Measurement and Compliance

Clean Air, Cool Climate: Solving these problems together

Given the health risks posed by air pollution, it is easy to understand why the Chinese government wants to address this problem. However, the dilemma is that some steps to clean up air pollution can actually contribute to global warming.

China’s Air Pollution Standards Will Drive Technology Innovation

While Chinese air pollution has become world famous, over the last couple of years there has been a slowly growing awareness that the Chinese government is working hard to reduce it, and in fact in the last five years pollution levels have been falling. What has not yet come to world attention, and in fact, few Chinese have really focused on, is that China has the potential to become the world leader in standard setting, at least in the two most polluting sectors, power and oil and gas. What this means is that China is now or soon will be demanding new technologies and new solutions to reduce air pollution, and thus its regulatory demands will become a driver of innovation.

Building Energy Efficiency in China: Policies and Markets

Key Points:

  • As of 2011, buildings accounted for 28% of China’s energy consumption. Upward pressures on building energy use include population and economic growth, urbanization, and rising living standards.
  • China has adopted a series of domestic policies, including building energy codes, policies and incentives based on green building ratings, and building retrofit programs, to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.
  • China’s building codes could reduce building energy use by 13-22% and CO2 emissions by 14-20% from business-as-usual by the end of this century, depending on their stringency and coverage.
  • China’s nationally determined contribution for the Paris Agreement and 13th Five Year Plan indicate stronger action on building energy efficiency.
  • Building efficiency policies have created a market in China for energy-efficient materials and products, which U.S. companies are poised to help supply.
Read more…

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.
Read more…

China's 1-2-3 Punch to Tackle Wasted Renewable Energy

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.

China Signs Paris Agreement, Will Encourage Others to Join

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.

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.

Press Call Analyzing China's 13th Five Year Plan

China recently released its 13th Five Year Plan, which will guide China’s economic, social, and environmental policy through 2020. The plan makes clear that China is integrating climate action into its strategy for economic development. It sets China on course to meet or exceed its international climate commitments, and lays out a strategy for a rebalancing of the economy toward cleaner drivers of growth.

To analyze the key elements of the Five Year Plan in the context of the progress China has achieved and the country’s remaining challenges, ChinaFAQs organized a press conference call on March 18th.

For the audio of the press call, click here.

China’s Low-Carbon Strategy: Could a Carbon Tax Play a Role?

As reflected in the emphasis on “green development” of the recently-released 13th Five Year Plan, China’s leaders recognize the need to shift to a more sustainable, climate-friendly model of development. They have signaled that they believe market pricing is a key element of the new model, and that carbon pricing is an important policy instrument for achieving this shift. While China’s carbon trading pilots and planned national trading system have received much attention, a carbon tax is also being seriously discussed. Government think tanks have proposed various options for the sectors to be covered, tax administration, and use of the revenue to complement existing policies.

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.