Forestry

China and the United States: Leading on Climate Action--New Challenges, New Opportunities

Key Questions:

  • Q: How have the joint U.S.-China announcements helped create momentum for global climate action?
  • Q: What steps is China taking toward its goals?
    A: China has been taking action to strengthen all the building blocks of its low-carbon strategy, and continues to do so.
  • Q: Do we have reason to believe that China will follow through on its commitments?
    A: Yes. China has already made progress on its energy and emissions targets and has strong reasons of national interest to build on its current efforts.
  • Q: What is the benefit of the U.S. and China, and many other countries, taking action together?
  • Q: With countries acting together, each can have confidence its actions are part of a global effort to address climate change. Moving forward together yields increasing opportunities for all.
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How China's 13th Five-Year Plan Addresses Energy and the Environment

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.

5 Questions: What Does China’s New Five-Year Plan Mean for Climate Action?

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.

China in Paris: New Responsibility, New Optimism

From the Paris Climate Negotiations

There is an infectious enthusiasm among the Chinese delegation, both actual negotiators and the many academics the Chinese government brings along to provide advice and deliver a continuous set of information sessions at its pavilion, that contrasts greatly with the nervous defensiveness of earlier years. The Chinese Communist Party declared in October that China should play a greater role in global governance, specifically citing the climate talks as an important venue, and the Chinese in Paris appear to be embracing that role.

China, the U.S., and France: Paris and the Road Ahead

While the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (for short, COP21) officially begins on Monday, November 30th in Paris, the groundwork for a successful outcome and future effort has been laid over the past few years. Along with the United States, France and other major economies, China has played an integral role in building momentum toward a global climate agreement. In the past, some have hesitated because one or another country was said not to be taking action, but that is no longer an issue, and Paris points the way forward to the stronger action needed by all countries.

China Is Raising Its Climate Ambition, Experts Say

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

China is increasing its ambition in addressing climate change, and it has a strong national interest in sustaining its actions. That’s according to a recent panel of experts convened by WRI’s ChinaFAQs project and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

China Announces Next Steps in Shift to Low-Carbon Path

As China unveiled its contribution (“INDC”) to the international climate negotiations, affirming the pledges it made in its joint announcement with the U.S. in November, a spokesman for Christian Aid, Mohamed Adow, said, “The pledge marks a significant shift away from a fossil fuel-intensive development path to one focused on renewables on a scale the world has never yet seen.” Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute called it “a serious and credible” effort, and said “China’s commitment was made possible by its ambitious clean energy policies and investments enacted over the past decade.”

Strategic and Economic Dialogue announces climate progress, ChinaFAQs and EESI hold briefing

For the full briefing notice including speakers, topics, and the video recording, click here

At this week’s U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, D.C., the two countries built on their robust cooperation on climate change and clean energy. The U.S. and China pledged to work together to address obstacles to an “ambitious global climate agreement” at this December’s Conference of the Parties in Paris. They also agreed to continue to discuss each country’s post-2020 plans, and announced a new dialogue on domestic policy. The countries highlighted their progress on the initiatives they jointly announced in November, such as phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and expanding the Clean Energy Research Center (CERC).

U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue Announcements on Climate Change and Low-Carbon Technology

Cooperation on climate change and air pollution were important themes of this week’s U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue held in Beijing, an annual meeting among high-level diplomats from both nations. The U.S. and Chinese representatives discussed their respective efforts to develop targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and announced a series of agreements under the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group.

Is China ready for climate change?

Once again, China’s ability to handle a changing climate is being tested.

In 2013, rainfall in south China’s Yunnan province dropped 70 percent below average levels. This, combined with similar rainfall decline over the past three years, has turned the once water-abundant region into a much drier place.

China is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. An extreme weather event like Yunnan’s years-long drought is just one of many problems it faces.