China Issues Addressed at Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2 (Ggcs2)

This Summit, held on September 29 – October 2, was designed to promote subnational collaboration to stimulate economic growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A pre-Summit event, the China Carbon Roundtable, featured an introduction by Linda S. Adams (the California Secretary for Environmental Protection) and Margret Kim (International and China Program Director for Cal/EPA). Adams emphasized the importance of subnational cooperation and mentioned that “earlier this year California pulled together two non-profits, the California Registry and iCET in China together to initiate the first energy and climate registry in Guandong Province.” Kim mentioned the recently signed agreement between California and Jiangsu which is the first subnational collaboration between US and China with an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (see below).

A Panel moderated by Terry Tamminen, (Pegasus Sustainable Century, New America Foundation) featured seven speakers, each providing a different perspective on what are the best lessons that the US can learn from China and China can learn from the US.

The speakers included Khalid Malik (UNDP in China); Lynn Price (China Energy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory); Dr. Fuqiang Yang (World Wildlife Fund International, China); Jiao Wei (Jiangsu Provincial Government Reform Commission); Dr. Yufu Cheng (China Energy and Climate Registry); Shirong Sui (Shenzhen LED Industrial Association); and Dr. He Kebin (Graduate School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University). To watch the full Roundtable, click here.

The speakers provided some key insights on developments in China. For example, Khalid Malik mentioned that there is no longer a debate on the need to take action with respect to energy efficiency and carbon reduction. He stated that “for the first time China’s leadership is talking about carbon intensity and carbon targets, and that is a big step.” The focus now is on how to do it. He also pointed out that when decisions are made in China with respect to carbon reduction, action are being taken quickly and that China is making a tremendous effort to lower and contain its energy intensity.

Khalid Malik suggested that there are four key elements that need to come together to further low carbon development: urbanization to create sustainable cities for the large numbers of people moving to urban areas; lifestyle to deal with the increasing affluence and related demand for carbon intensive products; markets which requires a price on carbon; and technology recognizing that China is becoming a global leader in green technologies.

Lynn Price provided a brief overview about LBNL’s work in China including support for the Top-1000 Energy-Consuming Enterprises program which set energy-saving targets for these enterprises. She pointed out this program has already saved 250 million tons of CO2.

She noted that LBNL recently prepared a paper for the Woodrow Wilson Center China Environment Series entitled (insert link). This paper contains an overview of key lessons learned working collaboratively with China including:

  • Cooperation must be a two-way exchange, adapting international experience to fit Chinese conditions and needs.
  • There is a need to work programmatically to connect cooperation projects with Chinese policy initiatives. The report points out that cooperation can be sustained by fostering relationships, with a need for ongoing working-level relationships as well as regular high level dialogue.
  • Local level initiatives must be pursued as well as national level cooperation to realize implementation. On the ground experience can be used to inform and enhance policy.

Dr. Fuqiang Yang emphasized the value of sharing best practices, technology exchange and cooperation, and cited many areas that the two countries can learn from one another with respect to reducing energy consumption and promoting the use of low carbon fuels.He pointed out the value of both top-down and bottom-up initiatives, and the importance of monitoring and measurement.

Mrs. Jiao Wei spoke about Jiangsu’s position as a “world leader in solar energy production,” noting that the Province is seeking partnerships and collaboration with California NGOs, government, universities, and the private sector on R&D and demonstration projects with respect to both wind and solar technology.

Dr. Yufu Cheng, discussed the recently established, first online energy and carbon registry in China, which provides a way to monitor energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is expected that the iCET pilot registry, based in Guangdong province, will eventually be expanded to a national scale. He added that iCET is also working with the Beijing lighting and research institute to develop an LED standard and lighting policy “for bringing true energy efficiency products to market.”

Dr. Yufu Cheng also discussed ways in which the US can learn from China, for example with respect to the first low carbon fuel standard and public transport, and the ways China can learn from California, for example with respect to the climate registry.

Shirong Sui from the Shenzhen LED Industrial association provided an overview of the environmental benefits of using LED lighting and barriers to LED development. He also described policies in China designed to promote the development of the LED light bulb.

Dr. He Kebin focused on issues related to urbanization, noting that “the building and transportation sector could be most important part for energy consumption and greenhouse gas control.” He noted that Tsinghua University provides technical support for the policy making process in China at both central and local levels. He described how they have learned a lot from experience in California and the US and also noted how Tsinghua is working cooperatively with MIT and Cambridge universities to “exchange information and find technology solutions for the EU, China and the US.”