In fast-urbanizing China, nearly 90 percent of coastal cities face some degree of water scarcity and roughly 300 million rural residents lack access to clean water.
To quench the country’s chronic thirst, the Chinese government has turned to desalination, aiming to produce as much as 3 million cubic meters of desalinated water daily by 2020, up from today’s 0.77 million cubic meter.
Imagine that we have the chance to cut greenhouse gas emissions, boost household incomes and increase crop yields, while making vulnerable areas more resilient to severe weather and improving the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest regions.
The fact is, we could do all this and more by restoring the world’s degraded landscapes to productive, sustainable use.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) created GHG accounting and reporting guidelines for 10 industries, using the GHG Protocol’s (GHGP) framework and methodologies created by WRI and WBCSD. In 2014, NDRC mandated GHG reporting for more than 20,000 companies and organizations, all of which will measure and manage emissions based on GHGP guidelines.
China’s size and rapid growth have made it an economic powerhouse. Yet it’s come at a cost: China is the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitter, burning almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined. The country’s energy and manufacturing sectors account for more than 80 percent of its energy consumption.
Despite Chinese companies’ role in fueling climate change, most do not measure or manage their greenhouse gas emissions.
WRI, in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), created the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Standard, a framework for companies to consistently, accurately account for and reduce emissions. In 2013, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) created GHG accounting and reporting guidelines for 10 industries, using the GHG Protocol’s framework and methodologies as a reference. In 2014, NDRC mandated GHG reporting for more than 20,000 companies and organizations, all of which will measure and manage emissions based on guidelines mentioned above. Companies reporting their emissions as part of China’s pilot Emission Trading Scheme (ETS)—which comprises five cities and two provinces—will also use the standards.
Since 2009, WRI has organized regular workshops and training with NDRC and local officials to make the case for mandatory emissions reporting. WRI worked closely with the China Business Council for Sustainable Development and the China Electricity Council to develop GHG accounting methodologies specifically for the chemical and power sectors. And WRI experts advised on the development of online GHG reporting systems for Jiangsu Province, Guangdong Province and Qingdao city.
NDRC has laid the political and technical groundwork for a national GHG reporting program. It will raise companies’ awareness on carbon management and help the government track emissions performance. Measuring emissions is the first step in getting companies to reduce them. If China — the world’s biggest emitter — can decrease its corporate sector emissions, it would help prevent warming globally.
What’s more, a robust GHG reporting program is imperative for creating a national emissions trading scheme, which is a key policy instrument for China to mitigate GHG emissions.
With China at an economic and environmental crossroad, ongoing cooperation on climate and clean energy with the U.S. can yield significant social and economic rewards for both countries. The benefits of this course can and must go together to tackle climate change and create vibrant economies for the 21st century.
To limit global warming to 2 degrees C will require enormous collective effort.
China and the U.S. have joined the EU by announcing their targets, and as the world’s top three emitters, the pressure will stay on them to deliver the most ambitious reductions possible.
The blockbuster climate announcement in Beijing on November 12 unveiled new targets for both China and the United States. The renewed collaboration on climate change could be an historic turning point.
Next steps in the landmark climate action agreement between the U.S. and China will be important, but this accord signals a huge move forward for climate action—globally.
WASHINGTON (November 12, 2014)— During a presidential trip to China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping made major climate change announcements. President Obama announced a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions between 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. President Xi announced targets to peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and to increase the share of non-fossil fuel energy to around 20 percent by 2030.