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As the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) draws to a close, the conference is still divided on issues such as the future of fossil energy. In response to the call of the COP28 to focus on global warming and the use of renewable energy, BISFF Beijing International Short Film Exhibition and WWF worked together to launch a series of ecological environmental video screenings and interviews to bring climate change and new renewable energy to a wider public view.


We selected three wonderful interviews in the video screening, “Under the Glacier”, “Rethinking of Energy” and “Gazing at the Sand Sea”. Talking to scientists on climate change, environmental activists, policymakers, and other experts in various fields, we discussed climate issues such as carbon emissions, sandstorms, and renewable energy. At present, the use of fossil fuels needs to be reduced when renewable energy has become the focus of attention. How does the change of the energy structure relate to us as individuals? Behind the familiar “desertification control” story, how should we re-examine the relationship between the sand sea and human beings, desertification, and human activities? Together, we try to explore the complexities of climate change and renewable energy, gain insight into climate issues and the challenges of sustainable development, and provide new perspectives for future climate action.

左滑查看 BISFF x WWF 特别策划 现场



The world has a carbon budget of 1 trillion tons of greenhouse gases, and we have used at least 600 billion tons so far.


Guest speaker: Tang Weimin


He is the current Senior Manager of Climate and Energy at WWF for climate change and carbon trading. He was the China Country Manager of the Climate Change Department of the DET NORSKE VERITAS and later joined the UK Climate Change Capital Group (CCC) as director and president in China. He manages over 50 CDM projects in China for CCC, with contracts worth over 400 million euros and annual emissions reductions of over 14 million tons of CO2. He has accumulated rich experience in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

唐伟珉 Tang Weimin:


In climate science, we have a concept called carbon budget. All the greenhouse gases around the earth, including carbon dioxide, methane, and so on, have a limit to their total amount. If this limit is exceeded, then no matter how hard we human beings try, after the warming threshold is reached, the deterioration of the whole climate will be unstoppable.


There is a global carbon budget of 1 trillion tons of greenhouse gases, and so far, we have used at least 600 billion tons, while humans are still emitting roughly 41 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the Earth every year. So if we don’t take urgent action, this climate change trend is going to get worse probably within 10 years.


Recently we see that a random rain might be an unprecedented one in history, the same as a random heat. This will become the norm in the future. If we do not take more radical measures to reduce emissions, we may encounter such floods and heat in every year after ten years. So climate change is a very serious problem.


China has been a follower of renewable energy, including a lot of technologies, implementing projects, and the production and manufacture of equipment. When I first did these research projects, we heard more equipment from foreign countries, but now we are gradually taking the lead, at least in terms of equipment manufacturing. We are the world’s power.


For example, at this year’s United Nations Climate Conference, the figures released by our leaders show that 50% of the world’s wind power equipment and over 80% of the photovoltaic equipment are provided by us. So we continue to produce more and more equipment for the world to fight climate change. In this regard, I think our country means what it says, and plays a leading role. The development of renewable energy still has its challenges.


The development of renewable energy needs the joint efforts of every industry and every person. There are some areas where we can make contributions. For example, now, especially in big cities, people think that electricity is very insignificant, but it is still advocated that everyone turn off the lights, and it is still advocated to eat without waste because the washing process consumes a lot of clean water. For example, if we drink a bottle of water, we take it with us. We travel on green transportation. each of our efforts will lead to change and help to build and operate a cleaner electricity system.


Climate change is closely related to us. I think it’s our country protects us all too well, so we feel little about this problem. But if you’re in South America or Africa, a big drought or a big fire can leave half of a country hungry and with little water resources.


It now seems to be unstoppable for the earth’s temperature to increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius. and if it rises by two degrees, many people feel they can spend more than one hundred or two hundred dollars to open some air conditioning. It is likely that after 10 or 20 years, more than half of the bees will be gone, and people can no longer eat apples or need to pay 500 yuan for one. Wheat production will be reduced by 60%. Soybeans will not drop any bean pods for some reason. Maybe I think we are too well protected, or our government does not want to scare us, but these situations are very possible. At least you can see that a drought and a plague in Africa right now are having a big impact. So, these are things that apply to each of us.

