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

Where Wai (outer) meets Nei (inner): How China’s international and domestic policy positions reinforce each other

From the Paris Climate Negotiations

National goal-setting—an expected key outcome from the Paris climate talks currently underway—is a common fixture of policy-making in China and many other countries. Collectively, the current pledges still show significant gaps toward meeting long-term climate goals. Nevertheless, they represent an important increase in scope and ambition over those pledged in advance of the 2009 Copenhagen summit, and those established earlier under the Kyoto Protocol. There is great importance in—and a growing consensus around—enhancing these previous rounds of commitments through a pledge-and-review institution, which if designed properly can also mobilize domestic constituencies even across a wide range of political systems. As China and other countries begin to consider their next steps, we explain here the interaction of international and domestic policy-making in setting climate action targets in China.

Data Transparency: New Dynamic at COP-21 in Paris

From the Paris Climate Negotiations

COP-21 provided key insights into China’s evolving view on emissions MRV as national leaders committed to continue building monitoring systems and implementing verification protocols, including third-party verification, particularly for its seven regional pilot emissions trading schemes (ETS) and planned national program. In COP-21’s second week, the Chinese delegation hosted a “China MRV System” side event that brought together academics, government officials and policy experts to discuss China’s capacity to monitor and verify carbon emissions.

In Paris, China Announces Promising Elements of National Emissions Trading System

From the Paris Climate Negotiations

Negotiators from around the world have gathered in Paris to finalize a global climate agreement, which will be supported by the commitments of over 180 countries to domestic climate action included in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). In September, China’s President Xi Jinping announced that China will launch a national emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2017 as one of the key policy instruments that China will use to achieve its own commitment to peak carbon emissions around 2030 or earlier. While questions remain about how China will implement a complex market-based mechanism, recent announcements by Chinese officials shed light on promising plans for the policy’s design and implementation.

Climate Change in Paris; Air-Pocalypse in Beijing. What’s the connection?

From the Paris Climate Negotiations

By now everyone who follows environmental news or looks at the front page of major newspapers knows that in the last two weeks Beijing has suffered through not one but two of these major multi-day air pollution events that have come to be known as air-pocalypses. Having such a spate of bad air in its capital city just as China was advocating for its green agenda in Paris was undoubtedly somewhat embarrassing to Chinese negotiators, but what does it mean beyond that? We’ve seen commentary suggesting everything from “how can we believe Chinese commitments,” to “this will increase Chinese efforts and make the issue more visible to Chinese.” But what really do conventional air pollution and greenhouse gave emissions have to do with one another? Let’s dig in a bit.

China in Paris: New Responsibility, New Optimism

From the Paris Climate Negotiations

There is an infectious enthusiasm among the Chinese delegation, both actual negotiators and the many academics the Chinese government brings along to provide advice and deliver a continuous set of information sessions at its pavilion, that contrasts greatly with the nervous defensiveness of earlier years. The Chinese Communist Party declared in October that China should play a greater role in global governance, specifically citing the climate talks as an important venue, and the Chinese in Paris appear to be embracing that role.

China, the U.S., and France: Paris and the Road Ahead

While the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (for short, COP21) officially begins on Monday, November 30th in Paris, the groundwork for a successful outcome and future effort has been laid over the past few years. Along with the United States, France and other major economies, China has played an integral role in building momentum toward a global climate agreement. In the past, some have hesitated because one or another country was said not to be taking action, but that is no longer an issue, and Paris points the way forward to the stronger action needed by all countries.

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

Key Questions:

  • 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.
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