Washington D.C. – Energy and climate issues will be high on the agenda this week when Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, and other key U.S. leaders meet their Chinese counterparts for the sixth meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, or S&ED. The Center for American Progress has released an issue brief describing China’s recent efforts to reform its energy economy and reduce pollution emissions, as well as some of the pitfalls that could undermine reform progress.
The analysis, titled “A Primer on Beijing’s Slice-and-Dice Approach to Energy and Climate Reform,” discusses the wave of new polices that Beijing has rolled out over the past few years to fast track energy and emission reform in key urban areas. Not all of Beijing’s recent reform plans have hit their targets, and the brief argues that the United States should be prepared to push for emission reduction timelines that reflect overall national improvements, not just regional improvements in areas handpicked by Chinese officials.
“The pace and amount of regulatory reforms that Chinese leaders have issued since the 2011 pollution crisis is truly breathtaking,” said Melanie Hart, CAP’s Director of China Energy and Climate Policy and author of the brief. “But, as is all too common with Chinese regulations, loopholes abound, and there is still a high risk that the entire program could run off the rails. As Secretary Kerry and other U.S. leaders prepare to meet with their Chinese counterparts this week, they should look for opportunities to extend a helping hand with these critical energy and climate reforms while simultaneously holding Beijing’s feet to the fire on greenhouse gas emissions. ”