China's Secure, Low Carbon Pathway

China's Transition to a Clean Energy Future

Climate change, energy security, and economic development are key issues facing governments today. The political reality of many of the world’s major economies is that emissions reduction cannot come at the undue expense of energy security and economic growth. The key to global action is to identify policy and technology solutions that reduce emissions while maintaining energy security, economic growth, and development.  Understanding these potential low carbon development pathways in China is of vital importance for policymakers who are concerned about emissions reduction pathways and the role of major emerging developing countries.

To that end, CSIS undertook a comprehensive project to understand the potential pathways for China. The project looked at Chinese actions to meet its current climate and energy objectives; identifying what plausible scenarios for the transition to a secure low carbon pathway might look like; and analysis of the economic, environmental, and security implications of this transition, both for China and the international community. 

The final report, China—Leader or Laggard on the Path to a Secure, Low-Carbon Energy Future?, offers an in-depth look at specific sectors of the Chinese energy economy and seeks to clarify key aspects of China’s efforts to pursue a secure, low-carbon pathway and the challenges the government faces.

The project also commissioned a technical paper, "Potential Secure, Low Carbon Growth Pathways for the Chinese Economy", by Jiang Kejun of the Energy Research Institute in Beijing, which highlights three possible pathways forward for China, focusing on the structural economic transition, technology developments, and aggressive policies necessary to support them.

This follows a much larger CSIS project focused on Asian regionalism, of which climate change and energy play a large part (see Asia's Response to Climate Change and Natural Disasters: Implications for an Evolving Regional Architecture).