Measurement and Compliance

China’s performance on the 2014 Environmental Performance Index: What are the key takeaways?

Amidst headlines detailing off-the-charts air pollution in Beijing, it may come as a surprise that China’s latest environmental scorecard does boast bright spots. The 2014 Yale Environmental Performance Index (EPI) – a biennial global ranking of how well countries perform on a range of critical environmental issues – ranks China at 118 out of 178 countries. With respect to other emerging economies with rapid growth and development, China does not fare as well overall as Brazil (77th), Russia (73rd), or South Africa (72th), but is considerably ahead of India, which ranked 155th. However, China is a leader in addressing climate change and is taking corrective action to address weaknesses.

Emissions Trading in China: First Reports from the Field

When Tianjin launched its carbon emission trading scheme (ETS) on Dec 26th 2013, it became the fifth ETS operating in China, following Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong. Now that five of seven pilots have started trading and the rest are expected to start in 2014, the aggregate of all emissions regulated in China through the seven pilots will be the second largest in the world, following only the European Union.

ChinaFAQs — Short Take

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Summary of key information on China’s actions on climate and clean energy and the implications for the United States.

Emissions Trading in China: First Steps and the Road Ahead

This week China launched its first pilot emission trading program. This development is potentially a major marker in China’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Shenzhen Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) program will cover some 635 industrial companies from 26 industries. This is the first of seven proposed pilot GHG cap-and-trade schemes in China, which China has been developing since 2011.

China’s New Energy Consumption Control Target

China’s State Council in late January approved an “energy consumption control target” to keep the country’s total energy consumption below the equivalent of 4 billion tonnes of coal per year by 2015.

"Beyond Index" - Can 'Airpocalypse' be China's 'Silent Spring'?

News over the past five days in many parts of northern China have centered around the unprecedented air pollution shrouding several northern cities, including the capital. The “Airpocalypse,” so dubbed by micro-bloggers, has elicited a strong, unambiguous response frot the public and the media – causing many to call a spade a spade by casting away euphemisms like fog in favor of more candid descriptors like smog and pollution. It has also inspired this poignant music video lamenting the lost of Beijing to the evil forces of pollution.

Second National Communication on Climate Change of the People's Republic of China

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China submitted its “Second National Communication on Climate Change of the People’s Republic of China” to the UNFCCC in November 2012. The Communication contains a national greenhouse gas inventory of China’s emissions in 2005, and descriptions of the impacts of climate change in China and China’s policies and actions on climate change mitigation.

Towards a China Environmental Performance Index

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.

China At Durban: First Steps Toward a New Climate Agreement

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).

Chinese experts discuss absolute emissions limits in Durban

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.