Expert Blog

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

ChinaFAQs
December 20, 2011

ChinaFAQs expert Angel Hsu and her colleagues from the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy team up with Columbia University, Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning and City University of Hong Kong for this report to help guide effective pollution control and natural resource management.

Deborah Seligsohn
December 16, 2011

The UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, concluded over the weekend with a consensus to negotiate an agreement that will include all major emitters of warming gases. The conference agreed to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, extended the work of the group for Long-term Cooperative Action, and most significantly established new negotiations under the Durban Platform. Launching these negotiations was hailed as major progress around the world (Bloomberg, The Statesman, Xinhua). For the first time the world’s three major emitters (by total amount of greenhouse gases emitted), China, the United States and India, have agreed to begin negotiations for an international “protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force,” indicating that there will be actions and efforts by all countries. (For the implications of this complex legal wording, see my colleague Jake Werksman’s discussion on WRI Insights).

Angel Hsu, Jonathan Smith and Max Song
December 06, 2011

The idea of a total cap on energy consumption in China, first suggested last March before the National People’s Congress has reemerged in Durban, and surprisingly there are now suggestions that China might consider some kind of a cap on carbon emissions. This has been suggested apparently as part of domestic policy rather than as a negotiating position, but details are very sketchy.

Angel Hsu
December 06, 2011

When China launched its first official pavilion at a UN climate conference on Sunday, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat Cristiana Figueres was there alongside China’s NDRC Vice Minister Xie Zhenhua to cut the ribbon. Swarmed by journalists in the standing-room only conference center of the China pavilion in Durban, Figueres applauded China for being a “trend-setter” in global renewable energy, resonating around the world and during the first week of climate negotiations in Durban.

Angel Hsu, Max Song, and Jonathan Smith
December 02, 2011

Interview with China energy expert Jiang Kejun, Energy Research Institute, NDRC

As the first week of the UN climate negotiations in Durban are underway, one of the most persistent themes has been how to bridge gaps - the divide between the developed and developing countries, many of whom disagree about whether the Kyoto Protocol should be extended into a second commitment period; the hole in climate finance pledges from developed countries; and the ambition or emissions gap between the Copenhagen pledges and the stabilization of global temperatures below a 2 degrees Celsius increase from pre-industrial levels.

Deborah Seligsohn and Angel Hsu
November 23, 2011

As its negotiators head to Durban, South Africa for the next round of the UNFCCC climate negotiations, China can point to significant progress in domestic climate policy since the Cancun negotiations a year ago. March, 2011 saw the adoption of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, binding domestically China’s first phase of its Copenhagen and Cancun commitments to reduce its carbon intensity 40 to 45 percent by 2020. In this first year of the new Five Year Plan, China also adopted a number of specific climate-related implementation measures (For a more exhaustive list, see China’s just published White Paper on its climate change activities).

ChinaFAQs
November 22, 2011

At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii last week, Chinese President Hu Jintao joined US President Obama and other APEC leaders in signing a pledge to cut tariffs on an undesignated list of environmental goods and services to 5 percent by 2015. APEC members also pledged to eliminate domestic content requirements on goods and services by 2012. Together, the 21 APEC economies account for 60 percent of global trade in environmental goods and services, and the global market for environmental technologies in 2008 represented $782 billion, with nearly $300 billion in the US, according to a US Commerce Department estimate. A spokesman for one organization representing US manufacturers hailed the commitment as a “huge” outcome. Read the full story at Reuters

Deborah Seligsohn
November 22, 2011

Just last week the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) announced public consultation for new regulations that would establish a standard for small particulate matter (PM 2.5), an important public health advance. China’s official media outlet Xinhua reported the new standard, which MEP proposes bringing into effect nationwide by 2016, and that Shanghai believes its monitoring capacity is sufficiently ahead of this timeline to implement as early as next year. We have heard elsewhere that Beijing, too, is likely to move earlier than 2016. MEP’s announcement and an FAQ describing the policy are already on the web in Chinese, but the English-language website has not yet been updated. The Xinhua report also noted the importance of public pressure in bringing about environmental improvements.

Deborah Seligsohn
November 15, 2011

Beijing’s poor air quality earlier this month, akin to what was routinely seen in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 1960s, garnered global headlines. Both Chinese and international press have focused on the differences in monitoring between China’s air quality index and a monitor for small particulates located at the US Embassy in Beijing.

Deborah Seligsohn
October 24, 2011

China once again hosted its largest wind power expo, China Wind 2011, surpassing last year’s exhibition with the number of companies and the exhibition floor space increasing by 50%. Not surprisingly for an event in Beijing, the China market continued to be a major focus, but this year there was much more sense of a global market with increasing interest in new emerging markets, in particular Latin America.