Low-carbon growth links with China

09 December 2011

The Energy and Climate Change Committee is today launching an inquiry into the UK’s cooperation with China on low-carbon development.

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.

Lower CO2 emissions

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.

Terms of Reference

The Committee invites written evidence from interested parties addressing some or all of the following questions:

  • What progress has been made in deepening cooperation between UK and China to achieve a low-carbon transition and how should this cooperation be taken forward?
  • What progress has been made in implementing the MOUs between the UK and China, including the DECC-National Development and Reform Commission MOU? 
  • How can the UK contribute further to the development of China’s climate change mitigation policies, such as those policies governing emissions trading, carbon capture and storage and energy efficiency?
  • How can bilateral cooperation with China contribute to success in the UNFCCC? 
  • How can UK and China better collaborate to develop the technologies needed for the low-carbon future, while managing intellectual property issues?
  • What scope is there for increasing regulatory alignment between the EU and China such as the development of common low-carbon standards for specific industries?
  • Would low-carbon sectoral linkages, such as sector-based cap-and-trade or common standards, allow participants to increase their decarbonisation ambitions?
  • What scope is there to implement International Climate Financing to projects in China?
  • How can DECC and HMG more effectively promote the strengths of the UK’s low carbon sector to China?
  • Are there any other ways of building UK-China low-carbon cooperation that you think the Committee should consider?

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Friday 13 January 2012.

Notes on submission of written evidence

Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format-please do not use PDF format-and sent by e-mail to The e-mail should also make clear which organisation or individual the submission is from and must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. Any hard copy submissions should be sent to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA. The deadline is Friday 13 January 2012. As a guideline submissions should be no longer than 3000 words. However, please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this matter.

Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.

Submissions should be original work written for the Committee, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Publication of evidence

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Further information

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