Expert Blog

ChinaFAQs experts react to the latest headlines about China climate and energy issues.

Sarah Forbes and Jonathan Moch
April 25, 2014

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

One year ago, the United States and China declared in their Joint Statement on Climate Change that “forceful, nationally appropriate action by the United States and China—including large-scale cooperative action—is more critical than ever. Such action is crucial both to contain climate change and to set the kind of powerful example that can inspire the world.”

Angel Hsu and William Miao
March 27, 2014

Amidst headlines detailing off-the-charts air pollution in Beijing, it may come as a surprise that China’s latest environmental scorecard does boast bright spots. The 2014 Yale Environmental Performance Index (EPI) – a biennial global ranking of how well countries perform on a range of critical environmental issues – ranks China at 118 out of 178 countries. With respect to other emerging economies with rapid growth and development, China does not fare as well overall as Brazil (77th), Russia (73rd), or South Africa (72th), but is considerably ahead of India, which ranked 155th. However, China is a leader in addressing climate change and is taking corrective action to address weaknesses.

Sarah Forbes
March 20, 2014

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

As China charts its energy future, the country is setting its sights on natural gas. The Chinese government aims to double the share of natural gas in its energy mix by 2015—including unconventional sources like gas from shale and coal-bed methane. Shale gas development in China is still in the nascent, exploratory phases, but estimates place China’s shale gas reserves among the largest in the world.

ChinaFAQs
March 07, 2014

In a panel at the Brookings Institution moderated by ChinaFAQs expert Kenneth Lieberthal, ChinaFAQs experts Sarah Forbes, Kelly Sims Gallagher, and Jane Nakano discussed the challenges and prospects for China’s clean energy future. Sarah Forbes discussed China’s natural gas sector, focusing especially on shale gas. Kelly Sims Gallagher discussed China’s coal sector and the potential of carbon capture and storage technologies. Jane Nakano discussed China’s nuclear energy future.

For the full transcript and a recording of the panel see: “China’s Clean Energy Challenges

Ranping Song and Hongpeng Lei
January 23, 2014

When Tianjin launched its carbon emission trading scheme (ETS) on Dec 26th 2013, it became the fifth ETS operating in China, following Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong. Now that five of seven pilots have started trading and the rest are expected to start in 2014, the aggregate of all emissions regulated in China through the seven pilots will be the second largest in the world, following only the European Union.

Manish Bapna and Deborah Seligsohn
November 25, 2013

This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post.

Confronted with a cooling economy and global headlines declaring an “Airpocalypse”, China faces challenges on multiple fronts. While many people are quick to point out the hurdles, the reality is that its leaders are moving ahead with significant policy measures and reforms. If successful, these actions will not only help drive China’s economic development, they will address another mounting threat: climate change.

Jonathan Moch and Paul Joffe
November 22, 2013

Last week, China’s leadership met at the Third Plenum of the Central Committee to outline major reforms China will undertake over the next decade. While China faces multiple challenges, reforms related to greater environmental protection and low-carbon development were high on the agenda. China’s leaders understand the challenges and are taking actions that can have significant impact.

Deborah Seligsohn
November 14, 2013

When I went back to China this summer after my first year living outside of China in a decade I was not sure what I would find. The US press reporting on Chinese pollution had been so uniformly negative that I was not sure if somehow immediately after I left Beijing the improvements that had been taking place since the 11th Five Year Plan began in 2006 had suddenly stalled. What I found was quite to the contrary – new regulations that come into effect in 2014 are driving massive upgrades of the power sector and transforming the energy supply in central cities.

Jonathan Moch and Sarah Forbes
October 22, 2013

It is common knowledge that China burns a large amount of coal, with the fuel accounting for nearly 70% of China’s primary energy consumption in recent years. What is less commonly known is that China is also working on ways to reduce the impact of its coal use, including aggressively pursuing research and demonstration of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology.

Ailun Yang and Ryna Yiyun Cui
October 08, 2013

Last month, China’s State Council announced a new action plan to combat air pollution, which included a prohibition of new coal-fired power plants in the three most important metropolitan areas around Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou (known as the “key-three city clusters”).1 This followed a previous announcement of a $275 billion investment by the central government in improving air quality. The action plan aims to tackle the increasingly severe air pollution problem in China, which is largely caused by its massive consumption of coal.