Policy and Governance

Panel: China’s Clean Energy Challenges

In a panel at the Brookings Institution moderated by ChinaFAQs expert Kenneth Lieberthal, ChinaFAQs experts Sarah Forbes, Kelly Sims Gallagher, and Jane Nakano discussed the challenges and prospects for China’s clean energy future. Sarah Forbes discussed China’s natural gas sector, focusing especially on shale gas. Kelly Sims Gallagher discussed China’s coal sector and the potential of carbon capture and storage technologies. Jane Nakano discussed China’s nuclear energy future.

For the full transcript and a recording of the panel see: “China’s Clean Energy Challenges

Carla Freeman

Dr. Carla Freeman is Associate Research Professor of China Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University and the Director of the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute (FPI). She holds a BA in History from Yale and an MA in China studies and international economics and PhD in international relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS. Before joining the SAIS faculty, she was a political risk consultant covering China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, and later worked as a program officer for civil society and community development and sustainability at The Johnson Foundation. Her recent research has examined China’s environmental governance and sustainable development, with her current work focused on the politics of China’s carbon mitigation strategies.

Contact Info: 

cfreeman5@jhu.edu
(202) 663-5890

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.

Clearer Skies Over China – Coping with Dirty Air and Climate Change

Key Points:

  • A U.S.-Chinese team led by the Harvard China Project has developed a comprehensive framework for evaluating the economic and environmental costs and benefits of national policies to control air pollution and CO2 emissions in China.
  • Contrary to some perceptions of Chinese inaction on air pollution, China’s SO2 control policy of 2006-2010 may have been one of the most swiftly successful air pollution policies on record judged by key criteria: sulfur emissions fell sharply and prevented as many as 74,000 premature deaths from fine particle (PM2.5) air pollution in 2010 alone, all at little economic cost.
  • Looking to the future, a modest tax on carbon dioxide, starting small and rising to about $6.50 per ton in 2020 (in 2007 dollars), could lead to a 19% reduction in China’s CO2 emissions in 2020 compared to a scenario with no tax, with little effect on GDP growth and consumption over the long run.
  • Such a carbon tax would also deliver powerful ancillary benefits: reduced concentrations of an array of domestic air pollutants and prevention of as many as 89,000 premature deaths a year by 2020.

China Can Turn its Challenges into Clear Opportunities for Greener Growth

This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post.

Confronted with a cooling economy and global headlines declaring an “Airpocalypse”, China faces challenges on multiple fronts. While many people are quick to point out the hurdles, the reality is that its leaders are moving ahead with significant policy measures and reforms. If successful, these actions will not only help drive China’s economic development, they will address another mounting threat: climate change.

High level Chinese policy initiative shows new momentum on environment

Last week, China’s leadership met at the Third Plenum of the Central Committee to outline major reforms China will undertake over the next decade. While China faces multiple challenges, reforms related to greater environmental protection and low-carbon development were high on the agenda. China’s leaders understand the challenges and are taking actions that can have significant impact.

Can China’s Action Plan to combat air pollution slow down new coal power development?

Last month, China’s State Council announced a new action plan to combat air pollution, which included a prohibition of new coal-fired power plants in the three most important metropolitan areas around Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou (known as the “key-three city clusters”).1 This followed a previous announcement of a $275 billion investment by the central government in improving air quality. The action plan aims to tackle the increasingly severe air pollution problem in China, which is largely caused by its massive consumption of coal.

China's New Clean Air Action Plan

China has recently announced a plan to tackle air pollution across the country. The plan includes setting regional targets on coal use and taking high-polluting vehicles from the streets. The plan also sets target levels for regional atmospheric pollution, with particular attention paid to reducing particulate matter, which is an especially severe problem in China.

ChinaFAQs — Short Take

Library File: 

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

Joshua Busby

Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a fellow in the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service as well as a Crook Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law. He originally joined the LBJ School faculty in fall 2006 as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer. Prior to coming to UT, Dr.

Contact Info: 

LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas
busbyj@mail.utexas.edu
512-471-8946