Renewables and Alternative Energy

Looking Toward Nuclear Expansion, China Works with U.S. on Safety*

For many years, Chinese regulators have learned about nuclear safety from working with the United States, but nuclear safety cooperation is becoming increasingly a two-way street. Nuclear energy could play a significant role in meeting China’s new climate goals stated in its November 11th, 2014 joint announcement with the U.S. This includes targets to peak its carbon dioxide emissions around 2030—with the intention to do so sooner—and to raise the non-fossil fuel share of energy use to around 20 percent by that date. The U.S. and China are working together to ensure attention to safety considerations in China’s projected expansion of nuclear power.

Reports from China Suggest Low-Carbon Shift in 2014

Drawing on preliminary energy demand data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has estimated that China’s carbon dioxide emissions fell by 2 percent last year, the first reduction in over a decade. Other reports indicate China’s coal consumption also declined, by 2.9 percent, in 2014; and the share of non-fossil energy in China’s energy consumption rose last year, while coal fell as a percentage of the country’s energy mix. According to the International Energy Agency, even as the global economy grew by 3%, global energy-related carbon emissions did not rise in 2014, due to shifts in energy use in China and OECD countries.

Bloomberg article

International Energy Agency press release

U.S.-China Accord Includes Important Steps on Non-Fossil Energy

The U.S.-China joint announcement on climate change is an historic milestone to limit carbon pollution. This agreement between the world’s two top economies, which together emit nearly 45 percent of the planet’s carbon pollution1, is a big deal.

Making Plans: Steps in Development of China's Crucial 13th Five Year Plan

ChinaFAQs expert Angel Hsu and her team at Yale’s Environmental Performance Measurement program have developed an interactive timeline that lays out the steps China is expected to take in developing, enacting and implementing its next Five Year Plan, which will orient the country’s economic and social policy. The 13th Five Year Plan will be announced in early 2016 and will be in place until the 14th Five Year Plan in 2021. The timeline provides details on dates, procedure, and stakeholder involvement for each stage of the process. Past plans have set targets relating to energy and carbon intensity, coal and energy consumption, energy efficiency, and clean energy development. The upcoming 13th Five Year Plan is likely to include additional measures to bend the curve of China’s greenhouse gas emissions downward, and will provide insight into how China will strive to meet its new climate targets for 2030.

To access the timeline, click here

Daniel Kammen on Implementing the U.S.-China Climate Accord

ChinaFAQs expert Dan Kammen describes the implications of the U.S.-China climate accord for the international climate negotiations and for each country. Kammen emphasizes the necessity of clean technologies for China’s continued economic growth, and recommends that both countries pursue innovation regarding their electrical grids and scale up regional carbon pricing policies.

To read the full article, click here

Jonathan Moch

Jonathan Moch is a Graduate Research Fellow at the Harvard China Project and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences with Harvard’s Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group. Jonathan’s research interests center on the interactions and feedbacks between climate change and atmospheric chemistry, with a particular focus on China.

Contact Info: 

Harvard University

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

jmoch@g.harvard.edu

Secretaries of Commerce and Energy to Lead Clean Energy Trade Mission to China

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently announced plans for a Business Development Mission to China in April, intended to promote U.S. companies’ business in clean energy in China and to bolster U.S.-China clean energy collaboration. The delegation will include representatives from U.S. industries advancing “Smart Cities” and “Smart Growth”.

Taking Stronger Action on Climate Change: China and the United States

Key Questions:

  • Q: What did the U.S. and China pledge in their November 11, 2014 joint announcement on climate change?
  • Q: Is it true that under its new pledges, China might avoid doing anything to address climate change until 2030?
    A: No. China will need to take stronger near-term action to meet its commitments and has begun to do so.
  • Q: Is China starting from scratch in trying to fulfill its pledges, or has it already taken steps in this direction?
    A: China is already taking action on multiple fronts to address the climate problem.
  • Q: Do we have reason to believe that China will follow through on its pledges?
    A: Yes. China has already made progress on the low carbon building blocks and has strong reasons of national interest to build on its current efforts.
  • Q: Does it make sense for the U.S. to pursue vigorous action on climate change given China’s commitments?
    A: Yes. China is now at a turning point regarding air quality and climate action, and the two countries can inspire each other and the world to take ambitious steps.

US and China Strike Deal on Climate Change -- "Now You're Talking"

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

The American expression “now you’re talking,” actually means “now you’re getting real.” Getting real on steps to confront climate change means moving from talking to action—big action.

And that’s the signal out of Beijing from yesterday’s summit between President Obama and President Xi Jinping. President Obama pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. President Xi announced targets to peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030—with the intention to peak sooner—and to increase China’s non-fossil fuel share of energy to around 20 percent by 2030. Next steps will be important, but this accord signals a significant move forward for climate action—in the United States, in China, and internationally.

China’s “New Long March” through the UN Climate Summit: Context and Opportunities

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

The Long March was a watershed moment in Chinese history—the moment Mao Zedong’s nascent Communist Party escaped disaster in 1934 en route to forming a new nation. Fast forward 80 years, and China is poised to embark on a new Long March – but this time away from climate change and environmental damage toward a sustainable future.