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IGES-ERI Convene Policy Research Workshop on Post-Durban Climate Policy in Beijing, China
18 January 2012

On 6 January 2012, IGES and the Energy Research Institute (ERI) of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) co-hosted a policy dialogue on low-carbon development in China and Japan, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOEJ). The main purpose of the meeting was for policymakers and researchers to exchange views on both domestic and international climate policies and discuss possibilities for further climate research collaboration between China and Japan, following the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa. The dialogue was held in Beijing, China, and was the sixth such gathering in a series of policy dialogues that dates back to 2005.

In addition to opening remarks, the dialogue featured three substantive sessions: 1) Domestic Policy Updates in China, Japan, and other key countries; 2) Perspective for Future Climate Actions; 3) Prospects for collaboration between Japanese and Chinese climate policy researchers.

For enquiries about this press release please contact:
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa,
240-0115 Japan

Dr. Kentaro Tamura
Deputy Director, Climate Change Group
E-mail: cc-info@iges.or.jp

Ms. Emiko Doi, Public Relations Officer
Tel: +81-46-855-3720
Email: iges@iges.or.jp


Summary of the IGES-ERI Policy Research Workshop on Post-Durban Climate Policy

Date: 6 January (Fri) 2012
Venue: China People’s Palace Hotel, Beijing, China
Organisers: Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES, Japan), Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (ERI, China)

Opening remarks

- Professor Hironori Hamanaka (Chair of the Board of Directors, IGES): The Durban Platform underlines the importance of “exploring options for a range of actions that can close the ambition gap (reaching the 2 °C goal) and [quickening the pace to an emissions peak] with a view to ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties.” Closing the ambition gap will require not only stronger policies but improved communication between policymakers and researchers.
- Dr. Jiang Kejun (Director, ERI): The 3 to 5 year deadline to arrive at a post-2020 climate regime in the Durban Platform and the scheduled release of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014 will bring growing attention to climate policy. In the next three years, researchers from China and Japan must come together to provide knowledge for bringing the emissions peak forward and achieving the 2 °C target.

Session 1: Domestic Policy Updates in China, Japan, and other key countries
In this session, the following were presented: (1) the results of China’s 11th Five Year Plan and the details of the 12th Five Year Plan, (2) updates on Japan’s mitigation effort in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, (3) energy and climate actions implemented and discussed before and after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, and (4) a review on emission trading schemes implemented or planned around the world.

- A Chinese researcher explained that the international community had many doubts about the 20% energy intensity target in China’s 11th Five Year Plan when it was released in 2006; but the progress made reaching the target eased many of those concerns.
- A participant pointed out that progress has been slow with the 16% energy intensity target (17% carbon intensity) in the 12th Five Year Plan; however this is often the case in the first year of a five year plan.
- In the 12th Five Year Plan, a Chinese researcher mentioned, China will continue to rely on energy conservation in large enterprises and shutting down inefficient facilities, but it will also begin to employ new policy instruments such as pilot emissions trading schemes (ETS).
- By mid-2012, a Japanese policymaker said, Japan is planning to introduce a new energy and climate strategy.
- A Japanese researcher stressed that the growing number of contexts in which ETS are being introduced (i.e. Tokyo) offer useful lessons on mechanism design (i.e. time needed to gather robust data, phased approach target enabled entities to increase readiness level prior to introduction of ETS).

Session 2: Perspective for Future Climate Actions
In this session, the following were presented: (1) the latest emission scenarios for Japan and China, (2) renewable energy deployment in China, and (3) measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of support to developing countries on climate actions.

- Chinese researchers are now exploring whether it is technically and economically feasible for CO2 emissions to peak in China by 2025.
- In China, renewable energy is growing at a much faster rate than energy models initially predicted, particularly wind power. At the same time, there is criticism of wind power because its contribution to electricity supply is relatively small compared to the scale of investment required. It was also shared that China will make large investments in improving the power grid to accept renewable electricity in the 12th Five Year Plan. Researchers further suggested that 15GW/yr increase of wind power installed capacity seems technically possible.
- A Japanese researcher pointed out most of the attention to measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) under the UNFCCC has focused on the MRV of climate actions; but the MRV of financial, technological and capacity building support promises to be increasingly important. Negotiators should pay close attention to the effectiveness and efficiency of MRVing these forms of support in view of transaction and administrative costs.
- A Japanese researcher stated that the 25% reduction by 2020 from 1990 levels remains technically feasible in Japan, even though the substitution of nuclear power by fossil fuel power leads to a substantial increase in CO2 emissions. It will, however, require strengthened policy and accelerated technology deployment. It was also emphasised that the balance between reductions from domestic actions and international offsets will be critical to achieve the 25% reduction target.

Session 3: Prospects for collaboration between Japanese and Chinese climate policy researchers
This session focused on the direction of China-Japan climate research and the knowledge that Chinese and Japanese researchers should communicate in the next 3-5 years when the framework of the next climate regime will be formed.

- The point was shared that while negotiations in Durban went a long way to paving the way for a future climate regime, several issues remain unsettled, including inter alia consistency with a 2 °C goal; and differentiation of commitments under a single legal framework. It was also highlighted that science is required to incentivise countries to increase their levels of ambition.
- It was discussed that over the next few years, countries will need to develop their own low-carbon roadmaps. While climate negotiators should pay attention to building roadmaps in the near term, researchers should also focus on longer term sets of actions (up to 2050). Participants also agreed that researchers should become more proactive in making recommendations and disseminating knowledge.
- In developing low-carbon roadmaps, a Chinese participant suggested, there will need to be greater efforts to engage the private sector and consider how national institutions (central-local fiscal relations) affect key policy areas.
- At the close of the meeting, participants agreed that researchers should become more proactive in making recommendations and proposals on the realisation of low-carbon society and the methodologies to set ambitious emissions reduction targets. IGES and ERI agreed to make a short list of specific research areas for further collaboration.

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