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China Program

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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 thought leadership to identify and promote effective low-carbon pathways for China’s sustainability transitions. 

  • High Ambition Coal Phase-out in China. This project explores the feasibility of an accelerated coal retirement in China to meet Paris goals. Based on a plant-by-plant assessment of multiple technical, economic, and environmental criteria, it illustrates what potential phaseout pathways are in support of the 1.5 degree C goal. It also evaluates the economic, social and grid stability impacts of the phaseout.
  • US-China Track 2 Dialogues. CGS is supporting US-China research discussions on long term strategies and co-benefits analysis.
  • Expert Dialogues on Energy, Environment, and Development. CGS convenes academic researchers and policy experts from China and globally on Long Term Strategy planning and clean energy policy development in China, including deep decarbonization pathways and policy implications, linkage between long-term strategy and near-term policy actions, and on co-benefits of climate mitigation.
  • Green Banks. This research focuses on innovative financing mechanisms that accelerate clean energy deployment at the national, provincial, and local levels. Building lessons learned from green banks in the U.S., it provides recommendations on developing green banks, a public-private partnership, within Chinese cities and provinces.
  • Energy Economics and Policy. CGS researchers have on-going collaborations with researchers in China to work on research projects related to Chinese energy policies. For example, a project collaborating with the State Grid Shanghai Electric Power Research Institute and Tongji University examine how behavioral interventions through special environmental events impact consumer electricity consumption behavior in Shanghai. A second project collaborating with Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology evaluates the impact of solar PV poverty alleviation programs in China. A third project collaborating with Beijing Institute of Technology analyzes the association between government official attributes and city-level energy-saving performance. 
  • Global Coal Analysis and Policy for Decarbonization. In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, we generate a detailed plant-by-plant dataset of current and proposed coal power plants globally, and assesses implications and potential rapid retirement trajectories. Our current phase of work focuses on deep dives in China and India.
  • Location of manufacturing and innovation in global supply chains for clean energy. CGS received grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in August 2018 for research on the drivers of and impacts on technological innovation from manufacturing relocation. Many high-technology and high-growth industries have seen major geographical shifts over the past two decades in which companies expand or move manufacturing or R&D operations along their supply chain to new countries. These manufacturing shifts raise issues - evident in recent US efforts to spur and incentivize local manufacturing and related trade wars with China. Consequently, questions for research emerge on the reasons for firms to alter or refocus their geographic manufacturing, R&D strategies, physical locations, and whether doing so changes the direction of innovation that such firms undertake. The impact of the internationalization of manufacturing and R&D along the supply chain on innovation is particularly important for clean energy technologies. Meeting climate and broader sustainable development goals require balancing the need to accelerate innovation with economic competitiveness, especially for small manufacturing businesses.

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