Taking Stronger Action on Climate Change: China and the United States

An analysis of China’s key climate targets and the steps China is taking to meet them.

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Renewable Energy In China: A Graphical Overview of 2014

A graphical overview of China’s renewable energy investment and installed capacity in 2014.

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Why China is Acting on Clean Energy

Why is China pursuing a low-carbon energy strategy, what are the benefits and challenges, and what can other nations learn from the Chinese experience?

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U.S.-China Renewable Energy Partnership (USCREP)

A description of the U.S.-China Renewable Energy Partnership and its work on policy and planning, grid integration, standards and certification, and renewable technology and policy.

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Latest from ChinaFAQs

Ahead of G20 in Hangzhou, U.S. and China Join Paris Agreement

On September 3rd, 2016, the United States and China formally joined the Paris Agreement on climate change. The announcement came at a bilateral meeting between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping on Saturday, ahead of the upcoming G20 summit in Hangzhou, China. The announcement provides a major boost in the momentum behind the effort needed for the Paris Agreement to enter into force, which is likely to happen before the end of 2016. In order for the agreement to enter into force, a total of 55 countries representing 55% of global GHG emissions must join. China and the United States are the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for a combined 38% of global emissions.

Building Energy Efficiency in China: Policies and Markets

Key Points:

  • As of 2011, buildings accounted for 28% of China’s energy consumption. Upward pressures on building energy use include population and economic growth, urbanization, and rising living standards.
  • China has adopted a series of domestic policies, including building energy codes, policies and incentives based on green building ratings, and building retrofit programs, to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.
  • China’s building codes could reduce building energy use by 13-22% and CO2 emissions by 14-20% from business-as-usual by the end of this century, depending on their stringency and coverage.
  • China’s nationally determined contribution for the Paris Agreement and 13th Five Year Plan indicate stronger action on building energy efficiency.
  • Building efficiency policies have created a market in China for energy-efficient materials and products, which U.S. companies are poised to help supply.
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China's Climate Leadership and the G20 Summit

Climate change is the area in which China has shown perhaps the strongest international leadership. As China hosts the G20, we can expect energy and climate to be front and center.

Making China's Economic Transition Work for Global Climate and the Local Environment

When it was first announced in late 2014, China’s climate pledge was a bold and unprecedented step that gave new confidence to global efforts to mitigate climate change. This pledge, enshrined in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, commits the country to peak its emissions at latest by 2030 through steady reductions in carbon intensity and deployment of non-fossil energy. As the world’s largest energy user and emitter, and second largest economy, China’s move placed a significant dent in global emissions projections at the time.

Today, the combination of China’s economic slowdown and proactive government realignment of internal priorities toward more sustainable growth has led to lower projections of the country’s emissions trajectory. The question is no longer whether or not China will be able to meet its pledge—indeed, a peak sooner than 2030 looks well within reach, suggesting China’s climate pledge was both prudent and credible.

Decline in China's Coal Consumption Explained

In a post discussing the decline in China’s coal consumption, Fergus Green, London School of Economics, highlights the connection between the slowdown in energy demand growth and the change in China’s economic growth model from energy-intensive industries to high-tech manufacturing and services. Government policy is supporting non-fossil energy and limits on coal due to drivers such as climate change, energy security, air pollution, and pursuit of commercial opportunities.

4 Lessons on Scaling Up Sustainable Transport in US and Chinese Cities

This post originally appeared on WRI’s insights blog.

Transportation is already a major source of CO2 emissions in both China and the United States—at 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively. The percentage of people traveling by car is increasing in Chinese cities, rising from 15 percent to 34 percent in Beijing between 2002 and 2013, creating air pollution and fueling climate change.

23 Chinese Cities Commit to Peak Carbon Emissions by 2030

This post originally appeared on WRI’s insights blog.

More than half the world’s people live in cities, and cities are responsible for more than 70 percent of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions on Earth. These dramatic statistics mean cities have a critical role to play in addressing climate change. This is especially crucial in China, where fast-growing metropolitan areas like Chengdu – with a population of 14 million – have become engines for economic, scientific and technological progress. Until recently, Chengdu has not focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even as it emphasized sustainable development.