Climate and Energy

2016 Japan-China Policy Research Workshop

As commissioned work from the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan (MOEJ), the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and the Energy Research Institute (ERI) held a seminar, entitled “Japan-China Policy Research Workshop” on 23 June 2016. A total of 40 participants from China, Japan, the US, Germany and others attended the workshop and exchanged views and ideas on ways to increase the level of ambition through the ratcheting up mechanism in order to achieve the 1.5℃/2.0℃ degree goal set out in the Paris Agreement.

Date 23 June 2016
Venue China Peoples Palace, Beijing CHINA
Host Ministry of the Environment, Japan
Co-organisers Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (ERI)
Ministry of the Environment, Japan
Language English
Participants Approx. 40
Related Information
Presentation Materials
China’s Low Carbon and Energy Transition: Peaking CO2 emission in 2020 to 2022
Jiang Kejun, ERI, China
PDF (3.6MB)
China’s Carbon Emission Scenario Analysis
Liu Qiang, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC), China
PDF (1.4MB)
Reinventing Fire: China -A Roadmap for China’s Revolution of Energy Production and Consumption To 2050-
Tian Zhiyu, ERI, China
PDF (2.2MB)
Introductory Session

Dr. Zhou and Mr. Tanaka welcomed the participants. They both emphasised the importance of science and research as well as sharing knowledge and expertise, international dialogue and cooperation in research, among others, in combating climate change.

Three presenters from China showed key results from various modelling studies, including China’s low-carbon and energy transition, SACC model, DDPP, policy evaluation for carbon mitigation, and Reinventing Fire China. All studies revealed that China will be able to achieve CO2 emission peak before 2030 and several studies indicate that China can realise coal consumption peak as early as 2020 to 2022.

Session 1: Linking NDCs and Long-term Strategies

Panelists discussed the role of Long-term Strategies and agreed that they were important to achieve the purpose of the Paris Agreement, referring particularly to 1.5/2.0 degree goal and (near) net zero emissions in the second half of this century. They emphasised the importance of utilising this strategy-building process as a platform for all relevant stakeholders including business and local governments to discuss and share views on national development strategy, addressing social and economic aspects as well as climate. It was argued that the long-term impacts of short-term actions (stepping stones towards the goal), the lock-in effect, need to be carefully evaluated when designing NDCs and policy tools among which carbon-pricing and renewable energy were mentioned.

There were various views among the participants on the process of developing the strategy and its contents. Several researchers referred to the importance of carbon budget, and many pointed out the need to develop and communicate the strategy based on fairness and equity. Many researchers argued that a bottom-up process is key to developing the strategy while several emphasised the importance of combining it with a top-down approach. Every participant re-affirmed the importance of international collaboration, and argued particularly that cooperation among researchers is vital to close the gap between global scientific findings and national political reality, as well as to develop national growth strategy with ownership in line with the Paris Agreement.

Session 2: Enhanced Transparency Framework

The panelists expressed different understandings regarding the purpose of Article 13. On the one hand, some panelists argued that the objective of the transparency framework is to enhance comparability among Parties and hence to generate peer pressure and increase Parties’ ambitions towards the 2℃ goal. On the other hand, other panelists debated that the transparency framework is to review whether Parties report consistent information and whether they are on track towards the implementation of their NDCs and therefore comparability among Parties is not one of the main purposes of Article 13. The panelists also elaborated their views with regard to various related concepts, including the difference between accuracy and transparency, the difference between GHG accounting and NDC progress, and the difference between the transparency of NDC itself and the transparency of NDC progress.

The panelists also discussed the options for taking into account Parties’ capacities and providing flexibility under the transparency framework. These options include a convergence approach with two tracking systems, a tiered approach based on Parties’ self-determination of tiers, and a commitment approach based on the types of individual NDC targets. The panelists expressed their preferences for various options, with one demonstrating the preference for the convergence approach and the other for the commitment approach.

However, all panelists recognised the importance of capacity building and agreed that the transparency framework should be built on existing arrangements and experiences under the Convention. With regards to the link with the global stocktake, one panelist highlighted that the global stocktake will examine collective efforts of Parties, and the transparency framework covering the global stocktake, should enable us to understand not only where we are, but also what we are lacking and where we should go. Several panelists called for a simplified methodology for GHG accounting and national inventory.

Session 3: The Global Stocktake

Panelists agreed that the global stocktake should be a comprehensive process, covering both mitigation and adaptation, as well as support. They agreed that the output of the global stocktake will be used to inform the formation of next NDCs. One panelist described the global stocktake as a kind of soft compliance system, which is important to increase the probability of achieving the target. Several panelists pointed out that the global stocktake can be an opportunity to share best practices and to incentivise ambitious actions by Parties. Others pointed out that it should not only identify the gap but go a step further by identifying how to fill the gap.

Regarding information sources, a panelist pointed out the importance of looking into emissions, emission reduction speed, cumulative emissions, and remaining emissions. In addition to national data, scientific inputs were mentioned as important. Panelists did not have an answer to how various information should be aggregated. A sectoral approach was pointed out as a way to involve the private sector. Although it was agreed that involving the private sector was crucial, a panelist mentioned that direct involvement into the global stocktake process may complicate the discussion, as business is at the national level. He also emphasised the importance of Parties agreeing to submit sectoral data. Another panelist argued that this sector may be cross-national, and that a participatory process is essential for the global stocktake to be acceptable to various stakeholders.

A participant pointed out the importance of incentivising the private sector as 80% of climate finance comes from private finance. Although agreeing on the importance, others also emphasised the importance of public finance as this is a commitment by the developed country Parties, leading to trust and confidence building among developing countries, as well as being able to leverage private finance.

Closing Session

Many researchers argued and reaffirmed the importance of stretching out interaction and scaling up collaboration among researchers to synthesise the existing scientific findings. In addition, as a future scenario building and modelling exercise, the importance of adding social and economic aspects were emphasised. Another key area would be linkage to sustainable development. Some researchers pointed out that making a common template for these scenarios would be beneficial, but others shared their concern that this would further complicate the already complex results, having many parameters. In this regard, it was proposed that another role of researchers is to highlight the particularly important parameters for countries to make the transition in line with the Paris Agreement while putting enough attention on the economic and social aspects.


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