唐伟珉(右)在活动现场 Tang Weimin(right side)at BISFF

For environmental protection, renewable energy is the only way to solve problems in energy and the environment.


Guest Speaker: Qin Haiyan

世界⻛能协会(WWEA)副主席、国际电工委员会可再生能源认证体系(IECRE)副主席、全球⻛能组织(GWO) 执委、中国可再生能源学会⻛能专业委员会(CWEA)秘书⻓、国家海上⻛电装备质量监督检验中心主任、北京鉴衡认证中心(CGC)主任。

Vice Chairman of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), Vice Chairman of the International Electrotechnical Commission Renewable Energy Certification System (IECRE), Executive Committee of the Global Wind Energy Organization (GWO), Secretary-General of the Wind Energy Professional Committee of the Chinese Renewable Energy Society (CWEA), Director of the National Offshore Wind Power Equipment Quality Supervision and Inspection Center, Director of the Beijing Jianheng Certification Center (CGC).

秦海岩 Qin Haiyan:


At present, the energy structure of society is relatively stable, so why should we give up the existing energy structure to pursue renewable energy? Because energy is so important to human production and life. Without energy, it is difficult for human beings to survive and develop, let alone enter the era of civilization. Energy is also constantly changing, and every time energy changes, it is new progress for human beings.


Now our country is still dominated by coal. Why is there so much smog? The smog in Beijing around 2012 was very severe. The smog in London over 100 years ago was also very serious. It’s the energy mix. Nuclear power has also been controversial. The most famous one is the Chornobyl disaster. Hydropower is clean, but only viable in a few areas. Coal will produce pollution. Now there is an additional problem, the so-called climate change. As human beings have burned a lot of fossil fuels, carbon dioxide concentration is increasing, leading to the greenhouse effect. We have seen it all these years and experienced the harsh environment. Climate change has brought about more and more extreme weather. How to solve this problem? Alternative sources of energy must be found to develop human civilization.


Traditional energy can no longer support our sustainable development. Wind and light power have stepped onto the stage in the past two years. Wind power used to be very expensive. The price of electricity generation was about a dollar per watt 10 years ago. We built wind power stations in the middle of nowhere. At present, we can achieve 15 to 20 cents per watt of electricity, which is cheaper than the local thermal power, 30 cents per watt in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. Using such pollution- and carbon-dioxide- free energy is our goal. Wind and light are inexhaustible. However, according to the proportion of our national coal storage to annual mining, only 50 years left to be mined.


We all know that cities have to use electricity, and right now maybe 10 percent of China’s electricity comes from wind power. It’s impossible to build wind power stations next to some residential areas because they are behemoths. Wind energy facilities around the city are mainly concentrated next to some industrial parks, and there are some decentralized wind power stations. You can go to Jiangyin to have a look, and even some lubricant factories in Tianjin have decentralized wind power devices.


When the wind power stations first started, some environmental protection organizations said that after the wind-driven generator stood up, “the birds were killed”, “the cows did not produce milk”, and “the sheep did not eat grass”. First, no engineering equipment that humans establish can have no impact on the environment. The so-called killing of birds may be the most impressive question for everyone. We have made a lot of statistics at home and abroad. Foreign countries have used wind power for 30 to 40 years, and they have done a lot of studies on the environmental impact before developing wind power. What are the odds of a bird hitting a moving machine and dying? There are now 100 fewer birds killed by wind turbines than by cars. So, a bird hitting a wind turbine is an improbable event.


The environmental impact of wind power is minimal. The artificial islands formed by offshore wind power based on wind power have had a positive impact on biodiversity. Various organisms, such as fish and microorganisms under wind turbines, have increased. The biggest criticism of the environmental impact of wind turbines is the landscape pollution in Europe. People think it affects the skyline and looks ugly, but for me, it is a matter of opinion.


China’s reserves of wind power resources are over 6 billion kilowatts onshore and over 2.2 billion kilowatts offshore. In other words, if wind power is fully exploited, it can fully meet the human demand for electricity. At present, the installed capacity of wind power in our country is about 500 million kilowatts, and the world is 1 billion kilowatts. China accounts for half of it, which is just at the outset.


At this stage, technically speaking, there is no difficulty in large-scale promotion of wind power. The hardest thing about wind power, when we started 10 years ago, was that it cost too much. Now we can do it cheaper than thermal power, so basically there is no problem with technology and the economy.


