Expert Blog

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

Valerie Karplus and Michael Davidson
August 24, 2016

When it was first announced in late 2014, China’s climate pledge was a bold and unprecedented step that gave new confidence to global efforts to mitigate climate change. This pledge, enshrined in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, commits the country to peak its emissions at latest by 2030 through steady reductions in carbon intensity and deployment of non-fossil energy. As the world’s largest energy user and emitter, and second largest economy, China’s move placed a significant dent in global emissions projections at the time.

Today, the combination of China’s economic slowdown and proactive government realignment of internal priorities toward more sustainable growth has led to lower projections of the country’s emissions trajectory. The question is no longer whether or not China will be able to meet its pledge—indeed, a peak sooner than 2030 looks well within reach, suggesting China’s climate pledge was both prudent and credible.

Chris Henderson
July 22, 2016

In a post discussing the decline in China’s coal consumption, Fergus Green, London School of Economics, highlights the connection between the slowdown in energy demand growth and the change in China’s economic growth model from energy-intensive industries to high-tech manufacturing and services. Government policy is supporting non-fossil energy and limits on coal due to drivers such as climate change, energy security, air pollution, and pursuit of commercial opportunities.

Coal for Electricity
Lulu Xue
June 16, 2016

This post originally appeared on WRI’s insights blog.

Transportation is already a major source of CO2 emissions in both China and the United States—at 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively. The percentage of people traveling by car is increasing in Chinese cities, rising from 15 percent to 34 percent in Beijing between 2002 and 2013, creating air pollution and fueling climate change.

Transportation
Wee Kean Fong
June 08, 2016

This post originally appeared on WRI’s insights blog.

More than half the world’s people live in cities, and cities are responsible for more than 70 percent of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions on Earth. These dramatic statistics mean cities have a critical role to play in addressing climate change. This is especially crucial in China, where fast-growing metropolitan areas like Chengdu – with a population of 14 million – have become engines for economic, scientific and technological progress. Until recently, Chengdu has not focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even as it emphasized sustainable development.

Chris Henderson
June 07, 2016

The eighth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue concluded today, June 7th, in Beijing. The Dialogue

produced numerous outcomes for U.S.-China cooperation on climate change and energy, which are summarized in the document linked below. (See Section III) The two countries committed to work together to implement the Paris Agreement, launched a new cooperation initiative on renewable energy, and committed to continuation and strengthening of cooperation on a wide array of other low-carbon energy projects.

Katie Lebling and Xiaoliang Yang
May 12, 2016

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

Momentum for climate action has surged since the Paris Agreement in December, with increased investment in clean, renewable energy and new energy technologies. But will the Agreement give a needed boost to carbon capture and storage? Known as CCS, this suite of technologies aims to keep climate-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, acting as a bridge to a lower-carbon future.

Ranping Song and Miao Hong
April 28, 2016

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

China’s Renewable Energy Law prohibits curtailment, but the problem persists, partly for technical reasons. However, a large part of the problem is not technical. In practice, fossil fuel power plants have priority over renewables, leaving less room for solar and wind power in a country with a large overcapacity of coal-fired power. There is also a lack of clarity on how the renewable energy integration mandate should be enforced. Better-designed and -implemented policies can help. In the last two months, China’s government has thrown three punches to tackle the problem.

World Resources Institute
April 22, 2016

This post originally appeared on the World Resources Institute’s live blog covering the Signing Ceremony of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. To follow the signing ceremony via WRI’s live blog, click here.

The signing of the landmark international climate change agreement reached in Paris in December is taking place today at the United Nations in New York. China is represented by Zhang Gaoli, Vice Premier of China, and Special Envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Zhang said that after China signs the Paris Agreement today, it will work hard to earnestly implement it. Zhang said China will finalize its internal process to join the agreement before it hosts the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in September 2016, and will encourage other G20 members to quickly join the agreement as well.

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.