NEW YORK, April 12 (Xinhua) -- More countries should take China's lead in transitioning toward cleaner sources of energy, experts have said at a U.S. energy summit here.
China's efforts in energy transition "are commendable," Sunita Narain, director general of the Center for Science and Environment, an India-based public interest research and advocacy organization, told Xinhua Wednesday on the sidelines of the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit hosted by Columbia University in New York City.
"China is showing the kind of leadership" needed on this front, Narain added.
While praising China for its commitment to energy transition -- a long-term structural change in energy systems mainly from fossil-based to zero-carbon -- experts also called on the international community to work together to address climate change and foster sustainable development.
"China is looking ahead. China is doing all it can, even though it is still a developing country with its per capita emissions on carbon dioxide lower than other parts of the world," said Narain.
Her remarks were echoed by other experts, who applauded China for its significant efforts in developing clean energy and tapping sources of renewable energy.
"China has played a very important role in that by concentrating a lot of investment and developing its expertise in the manufacturing of solar panels, which has resulted in solar-generated electricity becoming much cheaper," Theodore Roosevelt IV, managing director at New York-based Barclays Investment Bank, told Xinhua.
In addition to China's immense progress on low carbon technologies, Roosevelt IV also spoke highly of its policies on emissions reduction.
"China is willing to look at different policy options" instead of seeking growth at the expense of the environment, he said.
Thanks to increased investment in green energy, China's carbon intensity, or the amount of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic products (GDP), declined by 46 percent in 2017 from 2005 levels, meeting the target ahead of schedule for a 40-45 percent drop by 2020, according to the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
The country is also a leader in new energy vehicles (NEVs), with many regions across the country moving to replace their traditional gasoline-powered buses and taxis with green-energy vehicles.
It has encouraged the use of NEVs to ease pressure on the environment by offering tax exemptions and purchase subsidies.
For years, the country has remained the world's largest NEV market, with around 1.26 million cars sold in 2018.
China's policy shift from energy security to environmental security is helping to change the world's energy landscape in a more sustainable way, Xavier Chen, president of the Beijing Energy Club and chief strategy officer of Chinese private energy company the ENN Group, said during the summit.
Chen called on countries to work together to accelerate a global transition in energy for the greater common good.
In the eyes of Roosevelt IV, China's green efforts showed an "extensive and profound knowledge about climate change" from a policy perspective.
He also called on other major countries including the United States to "take the threat of climate change seriously."
In 2015, nearly 200 countries agreed on the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a way to keep the rise in the average temperature no higher than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
In 2017, the United States announced its decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
Narain urged joint efforts of the international community to tackle climate change, adding that she expects to see more U.S. engagement on the issue.
Development, energy security and environmental sustainability are all "imperative," she said.