As the world’s fastest-growing nation, China has substantial opportunities to ensure low-carbon development—and a symmetrical risk of locking in high-carbon choices. The Chinese government, deeply concerned about climate change, has taken aggressive steps to reform its enterprises and actively supports efforts by regional governments to reduce carbon pollution.
China’s work in this area is crucial: Half of the world’s new buildings are being built in China, and vehicle sales continue to increase rapidly. China is the largest oil consumer after the United States, and the world's biggest producer and consumer of coal.
China’s continued growth and prosperity depend heavily on its ability to rapidly tighten building codes, reduce oil imports through improved fuel economy standards, and expand clean power and energy efficiency. The central government works to address these issues through its five-year plans, which include national policies that are driving billions of dollars in new clean technology investments.
By 2020, China plans to reduce its energy intensity (per unit of GDP) by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels, and increase the share of renewable energy to 15 percent. China ranks third in the world in installed wind power capacity and is the world leader by far in installed solar thermal capacity. Many of China’s cities are initiating bus rapid transit projects, and its utilities are constructing highly efficient gas-fired power plants and carbon capture and storage projects.
However, the greatest challenge Chinese officials face in achieving their climate and energy goals is effective implementation.
In 1999 the Energy Foundation launched the China Sustainable Energy Program (CSEP) to provide support and technical assistance to Chinese policymakers on a wide range of energy and pollution issues. CSEP is ClimateWorks’ Regional Climate Foundation for China.
CSEP emphasizes national policies and regional implementation. CSEP works to:
- Build China’s capacity to analyze energy patterns
- Identify ways to reduce the energy intensity and carbon footprint of growth
- Help local decision makers develop policies that capture these opportunities
- Facilitate knowledge sharing between Chinese officials, energy professionals, and their counterparts in other countries
CSEP’s grantees—the vast majority located in China—have worked throughout the nation to design:
- Utility policies that promote renewables
- Strong energy codes for buildings and appliances
- Ambitious fuel-economy standards for vehicles
- Innovative agreements for curbing industrial emissions
By supporting local officials and providing them with access to world-class knowledge, CSEP is helping China meet its goals for improving efficiency, boosting energy productivity, advancing renewables, and delinking economic prosperity from unsustainable energy consumption.
News & Reports
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