However, there are two major challenges to continuing to develop wind power. At present, wind energy only accounts for 10% of the entire power system. If we want to achieve the elimination of coal power generation, over 90% from wind power, then the entire power system is facing a big change. Because wind power, photoelectric, and thermal power are completely different. Wind and light are volatile. The original power system is certainly not adapted to this power supply. From the entire power system, some technologies can be solved, including energy storage and so on.


The second challenge is to embrace the future in terms of cognition, system, especially culture. When a new thing comes along, there must be conflicts in profits. What about the thermal power guys? This kind of conflict of interest will become more and more intense, which is a problem that we need to coordinate and solve. The change of thought is also fundamental. People not only need to decide for their interests but also need to make progress in their thoughts.


For environmental protection, renewable energy is the only way to solve problems in energy and the environment. At present, renewable energy is the most realistic and economical way to meet human energy security, solve environmental problems of energy, and maintain sustainable development.

秦海岩(右)在活动现场 Qin Haiyan(right side)at BISFF

Sandstorms are inevitable, but we can reduce the harm.


Guest Speaker: Zhou Jinxing


He is the director of Soil and Water Conservation Engineering Department, Beijing Forestry University, the director of Yunnan Jianshui Ecological Station of China Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (CTERN), the director of Forestry Ecological Engineering Research Center of Ministry of Education, the chairman of Southwest Karst Rocky Desertification Governance National Innovation Alliance, and the vice chairman of Rocky Desertification Monitoring and Comprehensive Governance Specialized Committee of China Forestry Engineering Association. He is the provincial and ministerial level candidate of talents project by the State Forestry and Grassland Administration, and received “China Science & Technology Award for Young Talents in Forestry”, “China Science and Technology Award for Young Talents in Soil and Water Conservation”, and “Outstanding Youth of Beijing Forestry University Scholars”. His topics of research are soil and water conservation, desertification control, rocky desertification management, and ecological restoration engineering.

周金星 Zhou Jinxing:


Desertification in China was once a significant issue. The previous low level of social and economic development made it difficult for us to tackle effectively the requirements for sandstorm prevention and control.


The grass barriers shown in the film are a way to control desertification. The wind removes organic matter from the soil and makes it difficult for vegetation to grow, causing the dunes to shift. However, grass barriers can stabilize the dunes, acting like artificial organic matter in the soil.


Grass barriers have the added benefit of increasing the organic matter in topsoil, which includes insects. This helps improve the microclimate and can reduce desertification while enhancing the environment. As a result, grass barriers have become a common strategy for stabilizing shifting dunes.


The residents on the outskirts of the desert are the first to feel the need for desertification control. As soon as they open their doors, sand invades their homes, posing a threat to their health and affecting their daily life and productivity. In the film, the people appear optimistic to me. It is common for them to take on the responsibility of controlling sand in areas affected by desertification.


Desertification control strategies often originate from people's experience in production and practice. They have found it in production that natural dunes with vegetation can serve as sandbags, making it possible to employ grass barriers for stabilizing shifting dunes.


Sandstorms are inevitable, but we can reduce the harm. By preventing and controlling sandstorms near residential areas, we can keep houses free from sand when people open their doors.


There are three major factors that cause sandstorms: the source of sand and dust, strong winds, and exposed ground surfaces. These factors are mostly atmospheric and geographic, making it difficult to eliminate them.


The residents on the outskirts of the desert have noticed less sand in their rooms lately. It’s hard to determine if this is because of human efforts to control desertification or natural factors. Human activities are not solely responsible for desertification; nature factors also play a significant role.


The primary reason for desertification in specific regions is human activities that ignore natural laws. Inadequate reclamation in areas with limited water resources leads to desertification. Overgrazing of grasslands causes irreversible changes, such as degradation of vegetation and loss of topsoil. It formats shifting dunes. Road construction or mining in the desert separates fixed dunes. It also formats shifting dunes.


The major challenges in soil and water conservation and desertification control are preserving water resources and localizing efforts. In the film, people opt for planting Nitraria tangutorum or Haloxylon ammodendron, as these species require less water and are well-adapted to the water scarcity issue in Northern China.


