China’s Climate Action Plan 2015
What should be China’s plan to address climate change?
Submit proposals: https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1302013
Deadline: Monday, August 31 at 23:59:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
Judging Criteria & Prizes: See below.
This contest invites the global community to work together to develop coherent plans for how the China as a whole – its government, businesses, other organizations, and citizens – can take effective action to address climate change.
Working as an individual or in a team, you can select plans for each of the five major sectors of the economy and propose them as an effective set of actions that the China can take to address climate change. The five sectors are: energy supply, transportation, industry, buildings, and all others (which specifically includes agriculture, forestry, and other land use, as well as waste management). With help from the Impact Assessment Fellows, you will be able to see your plan’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission scenario from 2020 to 2050, and compare that with a business-as-usual emission scenario. You should also select a plan for one other “sector” (called “adaptation”) that includes actions to adapt to changes caused by global climate change such as changing temperatures and rising sea levels.
No single organization–including Chinese government–could create and implement a complete climate action plan all by itself. Instead, successful action will require work by many different organizations and people.
Articulating a vision for China as a whole has great potential value, since it can demonstrate that there is a plausible path forward. And such a vision can serve as a roadmap for the many disparate organizations and people whose efforts must be enlisted.
This contest is part of a pilot test of a new initiative in the Climate CoLab to develop integrated proposals for addressing climate change at the regional and global levels. Learn more. If you have feedback on the approach, please let us know by sending email to email@example.com.
You are invited to discuss about strategies for creating regional and global climate action plans with the Climate CoLab community on the Forum:http://mitsha.re/1Lco4Wi
Any comprehensive combination of actions to address climate change across a country or region must necessarily involve:
- multiple sectors of the economy;
- activity at multiple geographic levels (national, regional, and local),
- interventions in the technical, biological, and geological systems that directly affect the earth’s carbon cycle as well as interventions in the economic and political systems, and behavioral patterns, that shape the relevant physical systems.
Plans will be evaluated based on:
- How well you have selected a combination of individual proposals that are strong in the four judging criteria: feasibility, novelty, impact and presentation quality.
- How well you have combined the different proposals to articulate a broad, coherent, and feasible vision for what the region can do about climate change.
Note: You are welcome to select proposals that did not win prizes or even become semifinalists in other contests. You may, for instance, find proposals that were overlooked in the original judging of those contests or that have some special relevance when combined with other proposals in your overall plan.
Judges' Choice and Popular Choice winners will receive a special invitation to attend selected sessions at MIT’s SOLVE conference and showcase their work before key constituents in a workshop the next day. A few select Climate CoLab winners will join distinguished SOLVE attendees in a highly collaborative problem-solving session.
In addition, if your China plan is included in one or more winning global plans, you will receive Climate CoLab Points, and the top point-getters will receive shares of a cash prize of $10,000.
An integrated proposal (such as a regional or global plan) includes ideas from all the people who contributed to the sub-proposals, not just those who created the integrated proposal itself. To recognize all these contributions, a winning integrated proposal receives CoLab Points that are distributed among all these people. The top point-getters will receive shares of a cash prize of $10,000. Read more.
Building the plan. Your plan should consist of a collection of actions, which, when taken together, could effectively address climate change in this region.
You can select actions from:
- The Climate CoLab... You can include any proposal on the Climate CoLab platform, regardless of whether or not it won a contest, or was submitted in an active contest or a contest from a previous year. You can also pick proposals from the Proposal Workspace.
- Off the Climate CoLab... You can also include proposals outside of the Climate CoLab – policies already enacted or currently under consideration; action plans proposed by cities and governments; strategies being advocated for by non-government organizations and think tanks; technologies employed or in development – by adding them as Climate CoLab proposals in a Workspace.
- Or create your own... If you don't see any proposals you would like to include in your plan, create your own in the Proposal Workspace, or work with a proposal author to add what you think is needed.
Your plan should include actions that will impact these six sectors:
Buildings (commercial and residential)
Other (including agriculture, forestry, other land use, and waste management)
Adaptation (preparing for the impacts of climate change)
You will also be asked to:
justify how the actions you selected fit together;
describe the key benefits, costs, challenges and timeline of the plan;
and estimate (working the Impact Assessment Fellows) the emissions that would result from the actions proposed (see below).
Tip: When editing your proposal, use the proposal icon at the upper right of the toolbar select proposals. You can also use the hyperlink button to link in ideas from websites outside of the Climate CoLab.
Evaluating impact. A key part of a climate action plan is an overall estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the combination of all the actions you propose, decade by decade, from 2020 to 2050.
See your proposal’s impact tab for guidance on how to estimate these emissions. You can also work with the Climate CoLab Impact Assessment Fellows, who can help you use the impact tools on the platform.
