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Columbia Energy Exchange

Guide to Chinese Climate Policy

China is the world leader in emissions of heat-trapping gases, and the Chinese government is taking many steps to reduce emissions, including policies that have made China the world’s leader in renewable energy and electric vehicles. But other Chinese policies are working in the opposite direction, including support for coal-fired power plants.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by David Sandalow, the inaugural fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and the author of the 2019 edition of the Center’s Guide to Chinese Climate Policy, a book that helps readers navigate the complexities of China’s response to climate change.

David is the founder and director of the Center’s U.S.- China program and co-director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He’s also been a distinguished visiting professor in the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University.

Before that, he held several senior positions at the White House and the U.S. Departments of State and Energy.

David and Bill got together to talk about the guide, the original version of which was published in 2018. Among the topics they discussed were major commitments that China has made in response to climate change and how the nation is following through on them. They also talked about some contradictory trends in China, such as its simultaneous construction of coal and renewable energy power plants.

And at a time when putting a price on carbon is a hot topic in the U.S. and other countries, David explains what China is doing about it.

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