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More people opting for low-carbon travel

Updated: Aug 26, 2021 By Hou Liqiang CHINA DAILY Print
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A mobile phone user shows the mobile app of Ant Forest. [Photo/IC]

Mobile apps encourage participation in energy conservation, tree planting

China has seen increasing public participation in low-carbon travel in the past five years, according to data revealed by online platforms on Wednesday, which was National Low-carbon Day.

More than 600 million Chinese have used Ant Forest, a mobile app launched in August 2016 by internet firm Ant Financial, according to information disclosed at an online event.

The app rewards users with virtual energy when they take low-carbon actions such as walking or using public transport instead of driving.

With the energy, people can apply to have different varieties of trees planted.

The platform has seen roughly 360 million trees planted in 11 provincial-level regions, including Shanxi, Hubei and Yunnan provinces, the event was told.

More than 20 million metric tons of virtual energy has been awarded, with the carbon reduction from people's actions equivalent to taking all the cars in the country off the roads for one and a half months.

Meng Qingfeng, an executive with bike-sharing service provider Hello Inc, said the company's shared bikes, including electric ones, are available in more than 400 Chinese cities.

The cycling trips its users had made by the end of last year meant that more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions had been avoided, he said.

While addressing the virtual event, senior environmental officials called for even greater contributions from the public to the country's climate change commitments.

Zhao Yingmin, vice-minister of ecology and environment, said the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2017 vowed to promote a sound economic structure that facilitates green, low-carbon development.

In September last year, President Xi Jinping announced that China aims to have carbon dioxide emissions peak before 2030 and realize carbon neutrality before 2060.

Zhao said green, low-carbon development, which should be incorporated into the entire process of socioeconomic development, needs extensive participation from all walks of life.

People can start from small things, such as saving electricity, driving less and using fewer disposable products. "The small actions of every individual can together form a tremendous force in green and low-carbon development," he said.

Xie Zhenhua, China's special envoy for climate change affairs, said the country faces formidable challenges to bring its climate targets into reality, as it plans to go from peak carbon dioxide emissions to carbon neutrality in only about 30 years.

"It needs arduous and joint efforts from all sectors of society," he said.

National Low-carbon Day was launched in China in 2013.

This year, the online celebration event was hosted by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the Beijing municipal government.

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