Fact Sheets

ChinaFAQs: The U.S. and China at the Summit: Climate & Energy Developments in China and U.S.-China Collaboration

Questions Addressed:
  1. What are the U.S. and China doing together to make progress on climate and energy issues?
  2. What are the opportunities and challenges for U.S. – China business cooperation on clean technology and public-private partnerships?
  3. What did the U.S. and China agree to in Cancun?
  4. What important steps is China taking on climate and energy?
  5. What steps can we expect China to take in the coming year?
  6. Are the United States and China’s Cancun commitments sufficient to avert catastrophic climate change?

ChinaFAQs: China’s New Emissions Inventory

Key Points

  • China is expected to release its second national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.
  • In the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, China pledged to start reporting its emissions every two years going forward.
  • Although producing the inventory poses a significant challenge, a recent study concludes that China is developing a reporting system that should make the inventory reliable enough for outsiders to assess whether China is making progress toward meeting its Copenhagen pledge to curb emissions.
  • Both China and the United States have developed special expertise in various aspects of emissions reporting. Collaboration on this issue could bring mutual benefits and help deepen trust between the two nations.

ChinaFAQs: Atmospheric Changes Reveal China’s Energy Trends

Key Points

  • At a measuring station near Beijing, US and Chinese scientists are collecting unique measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in air that has passed over one of China’s most industrialized, urbanized regions. This record provides an independent view of China’s efforts to improve energy efficiency.
  • Comparing CO2 levels with carbon monoxide (CO) levels serves as an independent indicator of overall trends in efficiency of fuel combustion in this critical region.
  • The record shows a pattern of improved combustion efficiency from 2005 to 2008, consistent with energy efficiency policies pursued under the 11th Five Year Plan, in particular the goal to reduce energy intensity by 20%.

ChinaFAQs: U.S. – China Collaboration on Energy & Climate

Key Points

  • Collaboration between the United States and China, the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, will be key to scaling up the technologies needed to curb climate change and reduce costs.
  • The two nations have collaborated for over 20 years on energy and climate issues, and recently agreed to a new, wide-ranging set of cooperative efforts.
  • Collaboration can deliver tangible benefits to both nations and the world at-large, including new markets for U.S. technologies, better monitoring of China’s emissions, and lower global costs of controlling emissions.

ChinaFAQs: Taking Steps to Capture Carbon

Key Points

  • “Carbon capture and storage” (CCS) is one widely-discussed approach to curbing global greenhouse gas emissions. The idea is to capture the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by power, chemical and steel facilities and then store it underground.
  • Both the U.S. and China are interested in CCS because they rely heavily on burning coal to produce electricity. Coal is the source of some 80% of China’s emissions of carbon dioxide.
  • Collaboration between the U.S. and China on CCS could help speed technology development.
  • Cooperation is key to driving down costs for U.S. utilities and taxpayers, and enabling the U.S. to continue to benefit from its vast coal reserves, a source of energy independence and employment.

ChinaFAQs: Fast Track to Curbing Emissions?

Key Points

  • China is investing heavily in building 10,000 miles of high-speed passenger rail over the next decade that will carry trains traveling at up to 217 miles per hour.
  • The system, which will connect most of China’s major cities, could produce significant gains in energy efficiency if travelers shift to the new trains from aircraft and autos.
  • High-speed rail could also help unclog China’s rail freight lines, leading to more energy-efficient cargo transport, according to a recent analysis.

ChinaFAQs: Fuel Economy Standards In China

Key Points:

  • In 2004, China adopted its first nation-wide fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles. They are considered to be the world’s third toughest, behind Japan’s and Europe’s.
  • The standards – which called for average auto efficiency to improve by 15% by 2010 over 2003 levels – have produced significant gains, even though Chinese cars have become heavier, more powerful, and are more often equipped with automatic transmissions and pollution-control devices that can reduce efficiency.
  • China has since expanded the standards to cover light-duty trucks, and is eyeing further measures to improve the fuel economy of its motor vehicles.

ChinaFAQs: Economic Drivers of Energy Use and Carbon Emissions in China

Key Points:

  • Macroeconomic forces – often unpredictable or poorly-understood – are crucial drivers of China’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Booming investment in heavy industry, mainly for domestic infrastructure development, as well as rapid growth in China’s export manufacturing sector, are the two most important factors driving China’s energy consumption.
  • As China’s middle class demands more goods like air conditioners and cars, domestic private consumption could be in the future (but is not yet) a major driver of energy use and emissions.
  • These economic trends are rooted in fundamental political and social factors. Reform will require concentrated attention to these considerations; fortunately, Chinese leaders have indicated that creating a more energy efficient economic structure is a high-level priority.

ChinaFAQs: Industrial Energy Efficiency Cooperation

Why is Industrial Energy So Important in China?

China’s energy use more than quadrupled from 1980 to 2007 (see Fig. 1), and continues to grow, due in part to the demands of urbanization (i.e. construction of new buildings and infrastructure), and in part to rising production of manufactured goods.i Although China has not yet reached the energy consumption level of the U.S, China nonetheless – due to a more polluting fuel mix – recently surpassed the U.S. in energy-related CO2 emissions.ii

ChinaFAQs: Solar Energy

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Key Points:

  • China is rolling out policies, subsidies and R&D programs aimed at encouraging the large-scale deployment of solar technologies – including a joint project with an American company to build the world’s largest solar electricity plant in the Mongolian desert.
  • China is already the world’s largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic cells, but most are exported. Now, it is moving to expand its domestic market.
  • China’s solar push is part of a larger effort to get at least 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.