Facing ongoing pollution challenges and a push to diversify energy sources, China’s energy planners kicked off 2017 by announcing an array of 13th Five-Year Plans (13FYPs). Offering quantifiable short-term goals for limiting reliance on coal in favor of oil and gas, these plans collectively focus on emissions cuts, renewable energy development, and improved energy industry efficiency, while encouraging technology solutions such as data centers.
As the world braces for an expected shift in US climate policy under Trump, China will suddenly be in position to take the lead in the global fight against climate change. This is a complex proposition, as China has proven both its impressive renewable energy development capabilities, as well as its current inability to control pollution.
Growing public dissatisfaction toward rampant pollution in China is putting pressure on Beijing to craft a national development agenda that more comprehensively takes into account environmental considerations.
Climate change and clean energy issues continue to be a noticeably encouraging point of bilateral cooperation between the US and China.
Facing surmounting challenges, China seeks to revise its environmental trajectory, determined to smoothly and successfully transition from an overdependence on fossil fuels—particularly coal—to an embrace of clean energy.
As the United Nations Conference on Climate Change commences this week in Paris, no country faces graver challenges than China.