COMMONS

Low-Carbon Growth Links with China

Inquiry concluded; Report published

  • Transcript of the session at Tuesday 6 March 2012 Professor Samuel Fankhauser, Grantham Institute, London School of Economics, Professor Trevor Davies, Tyndall Centre, University of East Anglia, and Professor Corinne Le Quéré, Tyndall Centre, University of East Anglia; Nick Mabey, Chief Executive, E3G, and Felix Preston, Research Fellow, Chatham House; Baroness Bryony Worthington, Sandbag, George Yu, Sandbag, and Richard Baron, International Energy Agency, gave evidence.
  • Transcript of the session at Tuesday 13 March 2012. John MacArthur, Vice President CO2 Policy, Shell, Alistair Guthrie, Global Sustainable Buildings Design Leader, Arup, and Peter Budd, Vice Chairman, China-Britain Business Council, and Director, Arup; Gregory Barker MP, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Henry Bellingham MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, James Hughes, Head of International Climate Change Strategy, Energy and Analysis, Department of Energy and Climate Change, John Ashton, Special Representative for Climate Change, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Gregory Briffa, Low Carbon Team Leader, Department for International Development, gave evidence.

As the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China’s actions have the potential to make a vital contribution to keeping temperature rises within acceptable bounds. However, although China is a member of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), China is not committed to emissions reductions as part of an international agreement. Greater bilateral co-operation between major emitters could make an important contribution to achieving emissions reductions. The Committee will investigate how the UK and China can together enhance their co-operation to accelerate the shift to low carbon growth in both countries.

In October 2011 the UK signed a new framework Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on UK-China Climate Change Co-operation. This governs the overall shape of our bilateral co-operation, including that provided by DECC, DFID and the FCO. Another MOU on Low Carbon Co-operation, signed in January 2011, is intended to boost efforts in China’s low carbon pilot zones by sharing practical policy expertise in: low carbon planning; use of market mechanisms; and promoting low carbon standards.

China has pledged to lower CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40–45% by 2020, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15% by 2020 and increase forest coverage. In the 12th Five Year Plan (2011–2015), the Chinese government identified seven Strategic Emerging Industries for particular support, three of which are directly related to clean energy technologies. It also announced a number of trial emissions trading systems.

This inquiry will explore the potential for enhanced political, economic and technological linkages with China, including how to deepen the cooperation between low-carbon industries and how this could contribute to mutual environmental and economic goals. Taking into account developments in the latest round of UNFCCC negotiations, it will assess the progress made in climate change and energy co-operation between the two countries. In doing so, the inquiry will ask whether UK work in China is being coordinated effectively and how DECC, and the Government can take this work forward to create a productive low-carbon partnership. 

 

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