Farewell “Industrial Civilization”: The Green Revolution Ushered in by Carbon Neutrality

The worldwide consensus and action on carbon neutralization marks the beginning of the end of the traditional development paradigm formed after the industrial revolution and the rise of a new green development paradigm.This new development paradigm will create a new modernization model for mankind and bring sustainable green prosperity to China and the world.In the history of mankind, there has never been a self-revolution and self-subversion on such a large scale, so covering everything, so penetrating everything, so perfect as carbon neutralization.Carbon neutrality is far from simply a matter of fossil energy substitution and technology, but the most comprehensive and profound “paradigm shift” of human development since the Industrial Revolution.
The change of development paradigm means the change of the logic at the bottom of development, which will completely change the development concept, development content, development mode formed in the traditional industrial era, as well as the environment and well-being meaning of development.These changes will be reflected in the concept of resources, Tencent Cloud Organization model, business model, financial model, institutional mechanism and policy system, etc., and will be embodied in various fields such as energy system, infrastructure, industrialization, urbanization, agricultural modernization, financial system and technological innovation.The transformation of development paradigm needs to rethink the basic problems of economics, including value theory, the connotation and measurement of wealth, the concept of cost and benefit, the concept of optimization, the goal and constraint conditions of consumer and enterprise behavior, etc.Under the “paradigm shift” of carbon neutralization, the production purpose, production mode, consumption mode, lifestyle and social organization of human beings will change, and social values will also change, and human beings, production, society and nature will be integrated.We need to think about, observe, and understand the new logic of human development that carbon neutrality brings about from the grand and historical perspective of a “paradigm shift.”
Carbon neutrality announced the withdrawal of the “industrial civilization” based on the industrial revolution.Industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization based on the industrial revolution have brought about leaps in material productivity, increased per capita output and income, and achieved great economic success measured by material indicators.However, this development paradigm centered on the production and consumption of material wealth is based on high material resource consumption, high carbon emission and high ecological environment destruction. Its excessive exploitation and use of high-carbon energy and materials, as well as its heavy dependence on physical capital, have led to unsustainable global climate change risks, depletion of natural capital and ecological resilience.The excessive exploitation of nature in pursuit of material consumption has led to severe and widespread environmental degradation, including loss of biodiversity and habitat.This development paradigm not only leads to the destruction of the relationship between man and nature, but also inevitably brings about continuous pressure on human health and inequality, and weakens social cohesion.Materialism and consumerism have not led to a corresponding increase in well-being.The unsustainability of the traditional development paradigm is a serious challenge for all countries in the world.
Carbon neutrality will redefine the goal of development.The traditional industrial revolution uses GDP, a narrow measure of output, to maximize the production and consumption of material wealth as its primary goal, exaggerates the role of consumption of material goods and market-oriented services on well-being, fails to fully consider the opportunity costs and benefits of production and consumption on the social environment, and fails to properly articulate or understand the unsustainable pressures exerted by traditional development paradigms on the environment, as well as threats to public health and social welfare.Under the “paradigm shift” of carbon neutrality, the fundamental purpose of development is to improve people’s well-being.There needs to be a shift from maximizing material output to thinking more broadly about what well-being means and understanding human well-being in many dimensions.This brings us back to a people-centred theory of value, and to a well-being-based development goal that “goes beyond GDP.”
the new development paradigm will define that content of development.People’s need for a “good life” is not limited to material needs in a narrow sense, and human happiness does not always increase with the increase of consumption of material goods.Therefore, the new development content must include material and non-material output, covering environmental quality, health, social harmony and other multi-dimensional needs.Therefore, the whole production function and consumption function will change in nature, and transform the production and consumption system.In the aspect of production, the new development paradigm reconstructs the relationship between man and nature, puts human activities within the boundary of nature, considers the balance among production factors such as human capital, material capital, natural capital and social capital, and the use of material capital cannot be at the expense of weakening other capital.In addition, in addition to improving people’s well-being by entering the production process, the four types of capital themselves contribute directly to human well-being in many ways.
