Executive Summary

Testimony Of Deborah Seligsohn
Senior Advisor, China Climate and Energy Program
World Resources Institute

Hearing Before The Congressional-Executive Commission on China

China's System for Measuring, Monitoring, and Reporting Energy and Climate Data

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the deliberations of this Commission. My name is Deborah Seligsohn, and I am Senior Advisor to the China Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute. The World Resources Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan environmental think tank that goes beyond research to provide practical solutions to the world’s most urgent environment and development challenges. We work in partnership with scientists, businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations in more than seventy countries to provide information, tools and analysis to address problems like climate change, the degradation of ecosystems and their capacity to provide for human well-being.

I am delighted to speak with you today about China’s systems for measuring, monitoring, and reporting energy and climate data, how these systems have been implemented and the opportunities for continuing to build capacity and improve these systems.

  1. Measurement and reporting systems provide information for a number of different purposes. It is important to distinguish the functions we expect the system to provide – both in the development of the system itself, and in the evaluation of the system’s effectiveness and utility. Energy and climate data can be collected or disseminated for three purposes:

  2. Measuring overall progress through national-level data. This is the essential level for evaluating any country’s commitments to any international climate regime. It is the level at which we compare country commitments. It is also essential for the country’s own purposes in considering energy and climate policy in the context of overall macro-economic policy.

  3. Measuring the impact of specific programs or players – in other words the data needed for energy and climate policymakers to track progress toward specific policy goals. This includes measuring at the sub-national level since China allocates provincial and local quotas. It would include sectoral or company-level reporting to enforcement bodies (to the extent that enforcement is at those levels). Finally, it includes programmatic data – metrics collected to assess the progress of specific energy or climate programs.

Providing data that civil society can access (public transparency). The transparency function can occur at all levels from national to the local.

It is important to distinguish these three functions and the types of data needed to meet each goal, as well as the separate history of each type of data collection and dissemination in the international sphere.

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