China’s leadership is critical to advancing the global transition to a sustainable future. The China Program at CGS integrates scientific research, education, policy analysis, and stakeholder engagement to help understand and inform the development and deployment of China’s climate, energy, and environment strategies across international, national, and local contexts. With our strengths in analysis and collaborative action for enhanced climate ambition, as well as strong connections with local partners, we provide leadership to identify and promote effective low-carbon pathways for China’s sustainability transitions.
The CGS China Program team consists of a number of experts with strong expertise and experiences in Chinese, U.S. and international topics, including Program Co-Directors Prof. Ryna Cui and Dr. Sha Yu, Prof. Nate Hultman, Prof. Leon Clarke, Prof. Lucy Qiu, Dr. Jiehong Lou, Jiawei Song, and Dr. Mengye Zhu. They work together and in collaboration with long-term Chinese partners, and each brings unique perspectives to the Program. Here are some highlights on what each researcher has to share about their work in the China Program.
This year, China announced their vision for carbon neutrality before 2060 and our China Program began research right away. In collaboration with Energy Foundation China, CGS researchers Leon Clark and Sha Yu led a consortium of international experts examining transition strategies in China and co-authored this report on China's New Growth Pathway toward carbon neutrality with CGS researchers Ryna Cui, Jiehong Lou, Jiawei Song, and Director Nathan Hultman, setting out broad outlines across all sectors to support China’s success in meeting its long-term goals for carbon neutrality, green growth, ecological civilization, and sustainable development.
“Carbon neutrality is an economy-wide challenge and substantial actions need to be undertaken across all sectors of the economy” says report author & CGS Research Director Leon Clarke
Our program also put together a policy brief on China’s pledge of carbon neutrality by 2060, suggesting Five Strategies to Achieve China’s 2060 Carbon Neutrality Goal - sustainable demand, decarbonizing electricity, electrification, fuel switching, and approaches to achieve negative emissions. Lead authors, Sha Yu and Ryna Cui, discussed these insights at the Environment China podcast and BBC.
“China’s 2060 carbon neutrality target is a major contribution and a critical step supporting enhanced global action on climate” says the Program Co-Director Dr. Sha Yu.
Program Co-Director, Dr. Ryna Cui, examined the opportunities and challenges of China's 2060 carbon neutrality target in a publication with China Dialogue.
“Early action is needed not just to keep that global 1.5C warming target within reach. More importantly, actions today will affect the speed and challenge of China’s post-peaking changes, and the costs to achieve them” states Dr. Ryna Cui.
Our program also focuses on topics of sustainable energy transition. Building on plant-by-plant analysis, we developed A High Ambition Coal Phaseout Strategy in China in support of the 1.5 degree C climate goal, while balancing multiple economic, environmental and social priorities. We also evaluated the needs and opportunities for a “No New Coal” strategy in the 14th Five-Year Plan of China.
“Our work on China’s coal transition has helped open a space and promote conversations about a high-ambition coal phaseout as an important part of China’s long-term strategies and the FYP planning processes.” says Dr. Ryna Cui.
Our project also studies sectoral transition pathways, such as strategies and policies for achieving net-zero carbon buildings in China.
In our Green Banks project, CGS researchers focus on innovative financing mechanisms that accelerate clean energy deployment at national, provincial and local levels, building on lessons learned from the U.S. green banks for development within Chinese cities and provinces.
“Green banks create multiple and growing benefits: consumers save money, businesses and investors have new growth opportunities, and governments increase their efficiency and reach their goals” - CGS China Program Researchers.
New solar initiatives in China also called for in-depth analysis and research by our China Program experts for the “Solar photovoltaic interventions have reduced rural poverty in China” report. The authors offer several policy recommendations to sustain strong progress in China, providing a glimpse at what socio-economic opportunities photovoltaic (PV) initiatives can provide in poor, rural areas across the world.
“PV projects offer an opportunity for local regions to take control over their economic and energy future,” says Associate Professor Lucy Qiu.