Resources for Proposal Authors
China generally agrees on the science of greenhouse gasses and global climate change. Recently, China ranked number one in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, followed by the United States and India. In addition, the local environmental stresses created by things such as air pollution, water pollution, floods, and droughts, increased awareness that actions are urgently needed to address climate change and its impacts (NDRC, 2014). Though the challenges are great, there is potential for China to reduce emissions and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change.
In fact, China announced in November 2014 that it would peak CO2 emissions by 2030 at the latest, and increase the share of non-fossil fuel energy in the total primary energy supply to at least 20%. Given the current development trajectory and the ambitious goals that were set out - policies and innovations need to be in place to achieve such levels. As the target consists of changes in the energy mix, further measures to reduce absolute energy use could decrease emissions even further. According to Climate Action Tracker (2015), China’s 2020 pledge can be summarized into the following three elements:
- Overall reduction of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% by 2020 compared to the 2005 level
- Increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15% by 2020
- Increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from the 2005 levels.
Recently, China’s leading weather official warned that the impacts of climate change are already damaging the Chinese economy, with “losses equivalent to 1 percent of China’s economic output” in this century (Hulac, 2015). Concerns about energy security, efforts to reap the economic benefits of clean energy, the economic imperative of restructuring, and public concern about air pollution - are among the many reasons that have pushed China to tackle the challenge sooner rather than later.
While many are now looking for a formal proposal from China, which is expected to be submitted in the summer of 2015, China is already taking action on multiple fronts to shift to a low-carbon path, and is making strides towards its stated goals by:
- Placing a price on carbon by promoting its city and provincial level carbon-trading pilots (Song & Lei, 2014)
- Limiting coal consumption to around 4.2 billion tons by 2020 and reducing coal use to a maximum of 62 percent of primary energy use that year (China, 2014b)
- Scaling up non-fossil fuel energy to target 11.4 percent by 2015, 15 percent by 2020, and has set near-term targets for wind, solar, hydro and nuclear power (China FAQ, 2014)
- Improving energy efficiency of its economy and of coal-fired power plants (China FAQ, 2014)
- Rebalancing the economy from energy-intensive industries toward services like finance and telecommunications in order to maintain economic growth (Houser, 2013)
National efforts can, without a doubt, make a difference in reducing emissions from the top-down. We believe that non-State actors, especially scientists, researchers or bright individuals can make a difference. Obviously, the challenges to realize these plans are great. However, as research indicates, China's mitigation actions proposed for 2015 and 2020 are reachable at modest costs, and it is essential to engage China in stronger GHG emissions mitigation policies (Paltsev, et al., 2012).
*The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), November 2014. China's Policies and Actions on Climate Change(2014) http://en.ccchina.gov.cn/archiver/ccchinaen/UpFile/Files/Default/20141126133727751798.pdf
*This annual report has been compiled by the NDRC to help the interested parties understand the policies and actions undertaken by China to address climate change. The report also highlights the achievements of China.
Benjamin Hulac, 2015. INVESTMENT: Half-trillion-dollar green bond market, led by China, looks for a regulator. ClimateWire: Wednesday, March 25, 2015. http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060015681/print
China – Climate Action Tracker. http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/china.html
China FAQ, 2014. What Are China’s National Climate and Energy Targets? http://www.chinafaqs.org/files/chinainfo/ChinaFAQs_table_China_climate_energy_targets_0.pdf
Green, F., & Stern, N., 2014. An innovative and sustainable growth path for China: a critical decade. London: Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Green-and-Stern-policy-paper-May-20141.pdf
International Energy Agency, 2014. 2012 CO2 Emissions Overview. http://www.iea.org/media/statistics/topics/emissions/CO2_Emissions_Overview.pdf
Paul Joffe, Geoffrey Henderson, 2015. China’s Climate Action Is Well Underway. World Resources Institute. April 16, 2015. http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/04/china%E2%80%99s-climate-action-well-underway
Ranping Song, Hongpeng Lei, 2014. Emissions Trading in China: First Reports from the Field. http://www.chinafaqs.org/blog-posts/emissions-trading-china-first-reports-field#sthash.ZcB8pwwp.dpuf
Sergey Paltsev, , Jennifer Morris, YongxiaCai, Valerie Karplus, Henry Jacoby, 2012. The role of China in mitigating climate change. Energy Economics, Volume 34, Supplement 3: S444-S450.
The People’s Republic of China (2014a). National Action Plan on Climate Change (2014 – 2020) http://www.sdpc.gov.cn/gzdt/201411/W020141104591413713551.pdf
The People’s Republic of China (2014b). Energy Development Strategy Action Plan (2014 – 2020) http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2014-11/19/content_9222.htm
Trevor Houser, 2013. China's 2012 Energy Report Card. Rhodium Group, LLC, February 27, 2013. http://rhg.com/notes/chinas-2012-energy-report-card