“Energy efficiency enables emerging economies to improve energy productivity, which in turn can drive economic growth and help to achieve wider social objectives, thereby improving prosperity.” - The 2015 IEA Energy Report
By Marjorie Sun, Executive Director, China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance
I hope we can look back on 2015 and see it as a turning point in the battle against climate change. This year, there has been a crescendo of activity to cut carbon in China and the United States, which are the largest emitters in the world. Progress reached a zenith in December with the successes achieved at COP21.
Here are some of the year’s highlights:
- Presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama introduced major initiatives to reduce carbon pollution before the convening of COP21. Their leadership gave the highly anticipated international conference in Paris–where the Eiffel Tower glowed with the slogan, “DECARBONIZE’’–the critical momentum to reach a pact.
- At COP21, 195 nations reached an historic agreement to cut carbon. Nations promised to review their de-carbonization plans every 5 years and tighten their goals. They accepted the principle of standardized monitoring and verification, which will be critical to success.
- The wildly popular Chinese documentary, “Under the Dome,” (Watch here in Mandarin with English subtitles) put the nation’s terrible problem of air pollution squarely before China’s leaders and the public as never before. The film made its debut in late February and was viewed by hundreds of millions of Chinese before authorities banned it. The film, reported and produced by former CCTV investigative report Chai Jing, threw the spotlight on the myriad of causes behind the horrendous air quality, including the country’s hunger for economic growth, corruption at many levels and government mismanagement. In the film, Jing poignantly exhorts citizens to speak out so that the nation’s children, including her own daughter, can grow up in a healthier environment.
- California passed pioneering clean energy legislation in October that provides a model for other governments in the U.S. and abroad. Among the key provisions, the law requires the state to double energy efficiency in existing homes, factories and office buildings. And it mandates that California must generate half of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030.
There is so much work to do to build on the successes of this year, especially COP21. The urgency could not be greater. As I write this, Arctic temperatures hit above freezing and historic floods are affecting millions in the Midwest.
We believe one highly effective and critical tool to cut carbon emissions is energy efficiency. From the simple—broadening the use of LEDs—to the complex—integrating EVs and renewables into a smarter grid, a new project we’ve just begun.
The Alliance team is determined to help expand energy efficiency in China and the U.S. Please support our work by donating here. Every dollar counts.
Here’s to a lower carbon 2016. Happy New Year!
It is well established that white roofs can help mitigate the urban heat island effect, reflecting the sun’s energy back into space and reducing a city’s temperature under normal weather conditions. In a new study of Guangzhou, China, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers working with Chinese scientists found that during a heat wave, the effect is significantly more pronounced.
Read all about it! Here’s the link to the COP21 final agreement signed by 195 nations, which promises to be a turning point toward a lower carbon world. The doc is just 32 pages.
Also, here’s a link to a bunch of other interesting climate-change related reports and decisions released at COP21. The topics including long-term climate finance (follow the money!) and ensuring transparency (critical).
This is historic! Over the weekend, 195 nations unanimously approved a climate change pact that was unthinkable until recently. Then President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced major steps to cut carbon emissions, creating momentum for today’s accord. Still by no means was it assured. An amazing feat of global diplomacy and unanimity in Paris, undeterred by last month’s terrorist attacks there. The China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance is stoked to fight climate change, doing our part to help China and the U.S. save energy. Onward to a better, lower carbon world for our children and future generations.