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    ChinaFAQs

    On Friday the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress voted to approve amendments to China’s Environmental Protection Law. These amendments mark the first time China’s Environmental Protection Law has been updated in 25 years.

    The amendments include tougher penalties for polluters, including no limits on fines imposed on polluters and the potential of up to 15 days in prison for managers of enterprises that do not comply with the new amendments.

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    Barbara Finamore

    This post originally appeared on NRDC’s Switchboard Blog:

    On Thursday, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, approved major amendments to the country’s Environmental Protection Law (EPL), the first since the law was enacted 25 years ago.

    These amendments are a game changer.

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    ChinaFAQs

    The purpose of this hearing was to examine China’s domestic and international clean energy policies, as well as the state of U.S.-China cooperation on clean energy, in order to provide recommendations to Congress.

    The following are short summaries and links to the testimony of the five ChinaFAQs experts:

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    Sarah Forbes

    This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

    China and the United States established eight new pacts this week to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Half of these announcements focused on a single climate change mitigation measure–carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

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    Geoffrey Henderson

    Cooperation on climate change and air pollution were important themes of this week’s U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue held in Beijing, an annual meeting among high-level diplomats from both nations. The U.S. and Chinese representatives discussed their respective efforts to develop targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and announced a series of agreements under the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group.

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    Huei Peng

    In 1896, American engineers faced a dilemma: what should power their new invention, the automobile? Henry Ford’s idea of a gasoline-powered car persuaded Thomas Edison not to pursue an electric model. Over a century later, the threat of climate change and the potential environmental benefits of electric vehicles have led the world’s two largest CO2 emitters to make the development of EVs part of their efforts to transition to a lower-carbon economy.

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    Barbara Finamore, Kate Logan, Marie McMullen, Tianshu Sun, Wang Yan, Wu Qi, Zhang Xiya, and Yuelin Zhou

    This post originally appeared on NRDC’s Switchboard Blog:

    Though a burst of clear skies on Monday allowed Beijingers to marvel at a magnificent Mid-Autumn Festival moon, a blanket of smog choked the capital the next morning, reminding citizens of China’s grave air pollution woes.

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    Geoffrey Henderson

    China’s chief climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, held a press conference Friday and made statements that may preview China’s approach to the UN Climate Summit on September 23rd.

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    Nathaniel Aden

    This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

    The Long March was a watershed moment in Chinese history—the moment Mao Zedong’s nascent Communist Party escaped disaster in 1934 en route to forming a new nation. Fast forward 80 years, and China is poised to embark on a new Long March – but this time away from climate change and environmental damage toward a sustainable future.

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    Geoffrey Henderson

    Li Junfeng, director general of China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy, says China is studying its climate action options. In an article on the UN Climate Summit, The New York Times reports that Li said that China will choose an option based on how stringent the US plan to cut emissions by 2050 is. Read more…

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    Lauren Zelin, Paul Joffe and Geoffrey Henderson

    When President Obama and President Xi Jinping meet next week in Beijing, climate change and energy will be important topics of discussion. As the world’s two biggest emitters, leadership by the U.S. and China is critical as each country’s actions are closely watched by the other and the international community. In addition, interest was heightened when a senior Chinese official talked about the possibility of peak emissions in China at the UN Climate Summit in September.

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    Joshua Busby

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    Paul Joffe

    This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

    The American expression “now you’re talking,” actually means “now you’re getting real.” Getting real on steps to confront climate change means moving from talking to action—big action.

    And that’s the signal out of Beijing from yesterday’s summit between President Obama and President Xi Jinping. President Obama pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. President Xi announced targets to peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030—with the intention to peak sooner—and to increase China’s non-fossil fuel share of energy to around 20 percent by 2030. Next steps will be important, but this accord signals a significant move forward for climate action—in the United States, in China, and internationally.

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    Geoffrey Henderson

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    Geoffrey Henderson

    U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently announced plans for a Business Development Mission to China in April, intended to promote U.S. companies’ business in clean energy in China and to bolster U.S.-China clean energy collaboration. The delegation will include representatives from U.S. industries advancing “Smart Cities” and “Smart Growth”.

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    Geoffrey Henderson

    ChinaFAQs expert Dan Kammen describes the implications of the U.S.-China climate accord for the international climate negotiations and for each country. Kammen emphasizes the necessity of clean technologies for China’s continued economic growth, and recommends that both countries pursue innovation regarding their electrical grids and scale up regional carbon pricing policies.

    To read the full article, click here

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    Geoffrey Henderson

    ChinaFAQs expert Angel Hsu and her team at Yale’s Environmental Performance Measurement program have developed an interactive timeline that lays out the steps China is expected to take in developing, enacting and implementing its next Five Year Plan, which will orient the country’s economic and social policy. The 13th Five Year Plan will be announced in early 2016 and will be in place until the 14th Five Year Plan in 2021. The timeline provides details on dates, procedure, and stakeholder involvement for each stage of the process. Past plans have set targets relating to energy and carbon intensity, coal and energy consumption, energy efficiency, and clean energy development. The upcoming 13th Five Year Plan is likely to include additional measures to bend the curve of China’s greenhouse gas emissions downward, and will provide insight into how China will strive to meet its new climate targets for 2030.

    To access the timeline, click here

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    Lin Jiang

    The U.S.-China joint announcement on climate change is an historic milestone to limit carbon pollution. This agreement between the world’s two top economies, which together emit nearly 45 percent of the planet’s carbon pollution1, is a big deal.

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    Geoffrey Henderson

    Professor Qi Ye, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy, commented at London-based think tank IPPR on his expectations for China’s upcoming 13th Five Year Plan, which will go into effect early next year. Profesor Qi expects the Chinese government to place a cap on CO2 emissions—consistent with the planned carbon market starting next year—and assign “absolute coal consumption caps” to more than the 30% of provinces presently covered. He also emphasized that China is making efforts to reach a peak in CO2 emissions earlier than its 2030 target. These comments come in the wake of reports that China’s coal consumption fell in 2014.

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    Geoffrey Henderson

    Drawing on preliminary energy demand data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has estimated that China’s carbon dioxide emissions fell by 2 percent last year, the first reduction in over a decade. Other reports indicate China’s coal consumption also declined, by 2.9 percent, in 2014; and the share of non-fossil energy in China’s energy consumption rose last year, while coal fell as a percentage of the country’s energy mix. According to the International Energy Agency, even as the global economy grew by 3%, global energy-related carbon emissions did not rise in 2014, due to shifts in energy use in China and OECD countries.

    Bloomberg article

    International Energy Agency press release

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