China Center for International Economic Exchanges

Analysis on Climate Policies of China, The United States and The European Union
Author:ZHANG Huanbo
  • Introduction
  • Table of Contents

How to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change on human society has become a hot topic in the current world political and environmental diplomacy. It is of great practical significance for China’s international climate negotiation and domestic policy formulation to study the attitudes, policies and actions for climate change taken by other countries and the influence of such actions on international political, economic and social dynamics.  

Characterized by introduction and analysis of climate policies adopted by the US, EU and China as well as study on how China would fulfill low-carbon development, this book falls into six chapters. 

In Chapter One, the impact of climate change is illustrated with analysis on the impact on the socio-economy and environment systems and a review of the course of international climate protection. To end the chapter, challenges to address climate change are raised.    

Chapter Two focuses on introduction and study of climate policies adopted by the US on federal, state and local levels. It is found that initiative policies and actions taken by states and localities have exerted important influence on both the federal and international levels. Such initiatives are driven by multiple factors, e.g. democratic dominant local governments are relatively positive in climate policy making, local governments are highly authorized in environmental protection and some influential states have played a leading role in action taking. There is also an analysis on climate policies adopted by the Obama administration under which certain positive changes have taken place compared with the Bush administration. However, an array of problems remain: insufficient emission reduction, heavy reliance on offset by other countries in terms of emission reduction channel, attempt to bind to developing countries and to set up a US centered climate policy standard, etc. 

Chapter Three is introduction and study of climate policies adopted by EU and analysis on its policy trends after 2012. The current EU international climate policies are interpreted including issues on emission reduction targets, the Kyoto Protocol, carbon tariff and carbon inclusion mechanism, financial and technological support for developing countries, carbon trading and CDM, etc. Study is conducted on EU leadership in climate policies such as impact on EU climate policy leadership of the international leadership, energy security, EU member leadership, organization systems and authorization space, etc. New challenges facing EU climate policy leadership are studied: questionable medium emission reduction targets and international offset, aid for developing countries in emission reduction, difficult coordination between member countries and emergence of the US leadership, etc.   

Chapter Four is dedicated to introduction of China’s policies addressing climate change and evaluation of such policies. By assuming the velocity relations between China’s future economic growth rate, energy efficiency improvement and increase of renewable energy proportions, this chapter studies possible future channels of carbon emission in China. Analysis is conducted on impact of the targeted 40-45% emission reduction by 2020 on China’s economy, so is climate change addressing mechanism adopted by local governments which, as found in the study, have responded to climate change mainly motivated by the attention and call from the Central Government, desire for political career promotion and economic benefit. Other factors do play a role such as the actual climate change impact, competence and awareness, vision and leadership, but in most provinces, they are only minor motivations.

Chapter Five features a comparative analysis on climate policies between the US, EU and China from the perspectives of effect of climate policies, climate strategies and policy tools; also an exploration of the way ahead to addressing climate change. 

Chapter Six contributes to study of low-carbon related concepts and proposals on low-carbon development in China. Concepts of low-carbon economy and low-carbon urbanism are brought forward together with the approaches to achievement based on summarized concepts from home and abroad. Analysis is done on business strategies in the context of low-carbon development and challenges faced by China in such context. At the end of the chapter, based on the Beijing-Tianjin-Tanggu economic circle, strategic proposals are put forward on low-carbon development in China in aspects of positioning of low-carbon economy, definition of growth mode and cultivation of core competitiveness.  

A large part of this book is based on my postdoctoral report at Tsinghua University. First of all, I must thank Professor Qi Ye, my postdoctoral advisor, who has instructed me to complete all studies. Li Huimin, post-doctorate at School of Public Administration, and Ma Li, doctorate of Tsinghua University, my long-term partners in climate policy research, are the co-contributors of some parts of this book.

Analysis on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) is greatly attributable to Professor Qi’s constructive opinions and Dr. Li Huimin’s discussion and revision. The section of “Analysis on Climate Change Policies Adopted by the Chinese Local Governments” has been published on the Public Administration Review journal in the name of Zhang Huanbo, Ma Li, Li Huimin and Qi Ye. The section of “Climate Policies in China” owes great efforts on data collection and sorting to Ma Li and Li Huimin, in which Ma Li made special effort to collect and sort out the comprehensive climate policies adopted by the US Federal Government. Both of them offered a great deal of assistance in pre-publication revision, to whom I must extend my sincere appreciation.   

Low-carbon concepts are put forward with Professor Qi’s instruction and consultation with professors Meng Yanchun, Liu Zhilin and Dai Yixin, among others. The MPC-IC is quoted as a result of Professor Qi’s earlier research. Professor Wang Zheng, my doctoral advisor who started to instruct me in modeling and researching in the field of climate policies during my doctoral period, is another mentor for whom I am grateful and from whom some ideas in Chapter One Climate Challenges have come.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Niu Diehai, postgraduate at School of Environment Science of Renmin University, and Jin Xuan, undergraduate at the Central University for Nationalities, both of whom have made great contribution to translation and data sorting on EU climate policies. Thank those unnamed teachers and schoolfellows I ever worked with. And special thank is given to China Center for International Economic Exchanges that has helped bring this book to publication.

It is worth noting that the opinions and proposals contained herein represent no institutions but the author as an individual who is limited by capacity and shall feel much encouraged if any omissions or improper ideas are corrected by readers.  

                                                                                          Huanbo Zhang

                                                                                           April 26,2010


Chapter 1 Challenge of Climate Change
  1.1 The Impacts of Global Climate Change
  1.2 The Impacts of Climate Change on Social Environment and Economic System is Ever-increasingly Worsening
  1.3 International Progress in Climate Protection
  1.4 Challenges

Chapter 2 Analysis on US Climate Policies
  2.1 Overview of Carbon Emission and Development of Renewable Energy in the US
  2.2 Policies on Energy and Climate in the United States
  2.3 Analysis on US Climate Policy
  2.4 New Trend of Climate Policies of Obama Administration

Chapter 3 Analysis on EU Climate Policies
  3.1 Overview of Carbon Emission and Development of Renewable Energy in the EU
  3.2 EU's Climate Policies
  3.3 EU's Climate Policy after 2012
  3.4 Interpretation for EU's International Climate Policy
  3.5 Analysis on EU's Leadership on Climate Policy

Chapter 4 Analysis on China's Climate Policies
  4.1 Carbon Emission and Development of Renewable Energy in China
  4.2 China's Contribution in Responding Climate Change
  4.3 Climate Policy instrument
  4.4 Evaluation on China's Climate Change Response Policy
  4.5 Systemic Analysis on China's Climate Policies: An Analysis of Local Governments Actions and Mechanisms against
     Climate Change
  4.6 Future Trends of China's Carbon Emission
  4.7 Influence of Target of Carbon Emission Reduction by 40%-45% on the Economy

Chapter 5 Comparative Analysis
  5.1 Actual Effects
  5.2 Climate Strategy
   5.3 Tools of Climate Policy
   5.4 Policy-making Procedure
   5.5 Future Road to Dealwith Climate Change

Chapter 6 Strategic Thoughts on the Developmen of China's Low Carbon
  6.1 Development of Low Carbon Concept
  6.2 Concept and Implementation Path of Low Carbon City
  6.3 Low Carbon Development of Enterprises
  6.4 New Situations and Characteristics for China Economic Development under Low Carbon Development
  6.5 Strategic Thoughts on China's Low Carbon Development:
     Take Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Economic Circle as an Example