Taking Stock of Carbon Emissions: Policies, Strategies, and Tools for the U.S. and China

Over the past year, the Chinese government has been aggressively promoting low carbon policies to help ensure China's energy security and lower the country's greenhouse gas emissions. At the Copenhagen climate meeting in December 2009, the Chinese leadership committed the country to ambitious CO2 emissions targets.

ChokePoint U.S.: Understanding the Tightening Conflict Between Energy and Water in the Era of Climate Change

Without sharp changes in investment and direction, the current U.S. strategy to produce sufficient energy — including energy generated from clean sources — will lead to severe water shortages and cause potentially major damage to the country's environment and quality of life. These are the conclusions from a comprehensive reporting project presented at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Sept. 22, 2010.

U.S.-China Partnership for Climate Action

The Obama-Hu energy agreements in November 2009 and the Copenhagen climate talks reinvigorated discussions on the need for the United States and China to collaborate on energy and climate issues, but translating that enthusiasm into concrete projects can be elusive.

Seeing Through the Smog: Promoting Sino-U.S. Cooperation on Air Quality, Environmental Health, and Climate Change

China's three decades as the world's fastest growing economy have brought it an unfortunate primacy in two other statistical categories: it is estimated to have the world's highest annual incidence of premature deaths triggered by air pollution and to be the greatest emitter of carbon dioxide. Despite slowing economic growth and some improvements in air quality levels and controls, the expected steep increases in China's consumption of energy over the next few decades have troubling implications for both local air quality and global climate change.

Coal City

In China coal is king. China relies on coal for upwards of 70 percent of its energy and it is the biggest consumer and producer of coal in the world. Even with China building a new coal-fired power plant every three days, power demand continues to outstrip supply. While coal fuels China as the world's factory, it also releases many pollutants into the air including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and mercury, resulting in a profound impact on human health and the environment. Domestically, between 400,000 and 750,000 premature deaths are attributed to Chinese air pollution every year.

Local-to-Local Energy Linkages: California and Alberta in China

Both the Canadian and U.S. governments have numerous bilateral agreements and memorandums of understanding with China's central government on energy, but overall the actual cooperation has been much less than what might be promised on paper. To fill this void, some U.S. states and Canadian provinces, as well as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and research centers in both countries, are pursuing very effective forms of engagement with local-level Chinese counterparts on energy. However, such local-to-local partnerships are still in their infancy.

Cement and Climate Change in China

China is the world's largest producer of cement. Its production has grown about 10 percent per year over the past two decades and is now growing even faster to keep up with massive urbanization. Today China produces roughly half of the total global output of cement, whereas the next three largest producers—India, Japan, and the United States—combined produce less than 20 percent. By nature, cement production is an energy-intensive process.

Efforts in Moving Towards a Low Carbon Future: China's Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Laws

Coal outputs surge in China in the month of February in the wake of a major winter storm that resulted in the loss of power supply to 17 provinces and cities, and a gap between supply and demand of electricity of 40 million kilowatts at peak time. The storms refocused global attention on China's dirty power sector, with the World Bank and OECD reporting 750,000 deaths from pollution induced respiratory diseases and cancer rates rising across the country.

Restocking China's Environmental Tool Kit

Over the past 27 years China has built up an ambitious array of environmental protection laws and regulation. Pollution control laws have included command and control approaches and have recently committed to the use of market mechanisms, increased public participation and greater transparency of information, and stronger penalties for pollution violations. In the area of energy and air pollution, China has passed some highly progressive laws and standards on energy efficiency, renewables, and vehicle emissions.

China Grapples with Its Energy Challenges

China's economic expansion is delivering impressive benefits at home and around the world, even as it sharpens and multiplies energy-related challenges. While China relies mainly on domestically mined coal, it has become a major presence on world energy markets, attracting unaccustomed attention. Domestic environmental damages are mounting, exacerbating inequalities among regions and economic groups, and progress in bringing down energy efficiency has slowed, spurring vigorous new efforts to raise efficiency.