Roundtable on California-China cooperation on climate change

On June 5, Chair Robert Weisenmiller of the California Energy Commission and Secretary Matthew Rodriquez of the California Environmental Protection Agency discussed the unprecedented cooperation between California and China to combat climate change, promote clean and efficient energy, and support low carbon development. Hosted by Bingham McCutchen in San Francisco, the sold-out audience included representatives from the clean technology and energy industries, local governments, academia, and civil society.

In a panel discussion moderated by Annie Notthoff of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Secretary Rodriquez and Chair Weisenmiller started by noting what an enormous challenge and opportunity it is for California and China to cooperate on improving air quality for both sides of the Pacific Ocean.  This effort is supported by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two governments in September 2013, as well as a number of other MOUs and agreements between California and the central or provincial governments in China.

Three speakers

From left: Annie Notthoff, NRDC (moderator), Chair Robert Weisenmiller, CEC, and Secretary Matthew Rodriquez, Cal/EPA. Photo: Fran Schulberg

Several areas of cooperation were highlighted, especially pertaining to energy efficiency, low carbon development, and other sustainable development efforts. Chair Weisenmiller mentioned how some of California’s regulatory structure can be adapted to China’s structure to assist them in making the transition from coal. He noted that China is now looking at a cap on coal by 2017. He stressed that this is the right time to collaborate with both decision makers at the central and provincial levels in China because, as he declared, “Climate is one of the defining challenges of our time.”

Secretary Rodriquez highlighted how cooperation on climate change and energy between California and China is a tremendous benefit to both economies by providing numerous opportunities for Californa and Chinese businesses to work together, especially within the energy efficiency and cleantech sectors. The market potential in China is staggering. He also noted that the newly opened California-China Office of Trade and Investment in Shanghai (part of the Bay Area Council and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)) will help bolster additional business opportunities on both sides of the Pacific.

Secretary Rodriquez underscored that there have been concrete actions and follow-up since the signing of these agreements to ensure that they become more than just “paper MOUs”. Such follow-up has included at least three delegations from California’s Air Resource Board that have traveled to China to discuss air quality issues including PM2.5, as well as trips to California by officials from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection. During these visits, Secretary Rodriquez has been amazed by the number of Chinese officials who have mentioned that despite California’s previous air pollution issues, the state learned how to improve its air quality while concurrently growing the economy—something that China wishes to do.  Secretary Rodriquez emphasized that when you see a willing partner who is interested in tackling these problems together, you can’t back away.

Barbara Finamore, President of the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance, recently commented on the cooperation between California and China. “It is exciting to see the initiatives between California and China to cooperate on targeting and reducing the sources of harmful air pollutants. The MOUs signed between both parties in the past two years have created a solid working foundation for state agencies, businesses, civil society, and academia to collaborate on trade and investment initiatives while simultaneously addressing air pollution and climate change.” Finamore is optimistic that there will be great opportunities for private sector and non-governmental organizations to be involved in some of the MOU implementation plans.

 

New Weapons in the War on Pollution: China’s Environmental Protection Law Amendments

Alliance President, Barbara Finamore

Alliance President, Barbara Finamore

View from NRDC Beijing office window March 26 2014

View from NRDC Beijing office window March 26, 2014

Alliance President, Barbara Finamore, recently wrote on China’s new Environmental Protection Law Amendments and how its a big game changer for the country.

Barbara highlights how the new amendments to China’s bedrock environmental law puts powerful new tools into the hands of environmental officials and the public, providing a strong legal foundation to the “war on pollution” declared last month by Premier Li Keqiang.

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Chinese lawmakers worried over Energy Efficiency and Emissions

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Coal Energy Plant in China

Last week Senior Chinese lawmakers expressed concerns over the country’s low energy efficiency and high emissions, as a recent report suggested that China is lagging behind its energy conservation and emission reduction targets.

Members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) held panel discussions last Wednesday afternoon on a report drafted by the State Council, China’s cabinet.

China has targets for emission cuts and energy saving in its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), under which energy consumption per unit of GDP should decrease by 16 percent and carbon dioxide emissions should drop by 17 percent by 2015 from the levels of 2010.

By 2013, energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP have dropped by 9.03 percent and 10.68 percent respectively from 2010 levels, but the country is still facing “a grim situation” in order to meet its 2015 targets, the report said.

“China is facing considerable challenges in its energy conservation and emission reduction initiatives,” said Miao Xuegang, a deputy to the NPC and head of the environmental protection department of Anhui Province.

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Webinar Series:
“Selling American Energy Efficiency Products and Services in China”

Eventbrite logos -three square2

June 4 

The series is organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce (U.S. Commercial Service), in collaboration with the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance and the U.S.-China Cleantech Center. Click here to visit the webinar webpage.

Cost: $45 per webinar. Click here to visit the registration page

(Discounts for Alliance Partners).

Webinar log-on information will be sent to registered participants 1 week before each webinar.

Webinar schedule:

  • Webinar #3: How to execute a successful China strategy: Building and maintaining partnerships 
    • Weds. June 4th - 5pm PDT /8pm EDT (Beijing Time: Thurs, June 5th - 8am)

Moderator: Elizabeth Turner-Fox, iCET
Speaker: Nand Ramchandani, OSIsoft LLC
Speaker: Jay Sparling, Honeywell

  • Webinar #1 (completed)Are there real opportunities for EE companies in China? Assessing recent developments in China’s energy efficiency market
    •   Tues. April 8th - 5pm PDT/8pm EDT (Beijing Time: Weds, April 9th - 8am)

Moderator/Speaker: Elizabeth Shieh, Commercial Officer, US Embassy, Beijing
Speaker: Helena Fu, US-China Energy Cooperation Program, US Dept. of Energy
Speaker: Ben Foster, Senior VP, Optony

  • Webinar #2 (completed): IP and other business risks in China’s ee market. How to develop a strategic plan for my company: Assessing company readiness for China and managing potential risks
    •   Weds. April 30th - 5pm PDT/8pm EDT (Beijing Time: Thurs., May 1st - 8am)

Moderator: Terry Fry, Senior Vice President, Nexant
Speaker: James Chapman, Bingham
Speaker: Benjamin Bai, Allen & Overy

There will also be a 4th webinar on energy efficiency finance this summer. Stay tuned!

For more details, please contact us: info@chinauseealliance.org; (t) 415-951-8975

Lung cancer cases linked to air quality in China

lung cancer chartA type of lung cancer reported to be increasing in Beijing has been linked to worsening air quality, with an expert warning that the potential health impact could be much greater than the SARS epidemic in 2003.

“The proportion of lung adenocarcinoma cases is increasing,” said Wang Ning, deputy director of the Beijing Office for Cancer Prevention and Control, adding that there has been a drop in the proportion of squamous cell lung cancer cases in the capital.

Adenocarcinoma of the lung is a common histological form of lung cancer that contains certain distinct malignant tissue, while the other type is a form of non-small-cell lung cancer. Medical experts believe that smoking is more likely to cause squamous cell lung cancer, while exposure to air pollution, such as exhaust gases and secondhand smoking, is more likely to cause adenocarcinoma of the lung, Wang said.

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