Latest from ChinaFAQs

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Your ChinaFAQs team has been in the swirling currents of the Copenhagen climate change negotiations for over a week, attending press conferences and listening in the corridors, but now the negotiators are running out of time. Before dawn today, the BBC World News led with the story that the sticking point in the negotiations is whether China will allow intrusive review of its progress on slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, the media can’t resist a food fight, and all week the press has been filled with reports of verbal missiles supposedly being hurled by American and Chinese negotiators. We’ve also seen exaggerated portrayals of the supposedly-huge chasm separating the U.S. and China on questions like whether the U.S. will provide funds to China for clean technology and the extent of monitoring and review of China’s action.

WRI: New Supercritical and Ultra-Supercritical Coal-Fired Power Plants Installed Annually, by Capacity

In 2008, China’s National Development and Reform Commission adopted a standard requiring all new coal-fired power plants to be state-of-the-art commercially available or better technology. As a result, today most of the world’s most efficient (supercritical and ultra-supercritical) coal-fired power plants are being built in China.

WRI: International Comparison of GHG Emissions by Sector, 2005

Since nearly three quarters of China’s GHG emissions result from the combustion of fossil fuels for energy, new Chinese energy policies will have a profound impact on China’s contribution to global warming. While China has traditionally avoided policies that explicitly target GHG emissions, its energy and forestry programs have provided the framework for its National Climate Change Program.

WRI: Energy Consumption by Sector

China’s energy mix is unusually tilted toward industrial uses, and thus improvements in the industrial sector have large overall impacts.

WRI: Comparison of Chinese and U.S. Energy Statistics

Today, each Chinese citizen produces only one fifth the GHG emissions of an average American consumer, and China still has many unmet energy needs. Most Chinese have a much lower standard of living than the average American. Half the Chinese population has no access to winter heating, and most have limited access to motorized transportation. Therefore, the challenge for China in the short term is to reduce the rate of growth of its GHG emissions as it strives to meet the growing energy demands of its people.

"Breaking the Climate Impasse with China", a New Publication by ChinaFAQs Expert Kelly Sims Gallagher

ChinaFAQs Expert Kelly Sims Gallagher has just published a new discussion paper entitled “Breaking the Climate Impasse with China: A Global Solution” in the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements Discussion Paper Series.

Overview:
International climate negotiations are at an impasse because the world’s two largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, the United States and China, are unwilling to accept binding emission-reduction commitments. At the same time, each blames the other for its inaction. This paper proposes a global “deal” for breaking the deadlock in a way that reconciles both countries’ economic concerns with the imperative of reducing emissions. The deal has two core elements: (1) All major emitting countries agree to reduce GHG emissions by implementing significant, mutually agreeable, domestic policies and (2) The largest industrialized-country emitters agree to establish a global Carbon Mitigation Fund that would finance the incremental cost of adopting low-carbon technologies in developing countries.

Download the full paper at: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/19698/breaking_the_climate_impasse_with_china.html.

China’s Carbon Intensity Target to be Adopted into Law

Senior Chinese climate statesman He Jiankun, speaking at the Chinese Pavilion at the Copenhagen Climate Talks, announced that the Chinese carbon intensity would be introduced as legislation to be passed by China’s National People’s Congress, its highest law-making body.

Professor He, the Director of Tsinghua University’s Low Carbon Energy Laboratory and the University’s former Executive Vice President, spoke December 9 as part of a series of regular talks the Chinese are sponsoring in their first ever dedicated space at a major climate meeting.

Professor He emphasized that China’s commitment to making the 40-45% reduction in carbon intensity between 2005 and 2020 will be binding domestically, and that the government would also focus on implementing specific programs to meet it. He argued a carbon intensity goal is the best way to measure progress on climate change mitigation for a country in the midst of rapid industrialization and urbanization.