The second major issue is environmental respect. The people in the film are skilled at planting in a sheltered, low-lying area with low density. They know that the sand can cut down trees as a handsaw during the wind blowing if there is no shelter, or completely bury the entire area if it is too low-lying.


China is the global leader in desertification control. Since joining the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, China has made unprecedented efforts. These efforts have resulted in excellent outcomes, effectively reducing man-made damage.

周金星(左)在活动现场 Zhou Jinxing(left side)at BISFF

Sandstorms are inevitable, but people will make their own efforts to deal with it. I believe in fate, but I don’t just accept it.


Guest Speaker: Zhou Hao


He is a professional documentary filmmaker who has worked as a journalist for more than a decade. Film festivals have screened and awarded his films all over the world for more than a hundred times. In 2014, his film Cotton won the Best Documentary at the 51st Golden Horse Film Festival; In 2015, his film The Chinese Mayor won multiple awards including the Special Jury Prize at the 31st Sundance Film Festival, the Best Documentary Feature Film at the 9th Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and the Best Documentary at the 52nd Golden Horse Awards for the second consecutive time.

周浩 Zhou Hao:


I chose such a group of people in Gulang County in Gansu Province because I was interested in China’s efforts to combat desertification and plant trees in the desert. This county has a tradition of controlling desertification. Since the 1980s, a few old men have been planting trees in the desert and on the county’s edge. They believe that by doing so, they can stop the wind and sand from approaching the county.


Originally, I intended Before Sandstorm to be a grand narrative, but it might have too much propaganda. Hence, I resolved to start from something smaller. We may center our discussions on a grand theme, but it is ordinary individuals who truly bring it to fruition.


Environmental governance may seem complex and distant to ordinary individuals. It’s implied in the film that people prioritize their hard-earned money over environmental concerns. For most people, the primary interest is having job opportunities near their homes. As a result, China has developed a production chain for desertification control, where government funding and support from large factories have transformed it into a thriving local industry.


Planting trees in the film usually occurs in the spring and fall, not during the summer. The process of planting seems absurd to the audience. They remove the topsoil and use the darker soil underneath, which has moisture, to plant small shrubs that are easy to grow. In the summer, they water it once or twice more. If everything goes well, the survival rate will be higher than 60-70%. If it doesn’t survive, they try again the next year. Both government and Ant Forest invested in these programs.


Sandstorms are mostly a force of nature that humans can hardly control. What we can control is our own behavior. Three months of desertification control seems like an achievement, but in 100 or 200 years scale, human power is still limited. We should simply focus on doing what we can without causing harm.


The film may have a philosophical meaning. The people in the film spend their time talking, without making much sense. Even their labor makes little sense. But actually, life can sometimes find its meaning in a kind of meaninglessness.


We premiered this film at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival. The local audience described the tasks shown in the film as Sisyphean. Over time, this repetitive action seems to gain certain significance. I'm still undecided myself about whether I should constantly fill my life with things or not.


A woman in the film describes the daily routine of women as an endless cycle. We often spend our lives not knowing if what we do is meaningful or not. That’s my interpretation of the people in the film.

我会更喜欢这个片子的英文名,沙尘暴来临之前(Before Sandstorm),就像周金星老师说的,沙尘暴是不可能消亡的。它一定会来,但是人会做自己的努力,我信命但我不认命。我知道沙尘暴一定会来的,但是能有一点小小的倔强,我希望它别来。

I prefer the English title of this film, Before Sandstorm. As Mr. Jinxing Zhou just mentioned, sandstorms are inevitable. They are inevitable, but people will make their own efforts to deal with it. I believe in fate, but I don’t just accept it. I know sandstorms are bound to come, but I hope we can be stubborn and prevent it.

周浩在活动现场 Zhou Hao at BISFF


A live replay of this event is available at BISFF's WeChat (ID: bisffest)

Photographers:胡一苇Hu Yiwei、任怡梦Ren Yimeng、王麓尧Wang Luyao

Editors:周思雅Zhou Siya、赵紫瑄Zhao Zixuan、苗辰绪Miao Chenxu、

周菁晶Zhou Jingjing、王灏宇Wang Haoyu、杜晋宇Du Jinyu

Translator : Chengxi Hong, Wally




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