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ABOUT THE CHINA PROGRAM
China’s action, engagement, and leadership for a clean and low-carbon economy is critical for the global transition to a sustainable future. The CGS China Program supports this goal through an enhanced understanding of China’s opportunities, China’s role in delivering global 1.5ºC pathways, potential opportunities with other key countries, and bilateral engagement with the United States. We do this through analysis and engagement—leveraging world-leading modeling and analytical capabilities, an integrated team of scholar-practitioners, researchers, and students, established relationships with Chinese partners, and a synergistic portfolio of high-impact projects in other regions. By linking strengths across countries, the CGS China Program provides a unique and rich environment for building a shared US-China community of expertise on energy, climate, and development strategies.
Strengths: We have a large China Program team with expertise in both U.S. and China, embedded in a center with expertise in other key countries through policy, modeling, empirical assessment, and engagement in key topic areas. Our partnership strategy focuses on developing joint research products and long-term collaborations with leading teams in China and internationally. This combination of policy engagement, research collaborations, and technical skills allows us to develop high-impact assessments of complex, critical topics in China.
Policy Impact: Our team’s broad links with current policy discussions in China and internationally—and our collaborative partnership strategy—have proven effective at targeting research and ensuring impact and broad awareness of the research in policy-linked conversations. Our team has led extensive U.S.-China multi-institution collaborative research on key policy topics such as carbon neutrality pathways, methane, power sector decarbonization, and more— which helps generate shared understanding for scientific and policy questions. Our team has also been deeply involved in U.S.-China bilateral climate discussions between the U.S. and Chinese Envoys at COP26 and COP27.
- High Ambition Coal Phase-out in China. This project explores the feasibility of an accelerated coal retirement in China to meet the 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 °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.
- Methane Mitigation and US-China Collaboration. CGS conducts research on methane mitigation and actively engages with policy communities through multi-institutional collaboration globally. Most recently, CGS has led in-depth research on the roadmap for US-China methane collaboration under the U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration with twenty US, Chinese, and international research institutes. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of challenges and opportunities for methane mitigation in the US and China, as well as opportunities for improving methane mitigation outcomes through collaborative activities and research. Specifically, it provides a comprehensive overview of the current methane emissions, policy frameworks, and mitigation opportunities in both countries. Building on new, multi-model analysis and the survey of recent literature, it provides a quantitative basis for methane mitigation potential in China and the US under carbon neutrality or net-zero pathways. It also sheds light on opportunities for collaboration between the two countries.
- 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, the linkage between long-term strategy and near-term policy actions, and 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 ongoing 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 examines 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 the 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 assess 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 requires balancing the need to accelerate innovation with economic competitiveness, especially for small manufacturing businesses.
The CGS China Program team consists of leading senior scholar-practitioners and project leads with strong expertise and experiences in Chinese, U.S. and international topics, including:
- Ryna Cui, lead
- Mengye Zhu
- Nate Hultman
- Jiehong Lou
- Jenna Behrendt
- Lucy Qiu
- Meredydd Evans
- Steve Smith
Our team also centrally integrates graduate student research assistants, including four current Ph.D. students working on China issues, as well as post-doctoral and post-masters researchers. Visiting scholars and students from China (e.g., from Tsinghua University, Beijing Institute of Technology, and others) have been an essential part of our team.
- Commentary: U.S.-China climate meeting outcome in Beijing, July 2023
- Renewed U.S.-China Climate Leadership: Opportunities for collaboration and enhanced action
- The Global Coal Conundrum: How to address overseas coal investments as developing countries race to meet ambitious climate goals
- New provincial level pathways to achieve China’s carbon neutrality and improve air quality in Shandong and Guangdong
- New multi-model analysis on the role of electrification in China’s carbon neutrality transition
- Enhanced methane reductions are possible through U.S.-China collaboration
- New analysis of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries identifies synergies across societal goals, policy priorities, and low-carbon transition potential
- The Belt Road Initiative (BRI): Three positive impacts of a successful low-carbon transition in Africa
- CGS and UC’s California-China Climate Institute Unveil Strategy to Kickstart China’s Coal Phase-Down
- Five Key Takeaways from Xi’s Speech at the Climate Leaders’ Summit
- CGS analysis illustrates pathways for rapid coal retirement in China
- The experts and research behind the CGS China Program
- China’s New Growth Pathway: from the 14th Five Year Plan to Carbon Neutrality
- New opportunities to adopt a “No New Coal” strategy in China’s 14th Five-Year Plan
- Qiu Receives NSF Grant to Study Energy Inequality During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Local economies soar in rural China through new solar initiatives
- New report shows a high ambition coal power phaseout in China is feasible
- Progress in throttling back China's rapid coal expansion is under threat