How China Can Peak Emissions Through Low-Carbon Buildings

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Speakers at Low Carbon Buildings: Innovative Strategies, Policies and Incentives Session.

From HuffingtonPost article by Alliance President, Barbara Finamore

On June 7-8, NRDC hosted a session on low-carbon buildings during the Second U.S.- China Climate-Smart/ Low-Carbon Cities Summit in Beijing. Leading city officials, academics, and NGOs from the two countries convened to take firm steps toward more sustainable urban development. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China State Councilor Yang Jiechi delivered opening remarks.

This high-level summit aims to help both countries address climate change by assisting cities that have already taken significant steps to strengthen their sustainability efforts. At the first Summit, held in Los Angeles in 2015, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Sichuan province, among others, jointly launched the “Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities” initiative, which is modeled on China’s national commitment to peak carbon emissions by 2030. Some cities, such as Beijing and Guangzhou, even committed to peaking their emissions by the end of this decade. This year, more than double last year’s number of city representatives attended the forum, including 20 from the U.S. and 54 from China. The explosive growth in attendees demonstrates the high regard with which both countries held this year’s Summit and a growing mutual interest in the effort to peak emissions as soon as possible.

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Can Cooperation on Climate Change Transcend the Challenges of U.S.-China Relations?

Climate change working group

Source: Reinvent.net

The relationship between the U.S. and China is fraught with tension, yet it has never been more important for the two countries to work together to solve climate change. The U.S. and China account for around 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Fortunately, despite difficulties in other aspects of the bilateral relationship, the two countries are cooperating on climate in a myriad of ways that often fly under the radar.

“I have heard from colleagues in the U.S. government that not only is climate change a bright spot, but climate change is the bright spot, and perhaps the only bright spot in the relationship,” said Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney and Asia Director at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in Reinvent’s recent video conversation.

In the last ten years, China has made great progress in the fight against climate change, including reducing coal consumption for the last two years in a row, after a decade of annual growth of eight percent or more. Mark Clifford, Executive Director of the Asia Business Council, pointed out that while China didn’t make its first wind turbine until the new millennium, it is now one of the the top wind power producing countries in the world (according to 2015 estimates, China ranks first and the U.S. ranks second).

Eighteen months ago, China committed to peaking its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 or earlier. This is especially significant, according to Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society, considering that just ten to fifteen years ago, “there was some circumspection in China that the climate change argument was a plot to slow down China’s growth.”

While the agreement that came out of Paris this December is the most prominent example of U.S.-China cooperation on climate, American and Chinese corporations, scientists, and cities continue to work together in ways that often get much less attention.

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Welcome our newest Partner!

Telehems logoWe are thrilled to announce that Telehems Lab Corporation has joined the Alliance this month as our newest Bronze Partner. Telehems is committed to designing, manufacturing and selling innovative electronic products that are dedicated to reducing green house gas emissions.

Telehems’ vision is to achieve the ultimate goal of “zero emissions” by redefining our home/office electrical/electronic products to reduce carbon emissions.

Read more about the company by clicking here.

Welcome, Telehems! The Alliance is proud to have you as part of the team.

5 Questions: What Does China’s New Five-Year Plan Mean for Climate Action? (WRI)

China has officially unveiled its 13th Five-Year Plan, which will guide the country’s economic and social development from 2016 through 2020. This latest edition builds on progress made over the last five years, and makes clear that environmental stewardship is an increasingly integral component of China’s development.

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Economic Growth and Cutting Carbon

Much of the industry that has left places like England has ended up in places like China. Here, a coal-fired plant in Shanxi. Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Much of the industry that has left places like England has ended up in places like China. Here, a coal-fired plant in Shanxi. Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

by Marjorie Sun, Alliance Executive Director

For the naysayers who argue that cutting carbon will hurt economic growth, take note of two new studies recounted in this New York Times article. The GDP of 21 nations, including the United States, have grown while their carbon emissions have dropped over the past 15 years, says a new study by the World Resources Institute. And China’s emissions might have peaked last year, British researchers said in a second study this week. The operative word is “might” because the Chinese data need to be verified.