The new development paradigm will reform the orientation and function of government.Carbon neutralization is essentially a new type of public goods provided by the government. The goal of carbon neutralization, carbon market and relevant laws and regulations are not formed spontaneously by the market, but artificially created by the government to avoid climate crisis and improve the overall social and human well-being.Given that climate change is the result of the failure of both markets and governments, the transition to carbon neutrality is a daunting task for governments, requiring rapid, far-reaching and lasting changes in economic management and the way resources are allocated.The transformation of the development paradigm goes far beyond decoupling emissions from growth through zero-carbon technologies, but also involves changing patterns of resource allocation, production, circulation, consumption and distribution, as well as systemic reshaping of social values.There is also a need for changes in the way cities and communities use their resources, a practical reorganization of economic activity and behaviour patterns, and a more general definition of “well-being” to measure the effectiveness of development policies.This requires governments to play a more active role in guiding strategic planning than in the past, while better allowing the market to play a decisive role.Strategic planning should be carried out in the form of “top-level design,” fully integrating market mechanism and incentive mechanism, and effectively coordinating technological innovation, institutional reform and social transformation in the process of transformation.The government should formulate public policies from the new perspective of development paradigm transformation, take the people as the center, and insist on the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.The government should promote the formation of a broad social consensus on carbon neutrality, promote the transformation of consumer behavior, form a “self-fulfilling” market expectation, and create conditions for green technology innovation and the emergence of a new economy.
The transformation of development paradigm is a systematic change, which must rely on the joint role of the government and the market, especially the leading role of the market in resource allocation.Understanding the different roles of government and the market in achieving carbon neutrality is key to a successful transition.One of the important prerequisites for giving full play to the role of market is to introduce the social cost of carbon emission into the decision-making system of producers and consumers, so as to change their behavior patterns and promote the rise of green industry.Strong and predictable carbon pricing plays an important role in the transition to carbon neutrality.In addition to carbon costs, the eco-environmental costs of economic activities must also enter the decision-making system of economic entities to achieve the synergy of “carbon reduction, pollution reduction, greening and growth.”Policies and regulatory frameworks developed by governments need to contain incentives that allow the market to play a decisive role in the allocation of resources.
The realization of carbon neutralization concerns the common interests and goal development of all mankind, so carbon neutralization is essentially a global common cause.As long as there are countries on earth that continue to emit carbon dioxide, all mankind will be affected by climate change, so achieving carbon neutrality requires concerted action by all countries in the world.
The world will cooperate and compete to develop globally convergent and consistent standards for climate change and a low-carbon future, including industry inventories, technical standards, financial disclosure, etc.The world will carry out basic scientific research and inventions, key scientific and technological innovations and major technological changes in cooperation and competition.The world will construct investment and financing system reform in cooperation and competition, support zero-carbon financial capital flow, support more financial capital flow into carbon neutralization field, especially financial support for carbon neutralization transformation of developing countries.The world will also build a carbon neutral governance mechanism in cooperation and competition to coordinate the formulation and supervision of carbon neutral policies among countries.Therefore, carbon neutralization must develop in international cooperation and competition. Technological innovation, standard change, product breakthrough and trade policy in any corner of the world will affect the local market of other countries.Carbon neutralization is international cooperation and competition, and is the most important development tide and activity of the future international community. The new international order will also be born in the extremely broad, profound and structural “paradigm shift” in carbon neutralization transformation.
Carbon neutrality is humanity’s dream for the future, and it is constantly changing.It requires us to look at today from the future, to see the future from today, and to seize opportunities from the unknown at any time.This requires a high degree of foresight in the temporal dimension, a high degree of sensitivity in the spatial dimension, and a high degree of interplay between temporal and spatial hedges.Openness to the unknown, continuous adjustment to the known, continuous observation and continuous learning become the core competitiveness.
Carbon neutral transformation will profoundly change the underlying logic of business.Under the background of carbon neutralization, the relationship between enterprises and society will also undergo significant changes.Enterprises need to understand the fundamental changes in social values caused by carbon neutralization, and understand that the change of values becomes the biggest driving force to promote the realization of carbon neutralization.When values change, social relations will change, and individual consumers and society will become the main forces driving carbon neutralization. They are demanders, stakeholders and supervisors.The logic of the enterprise needs to be viewed from the perspective of traditional local sales, market, quality, service and technology to the perspective of grand, social and global people.In the era of carbon neutrality, enterprises are not simple benefit creators, nor simple commodity producers, but co-participants in human interests and destiny.
Like the “paradigm shift” of all development modes in history, the carbon-neutral “paradigm shift” also has no blueprint in hand and no smooth road ahead.The direction of carbon neutralization is clear, it is the general trend of development in today’s world, but everything else is uncertain, changing, even violently changing.Many elements of carbon neutrality remain highly uncertain, including the path to carbon neutrality, breakthroughs in carbon neutrality technology, carbon neutral products and global carbon neutral market competition.In the process of carbon neutralization, the underlying logic of the whole world has changed, and reshaping the way of thinking is a particularly important aspect.We need to see the four dimensions of production, consumption, society and natural combination and interaction, the new government-enterprise logic of government, market and enterprise relations, the two spatial dimensions of domestic and international interaction, and the two temporal dimensions of future impact on the present.Only those who dare to explore, think and learn can reach the other side of success.

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