The United States and China are the two leading emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. The individual approaches and results achieved in both the U.S. and China, including the success or failure of efforts at meaningful collaboration between the two countries will have a major impact on the global picture. China has decided to establish trial cap-and-trade systems in seven localities with a view to rolling out a nationwide system in 2016. The United States has also experimented with various approaches locally and nationally to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
On December 14, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings hosted Qi Ye of the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) and Tsinghua University for the launch of CPI’s third Annual Review of Low-Carbon Development in China. Professor Qi, who is known throughout China as a leading expert on local level compliance and reporting on national environmental policy, discussed China’s past experience with facilitating low-carbon development and its future prospects, with a focus on China’s planned cap-and-trade system. He was joined by Brookings Managing Director William Antholis, a former White House climate change official, who discussed national and local action on climate change in the United States, and reflected on his own travels across China and India earlier this year. Brookings Senior Fellow Kenneth Lieberthal, who leads Brookings’s yearly U.S.-China Clean Energy Conference, moderated the discussion.