Energy efficiency on track to become number one resource in the U.S. by 2030

According to a report released last month by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), energy efficiency is found to be the 3rd largest resource in the U.S. power sector.  The China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance is thrilled about this news. For over 11 years, the Alliance has been combating global climate change by promoting efficiency as the cleanest and least expensive energy resource  in China and the United States.

The ACEEE report estimates that energy efficiency only lags behind coal and natural gas. Additionally, it’s important to note that, “energy efficiency has eliminated the need for 313 new power plants since 1990 and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 490 million tons last year.”

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A push to cut energy in China’s data centers

Big potential for energy efficiency technology to be deploying in China’s data center market. “China’s 1.37 billion people, many of them fully connected to the internet, use an enormous amount of energy as they email, search the Web, or stream video. Indeed, the Chinese government estimates that the country’s data centers alone consume more electricity than all of Hungary and Greece combined.”

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U.S. Ranks Behind China in Energy Efficiency

Based on a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), among twenty-three nations that consume 75% of the world’s energy and generate more than 80% of global gross domestic product, Germany ranks at the top for energy efficiency, followed by Italy and Japan, tied for second place. The United States ranks eighth, tied with South Korea, behind France, the United Kingdom, China and Spain.

The ACEEE report concluded:

Our results indicate that there are substantial opportunities for improvement in all the economies evaluated in this report. The average score was just 51 points. Low-scoring developing countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, and Mexico have great potential to build energy efficiency into their continued economic growth by implementing policies in their industrial, buildings, and transportation sectors. Their more developed counterparts could lead by example and implement ambitious policies that will further reduce energy consumption.

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How China Can Peak Emissions Through Low-Carbon Buildings


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


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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