For the 13th year, World Resources Institute will host Stories to Watch, an event looking at the big stories that will shape the world in the coming year. Dr. Andrew Steer, president & CEO, World Resources Institute, will offer his views on the major economic, social, environment and development issues for 2016.
China intends to advance ambitious climate action, and research shows the country is already making progress. The country's coal consumption has likely peaked, while renewable energy capacity has expanded significantly.
More than 678 million Chinese citizens now live in areas facing high or extremely high water stress. Industrialization and urbanization are to blame.
As 2017 begins, China is poised to leap ahead of the United States on clean energy to become the most important player in the global market.
WRI used its Greenhouse Gas Protocol tools to help a major city in China and businesses in India measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions. Chengdu – one of China’s most populous cities – and nine large companies in India set clear and ambitious targets to reduce emissions intensity, supporting the achievement of China and India’s national emission reduction goals.
Cities and businesses have a critical role to play if China and India are to meet their ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets. Megacity Chengdu, with an administrative area population of 14 million, is China’s fifth largest city and continues to grow rapidly. In India, the industrial and energy sectors account for three-quarters of emissions. Slowing the rise of, and ultimately reducing, these emissions requires tools to measure and manage them.
WRI has worked with Chengdu since 2011 through the Sustainable and Livable Cities Initiative. In 2014, Chengdu developed its first GHG inventory using WRI’s GHG Protocol tools. In 2016, WRI conducted an analysis suggesting that Chengdu’s emissions could peak by 2025 and helped the city develop a roadmap to achieve the target.
In India, WRI has worked since 2013 with The Energy and Resources Institute and the Confederation of Indian Industry to convene and support the India GHG Program (IGHGP), a voluntary industry-led partnership of over 50 large companies committed to measuring and managing their GHG emissions. The potential is large: members account for about 15 percent of India’s GHG emissions and include, for example, NTPC and Indian Railways, the nation’s largest electricity producer and consumer, respectively. Through IGHGP, members receive training on GHG Protocol tools and support on developing GHG inventories and cost-effective emission reduction strategies.
In June 2016, Chengdu announced it would peak its emissions by 2025, ahead of China’s national target of peaking carbon dioxide emissions around 2030. Chengdu’s commitment could avoid emissions equivalent to shutting down 20 U.S. coal-fired power plants by 2025 and demonstrates confidence that a low-carbon economy and economic growth can be pursued together. In India, nine IGHGP members, including the nation’s largest automobile, cement, and chemical companies, have committed to reduce GHG emissions intensity by at least 20 percent, most by 2020, and have agreed to work with their supply chains to measure and manage emissions.
WRI will continue to support cities and companies in contributing to national climate targets, offering input to Chengdu’s strategy for emission reductions after 2025 and expanding the India GHG Program.
WRI worked with key representatives of Chinese institutions and other stakeholders to craft recommendations on how China’s financial system could support robust, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable growth. The work contributed to broader efforts to support comprehensive financial reforms, resulting in China’s Guidelines for Establishing the Green Financial System.
China’s sustained economic growth over the past three decades has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, but it has come at significant cost to the environment. The nation’s current environmental challenges can only be addressed by shifting investment toward economic activities that contribute to greener growth. The Chinese government was one of the first to recognize that, in addition to regulatory and public spending measures, this requires reform of the financial system, so that funds are allocated toward environmentally-sound investment.
WRI’s President, Andrew Steer, was invited by the Chinese government to co-chair the Green Finance Task Force of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), set up to provide policy recommendations to the government on green financial reform and transformation. Members included senior representatives from the People’s Bank of China, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Renmin University. WRI also invited global experts on financial reform to join the Task Force, including from the OECD, the World Bank, the Climate Policy Initiative, and the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System. This work built upon and complemented work by the People’s Bank of China, the UNEP Inquiry, and others.
WRI worked with Green Finance Task Force members and its co-chair, the former president of Renmin University, to write the CCICED report, which recommended a system-wide approach to green financial reform, including specific recommendations on green bonds, environmental disclosure and liability, lending targets, stock market rules, and policies to ensure high standards for overseas investment. CCICED delivered the recommendations to the Vice Premier of China.
In August 2016, seven Chinese ministries jointly released Guidelines for Establishing the Green Financial System – the world’s first systematic roadmap pushing reform across all segments of a country’s financial and environmental governance systems. These shifts will benefit public agencies and companies that aim to introduce low-carbon development plans and projects, ultimately offering substantial benefits to the general public and providing a practical example to other nations.
Hundreds of cities are starting to get serious about curbing climate change. Fast-growing Chengdu, China, is putting evidence-based low-carbon planning into action.
In the fight to avert runaway climate change, no country is more important than China, and nowhere in China is more important than its booming cities. A recent visit to China offered a first-hand look at how WRI China is working with partners in Beijing, Chengdu, Qingdao and other cities to advance solutions that cut emissions while improving people's lives.
A G20 communique on green finance and new national guidelines on greening China's financial system could help shift investments from high-carbon to low-carbon sectors.
WASHINGTON (September 5, 2016) — At the G20 summit in China, world leaders announced some commitments to further integrate climate change and clean energy into the economic growth agenda.