In September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China would strive to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. The neutrality goal, in particular, was a breakthrough for global climate ambitions: a net-zero target from a country responsible for roughly one-quarter of global GHG emissions, more than any other country.

Meeting these aims, however, will demand a dramatic transformation of China’s economy, and especially of emissions-intensive sectors in energy and heavy industry that have fueled decades of rapid growth. China’s leading firms in these sectors are global giants, responsible for significant shares of GHG emissions in sectors from oil and gas to cement. How are they reacting to the climate challenge?

Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy recently released a pair of reports on this issue. One report, by Dr. Erica Downs, analyzes how Chinese oil and gas firms are preparing for a lower-carbon future. The other report, by Edmund Downie, examines early responses to the peaking and neutrality pledges from Chinese firms in coal power, steel, and cement.

The Center hosted a webinar that featured the key findings of these reports followed by a moderated discussion with sector experts.


  • David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA


  • Dr. Michael Davidson, Assistant Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, University of California, San Diego
  • Edmund Downie, PhD Candidate, Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs
  • Dr. Erica Downs, Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA
  • Dr. Shangyou Nie, Non-Resident Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA
  • Dr. Deborah Seligsohn, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Villanova University