Expert Blog

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

Geoffrey Henderson
March 31, 2016

The United States and China have issued a joint presidential statement confirming that they will each sign the Paris Agreement on April 22nd and take steps to join the agreement as early as possible this year, and calling on other countries to do the same. This statement builds on the action generated by the presidential joint statements over the last two years, which has been an important catalyst of international action on climate change. The new showing of mutual confidence and continued commitment will contribute to worldwide momentum to tackle climate change and implement the Paris Agreement.

Deborah Seligsohn and Angel Hsu
March 31, 2016

This post originally appeared on ChinaFile.

For the first time ever, a senior Chinese leader announced in his work report to the National People’s Congress—his most important formal speech of the year—that environmental violators and those who fail to report such violations will be “severely punished.” Premier Li Keqiang reported that China had succeeded in meeting or exceeding the previous Five-Year Plan’s environmental goals. The draft 13th Five-Year Plan, released March 5 and scheduled to be passed (likely without amendment) in the coming days, builds on that success, requiring greater reductions in the emissions of many pollutants.

Geoffrey Henderson
March 25, 2016

China recently released its 13th Five Year Plan, which will guide China’s economic, social, and environmental policy through 2020. The plan makes clear that China is integrating climate action into its strategy for economic development. It sets China on course to meet or exceed its international climate commitments, and lays out a strategy for a rebalancing of the economy toward cleaner drivers of growth.

To analyze the key elements of the Five Year Plan in the context of the progress China has achieved and the country’s remaining challenges, ChinaFAQs organized a press conference call on March 18th.

For the audio of the press call, click here.

Valerie J. Karplus
March 22, 2016

Based on recent economic developments and the newly-released Thirteenth Five-Year Plan, China is well on its way to reaching its climate goal of peak CO2 emissions by 2030.

The Plan charts the overarching course of China’s economic and social development through 2020, and will be translated into plans for provinces and specific sectors like energy in the coming months and years. The national plan, by reflecting the government’s high-level priorities, provides important momentum toward meeting China’s climate change commitments.

Carla Freeman and Bo Li
March 21, 2016

As reflected in the emphasis on “green development” of the recently-released 13th Five Year Plan, China’s leaders recognize the need to shift to a more sustainable, climate-friendly model of development. They have signaled that they believe market pricing is a key element of the new model, and that carbon pricing is an important policy instrument for achieving this shift. While China’s carbon trading pilots and planned national trading system have received much attention, a carbon tax is also being seriously discussed. Government think tanks have proposed various options for the sectors to be covered, tax administration, and use of the revenue to complement existing policies.

Geoffrey Henderson, Ranping Song and Paul Joffe
March 18, 2016

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

China has officially unveiled its 13th Five-Year Plan, which will guide the country’s economic and social development from 2016 through 2020. This latest edition builds on progress made over the last five years, and makes clear that environmental stewardship is an increasingly integral component of China’s development.

The plan lays out targets and measures to address several sustainability challenges—including climate change, air pollution, water, urbanization, transportation and more. The new plan’s high-level targets and policies will continue to strengthen China’s efforts to shift to a more sustainable model of growth and deliver on its climate commitments. Here’s a look at the highlights and importance of the plan for China’s action on energy and climate change.

Sifan Liu
March 11, 2016

This post originally appeared on TheCityFix.

Unique to China, Five-Year Plans (FYPs) are blueprints that central, state and local governments draft and implement to guide social and economic development. Since 1995, the national government has focused on energy efficiency in buildings in its FYPs, and sub-national governments have followed suit since 2000. Since then, many cities have released Building Energy Efficiency action plans as a sub-component of their FYPs. In fact, incorporating building energy efficiency action plans into FYPs is already a growing trend among many cities across China.

Geoffrey Henderson
March 07, 2016

China’s 13th Five Year Plan, to be released in the coming days, will provide a blueprint for the country’s economic, social, and environmental development through 2020. More specific plans for energy and other sectors are expected following the main plan’s release. The plan comes in the context of China’s increasing climate action in recent years, with three key trends emerging: China is making progress in rebalancing its economy away from heavy industry toward services, limiting coal use, and expanding its use of non-fossil energy.

To discuss these trends and provide an overview of the Five Year Plan process, ChinaFAQs hosted a press teleconference on March 4th.

For the audio of the press call, click here.

Geoffrey Henderson and Paul Joffe
March 03, 2016

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

In a few days, China will release its 13th Five-Year Plan, a new economic, social and environmental blueprint for the country’s development through 2020.

After years of astronomical growth, China’s economic expansion has begun to slow. But instead of doubling down on the fossil fuel-intensive strategy that helped produce the country’s runaway growth, China’s leaders have stated that the old growth model has run its course, and that the country will build toward a more environmentally and economically sustainable model of development. Recent signs show that the country is already beginning to shift in this direction, and the new Five-Year Plan provides the opportunity to build on that progress.

Angel Hsu, Andrew Moffat and Kaiyang Xu
December 22, 2015

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.