Fact Sheets

ChinaFAQs: Enhanced Bilateral Cooperation

U.S.-China cooperation on climate change mitigation has taken a variety of forms, with different goals and structures. Reviewed below are some of the recent fora for bilateral dialogue and collaboration.

ChinaFAQs: Will Climate Legislation in the United States Result in the Transfer of Carbon-Intensive Jobs to China?

Key Points

  • For most U.S. industries, carbon costs would not be a significant enough portion of manufacturing costs to cause dislocation and cost-containment mechanisms in legislative proposals could reasonably protect industries that might suffer as a result of climate policy.
  • For the most energy-intensive industries in the United States – steel, cement, paper, glass, and chemicals – Chinese imports are a small fraction of total imports, and a smaller fraction of overall demand.
  • Unilateral trade measures are unlikely to guard effectively against loss of competitiveness and could raise costs for “downstream” U.S. industries; trade measures are also unlikely to spur climate policy strengthening in other countries such as China.

ChinaFAQs: Does China need a cap-and-trade program in order to begin reducing emissions?

U.S. legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is focused on establishing a “cap-and-trade” system. Some Americans wonder why China’s carbon reduction policies look different than those of the US and question whether these other mechanisms are comparable or effective.

ChinaFAQs: Energy & Emissions Data in China

Key Points

  • Inadequate monitoring of energy use and emissions in China has created problems for policy makers within and outside of China.
  • In the last few years, China has major steps to improve monitoring of energy use and emissions, at times with technical assistance from the United States and Europe.
  • Although problems remain, expanded monitoring efforts have helped increase the breadth and depth of information available on China’s energy use and emissions, improving the ability to develop and evaluate policies.

ChinaFAQs: Will China Be Able to Enforce Its Energy and Climate Policy Goals?

Key Points

  • The Chinese government’s ability to enforce policies, laws and regulations varies considerably, depending both on the complexity of the task and the political commitment to effective enforcement.
  • Recently, the Chinese government has scaled-up efforts to enforce laws and procedures related energy data and compliance.
  • Energy data collection systems are improving, and China has instituted new regulations to increase quality and accuracy of data.
  • Compared to some other sectors, energy data can be relatively easy to track.

ChinaFAQs: China's Measurement & Compliance Initiatives

Key Points

  • China is implementing measurement and compliance requirements for its energy industry. These measurement/compliance policies vary in scope and maturity, but provide a foundation for future systems for sharing credible climate-related information.
  • A key element of any international climate regime will be the ability to measure compliance with policies designed to slow climate change. To build global trust, statistics and statements will need to be reliable and credible.
  • China already participates in global regimes, such as the World Trade Organization and the Montreal Protocol, that have extensive data measurement and compliance requirements. It is building on that experience in developing systems for collecting energy and emissions data.

ChinaFAQs: Two Chinas Shape Climate Views

Key Points

  • Although China’s economic successes get much media attention, the images of rising skyscrapers can obscure the “other” China: the half of China’s 1.3 billion people still living in extreme poverty, earning less than $2 a day.
  • The existence of these “two Chinas” – rich and poor – has implications for efforts to address climate change. China’s leaders are committed to reducing poverty, but worry that limiting energy use and emissions could derail economic development.
  • China faces a development challenge that the industrialized nations in Europe and the U.S. did not: reducing poverty and fostering growth while at the same time limiting warming emissions. And while the industrial revolution took a century to unfold in the West, China’s is occurring in a single generation.

ChinaFAQs: A Quest to Curb Coal Use

Key Points

  • China burns more coal than any other nation – a major reason it has become the world’s leading annual emitter of greenhouse gases.
  • China is also an emerging leader in deploying cleaner-coal technologies. It has built more high-efficiency coal-fired power plants than any country, for instance, helping improve the technology and drive down costs.
  • China is pioneering technologies that could enable power plants to capture and store warming gases such as carbon dioxide.

WRI: China, the United States, and the Climate Change Challenge

A new WRI report, China, the United States, and the Climate Change Challenge discusses the successes and challenges to effective regulation in China, outlining the major advances made in implementing effective energy efficiency programs in the past several years. These include targeted programs for both large and small enterprises, specific goals for government officials, and the development of energy statistics infrastructure. It also addresses U.S.

ChinaFAQs: Energy and Climate Policy Action in China

China’s recent statements and policy initiatives demonstrate growing concerns about energy security, pollution and the ability to sustain long-term economic strategies for reducing poverty (China’s per-capita GDP is less than one-tenth of U.S. levels, and about half of its 1.3 billion people earn less than $2 per day). Indeed, China confronts a challenge no other large, emerging economy has ever faced: fostering rapid economic growth while at the same time limiting harmful emissions.