An analysis of China’s key climate targets and the steps China is taking to meet them.
Latest from ChinaFAQs
- Q: How have the joint U.S.-China announcements helped create momentum for global climate action?
- Q: Is it true that under its new commitments, China might avoid doing anything to address climate change until 2030?
A: No. China will need to take stronger near-term action to meet its commitments and has begun to do so.
- Q: Is China starting from scratch in trying to fulfill its commitments, or has it already taken steps in this direction?
A: China is already taking action to strengthen all of the building blocks of its strategy to shift to low-carbon energy.
- Q: Do we have reason to believe that China will follow through on its commitments?
A: Yes. China has already made progress on its energy and emissions targets and has strong reasons of national interest to build on its current efforts.
- Q: What is the benefit of the U.S. and China, and many other countries, taking action together?
A: With countries acting together, each can have confidence its actions are part of a global effort to address climate change.
This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:
Nearly a year ago, the United States and China laid out their national climate action plans for the coming years. These were the first in what is now a substantial list of national climate action plans—plans that will form the basis of a new international climate agreement to be finalized in Paris later this year. Now, the world’s two biggest emitters have taken the next step by cementing their plans, jointly announcing key actions they’ll take to achieve their national goals, and clarifying their views on the upcoming Paris agreement.
The latest Obama-Xi announcement sends a strong message: the two nations are acting fast to enable a global low carbon transition. Friday’s joint announcement is an unprecedented step by the world’s #1 and #2 emitters to commit, at the highest levels, to a strong set of domestic policies and to reinforce global mechanisms that will help to engage peers ahead of the upcoming landmark climate change negotiations in Paris.
The US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change is a landmark for the bilateral relationship in terms of its specificity and ambition. This is especially true given that many Chinese wonder at the direction of US policy given that none of the Republican candidates in next year’s election support strong climate policy.
Climate change looms large among the many issues on the table at the upcoming meeting of Presidents Xi and Obama in the U.S. next week. Any new developments at that meeting will build on announced domestic efforts to address the issue, starting with a joint declaration in Beijing last November of what would become the main elements of each country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (or INDC). In its INDC, China has pledged to reverse the increase in its CO2 emissions to peak by 2030 or sooner.
At this week’s U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit in Los Angeles, eleven cities and provinces from across China committed to reach a peak in their carbon dioxide emissions before the national goal to peak around 2030. The cities and provinces—along with eighteen U.S. counterparts, which announced emissions reduction targets—also pledged to track and report their emissions, establish climate action plans, and enhance U.S.-China cooperation at the subnational level.
China made international news recently when it announced a new pledge to peak its emissions by 2030, in addition to other climate commitments. The country laid out 15 specific actions as part of its “intended nationally determined contribution” (INDC). One in particular–curbing emissions from the buildings sector–offers significant potential for helping China achieve its new climate goals.