Expert Blog

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

Joanna Lewis
October 03, 2011

In the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy and amidst reports of an impending trade dispute against China’s solar subsidies, many are asking how US solar manufacturers can possibly compete with Chinese manufacturers. Sure, Chinese solar companies now dominate global solar photovoltaic (PV) markets (see figure below), but that does not mean the US is not still playing an important role in the solar industry. If we just look at how many solar panels are being manufactured here, we miss the more important metric—the total value created by the solar industry in the United States. A significant portion of the revenue from solar projects comes not from manufacturing the panels themselves, but site preparation and system installation, which must be done locally with local jobs.

Deborah Seligsohn
September 23, 2011

Beijing hosted a series of international meetings over the last week and a half, primarily connected to cleaner coal technologies, but also involving the partners in the US-China Clean Energy Research Centers (CERC), which include clean coal, energy efficient buildings and advanced vehicles. The primary draw to Beijing was a ministerial meeting of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF), a US-initiated group to advance carbon dioxide capture, use and storage (CCUS), which China hosted for the first time.

Barbara Finamore
September 20, 2011

Originally appeared on Barbara Finamore’s NRDC Blog on Sept. 15, 2011

China’s State Council recently announced its work plan for energy-savings and major pollutant emissions reductions through 2015 (“Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction Comprehensive Work Plan for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) Period”). This key guiding document for realizing China’s energy and environment goals sets mandatory energy intensity and major pollutant emissions targets for provinces and highlights a number of key policies to achieve them.

Policy and Governance
Worldwatch Institute
August 19, 2011

Aurthors Dr. Jihua Pan, Haibing Ma, and Dr. Ying Zhang discuss the potential for China’s green development strategy to generate jobs in energy, transportation, and forestry in a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.

“Over the past decade, and especially during the 11th Five-Year period of 2006–10, China has prioritized green development in almost all of its leading economic sectors.
Angel Hsu
August 10, 2011

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) recently released a “barometer” to show regional progress toward energy conservation goals in the first half of 2011. While the 12th Five-Year Plan announced in March a goal of reducing energy intensity 16 percent by 2015, more detailed plans as to how this overall target is being allocated to provinces has yet to be released, although recent reports suggest that these details will be revealed soon.

Deborah Seligsohn
August 02, 2011

The many climate and energy pieces of China’s 12th Five Year Plan appear to be moving into place. Most recently, Chinese Climate Change Minister Xie Zhenhua announced that China was about to come out with a full plan for the 17% carbon emissions reduction target in the Plan (2011-2015). In March, China announced an initial set of initiatives to control the growth in carbon emissions, and the 17% figure is part of the larger goal or reducing emissions by 40-45% by 2020.

Deborah Seligsohn and Sarah Forbes
July 28, 2011

China’s Climate Change Minister Xie Zhenhua offered a new phrase to emphasize the importance of technologies to reduce carbon in a speech at a major international conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in Beijing, July 27. Minister Xie said that China’s energy and environment policies support “energy efficiency and carbon reduction” (jieneng jiantan).

Deborah Seligsohn
July 12, 2011

Environmental news in China has seen some real highs and lows of late, ranging from the opening of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail to a severe oil spill.

Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Rail a Sell-Out

Trains began running on the new high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai on June 30. Formerly a trip that could take over 12 hours, the new trains can make the 820 mile journey in less than 5. In contrast, a trip of equivalent distance from Washington, DC to Orlando by train takes over 16 hours.

Industry, Transportation
Luke Schoen
June 09, 2011

In what appears to be a mutually-satisfactory outcome to a 9-month trade dispute resolution process initiated by the United Steelworkers (USW), China has agreed to end its “Special Fund for Wind Power Equipment Manufacturing” subsidy program that provided grants to domestic wind power producers favoring Chinese-made components over imports. In September 2010, the USW petitioned the U.S. Trade Representative to investigate several Chinese programs it said were against WTO rules. After reviewing the petition, in December the USTR requested formal dispute settlement consultations with the WTO concerning this wind subsidy program.

Deborah Seligsohn
June 07, 2011

As it has for over a decade, previously as the State Environmental Protection Administration and since 2008 as the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), China’s MEP issued its annual “State of the Environment Report” last week. In presenting the 2010 report at a press conference on Friday, June 3, Vice Minister Li Ganjie frankly stated that while some environmental indicators “kept on turning better” – mainly sulfur dioxide emissions – “the overall environmental situation is still very grave and is facing many difficulties and challenges.”