, many developing counties are struggling with the corona crisis, and thus have less political and economic capacity for investment in renewable and clean energy infrastructure. Norway and China could develop a joint green investment and finance initiative focusing on maritime infrastructure development projects in developing countries. This could have significant impacts on the transition to a greener global economy. This would also correspond to both Norwegian and Chinese foreign development policies on ocean management for solving environmental and climate challenges in cooperation with other countries, supporting sustainable growth in the blue economy of developing countries.
Challenges and opportunities
Rhetorically, both the Chinese and Norwegian governments address ocean sustainability, climate, and a green shift during recovery. Cooperation between Norway and China in sustainable ocean business could potentially lead to a significant contribution to the global green recovery and shift. However, challenges and obstacles remain, including a risk of perpetuating the fossil fuel economy. In June, Norway amended the petroleum tax system as part of the government´s recovery package, with the purpose of maintaining and providing for continued investment and activity in the Norwegian petroleum sector. According to the CEO of WWF Norway, “the new tax regime would be likely to keep Norway locked into the oil era longer than under a more neutral tax regime”. In China, restrictions on the construction of new coal-fired power plants have been loosened, with more approvals in March 2020 than in the whole of 2019, and major new areas were opened up for new coal mines.
In the coming months, China will develop its 14th Five Year Plan which will set its top-level energy and climate policy blueprint for 2021-2025. Will China develop a more ambitious and concrete plan for tackling environmental and climate challenges and for implementing a greener economic recovery package? At the Climate Ambition Summit on 12th December, President Xi Jinping announced a series of new stronger commitments of China´s climate targets. This could be an important signal that shows China´s development ambition in tackling climate change and promoting a green recovery to the COVID-19 crisis.
Nordic Green Experiences (NGE) is a Norwegian based consulting company, specializing in facilitating project development for green and blue technology between China and the Nordics. NGE aims to develop better communication and further partnerships between Chinese and Nordic clients, by acting as liaison and advisor in the development of pilot and larger projects targeting the use of green and blue technology in both markets. You are welcome to contact us for more information!
治理海洋塑料和微塑料污染是实现海洋可持续性发展的关键。研讨会上，上海环境科学院水研究所主任表示，他们一直在寻找解决方案，以控制上海区域范围内的城市微塑料污染。然而这方面的研究还处于初期阶段，需要更多的国际交流和科研合作。另外，“ SINOPLASTE” 中国项目负责人也表示欢迎更多的国际伙伴加入，共同治理塑料污染。挪威，作为海洋王国，在海洋塑料污染治理方面有很多经验和成果可以借鉴。中国可以加强和挪威在海洋塑料领域方面的科研合作。
另外，挪威和中国在合作探索将智能技术运用到传统海鲜产品价值链中。Norway in a Box AS正在与位于上海的领先区块链技术公司Vechain合作，使用“区块链服务”来确保海鲜产品生产和加工过程中信息的公开和透明。