ChinaFAQs Theme: Why China is Acting on Clean Energy

Why is China pursuing a low-carbon energy strategy, what are the benefits and challenges, and what can other nations learn from the Chinese experience?

There is now widespread knowledge that China is taking action to promote low carbon energy. There is new interest, however, in exactly what China is doing, why it is acting, what the results are, and the lessons for the United States. In the coming months, ChinaFAQs will examine these questions in more depth.

Carbon Capture and Storage

CCS may be a crucial tool in mitigating climate change, allowing us to capture and store CO2 underground rather than emitting into the atmosphere. How are Chinese business and government leaders working to develop this emerging technology?

Coal for Electricity

China generates 80% of its electricity from coal, the least “climate friendly” fossil fuel. Solving the issue of coal-fired power will be central to reducing China’s emissions growth. What steps is China taking to address the challenge of coal?

Development, Economics, and Energy

Despite recent rapid GDP growth, China is still a developing country facing pressures of poverty, population, and limited natural resources. How is China’s particular economic development path affecting energy use in that country?

Energy and Emissions Data

Which fuels does China use? What sectors use the most energy - or emit the most greenhouse gases? And how does China keep track? Find the answers, as well as relevant data and graphics, here.

Energy Efficiency

Improving energy efficiency can be a low-cost, multi-beneficial way to combat climate change. How are Chinese policy-makers acting to make energy efficiency a centerpiece of sustainable growth?


Forests serve as a vast natural carbon sink, soaking up and storing emitted carbon dioxide. As a result, forestry policies and land-use changes have an underappreciated effect on a country’s total greenhouse emissions. How are China’s forestry polices affecting the climate?


Industry accounts for 70% of energy consumption in China - and the bulk of its greenhouse gas emissions. How are China’s industrial polices affecting energy use and emissions?

Measurement and Compliance

Once the right steps to mitigate global warming are agreed upon, it will be crucial to demonstrate that they are being implemented and actually working. How well is China able to monitor compliance with climate policies and measure reductions in greenhouse emissions?

Policy and Governance

China is leveraging a set of policy tools and targets to mitigate climate change. What are some of these key policies, and how do they relate to the institutions of Chinese governance?

Renewables and Alternative Energy

Renewable sources of energy, including wind, solar and biomass, offer a low-carbon alternative to traditional fossil fuels. What policies is China implementing to develop the potential of “renewables?”

The US and China- Clean Tech Business Opportunities

Together, the US and China have the potential to attract a cumulative $962 billion in private clean energy investments over the next 10 years. China’s leaders realize the limitations of conventional fossil fuel as new sources of energy for their rapidly-growing economy. Recent policy developments have shown that China intends to seriously pursue new, low-carbon sources of energy in order to meet this growing demand and mitigate impacts on the environment.

Trade and Competitiveness

The nexus of trade, competitiveness, and climate change is part of the debate surrounding the U.S.-China relationship. How will climate policy affect U.S. trade and competitiveness with China, and – on the flip side – how are trade policies affecting energy and emissions?


As China develops, vast highway and public transportation infrastructure must be built to accommodate economic growth. How are Chinese policymakers laying the foundation for various transportation options?

United States-China Cooperation

Together, the United States and China account for over 40% of global GHG emmissions. How are these two nations working together to advance climate change mitigation?

US-China Public-Private Partnerships

The US and China share many of the same goals related to climate and energy, including promoting job creation, economic growth, energy security, and pollution reduction. The two nations have collaborated for over 20 years on these issues, and have agreed to a substantial number of government-private sector cooperative efforts. The U.S.-China climate and energy relationship reflects the two countries’ interdependence and collaboration, even as the countries and their companies also compete in a global marketplace.