Publications

Export 38 results:
Sort by: Author Title Type [ Year  (Desc)]
2017
He, G, Zhang H, Xu Y, Lu X.  2017.  China’s clean power transition: Current status and future prospect. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 121:3-10. AbstractWebsite

In this paper, we reviewed four key themes in the study of clean power transition in China, the resources potential, the technology advancement, the air pollution control, and the policy and reform of the power sector. In each theme, we summarized the ongoing research development and highlighted some key areas for further study. Given that China’s power sector transition is a huge task, we hope this review will add some discussions into the ongoing conversation.

He, G, Victor DG.  2017.  Experiences and lessons from China's success in providing electricity for all. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 122:335-338. AbstractWebsite

In 2015 China provided access to electricity to its entire population—the first of the large emerging and developing countries to achieve that landmark goal that most advanced industrialized countries met decades earlier. We found some key experiences and lessons to be learned from China’s successful program to provide electricity for all. Substantial funding from the central government, delivered by mechanisms sensitive to local provincial needs, were essential to success. Also vital was use of off-grid solar home systems for the most remote users for whom grid connection would be quite costly.

Hu, J, Huang L, Chen M, He G, Zhang H.  2017.  Impacts of power generation on air quality in China—Part II: Future scenarios. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 121:115–127. AbstractWebsite

Power generation is an important source of air pollution in China since it is mostly from coal-fired power plants. Future power generation plans are needed to meet both increasing power needs and air quality improvement. In this study, five future power development scenarios in 2030 were considered. The REF scenario is the base case in which the growth was assumed to follow the existing projection (business as usual). The CAP scenario represents power sector in the trajectory to achieve 80% reduction by 2050 as proposed by IPCC, the LOW scenario reflects low cost of renewable to foster wind and solar development, the PEAK scenario allows China to peak its carbon emission by 2030, while the WEST scenario assumes that the coal power bases build all planned capacity by 2030 and no coal power in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai by 2030. Then, impacts of the scenarios on air quality were simulated with the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model in January and August 2030 with unchanged emissions from other sectors and the same meteorology in 2013. The results indicate that air quality gets worse in the REF scenario in both months compared to 2013. The CAP and WEST scenarios generally have larger impacts on pollutant concentrations than the LOW and PEAK scenarios. The four scenarios improve PM2.5 total mass and SO42− in North China, with maximum decreases of over 100 μg m−3 in January and over 10 μg m−3 in August in the Hohhot area. However, PM2.5 total mass and SO42− pollution are worsened in Shandong for CAP and WEST scenarios and in Chongqing for LOW and PEAK scenarios. NO3− and O3 get worsened in the four scenarios in large areas of the North China Plain (NCP), East and South China due to more NH3 available for NO3− formation associated with reduction in SO42− and aerosol radiative effects on UV radiation for O3 formation. Power development plans greatly affect air quality in Beijing, with decrease in PM2.5 and PM10, but increase in O3. Reducing NOx and SO2 combined with NH3 should be considered to reduce contribution of power generation to future air pollution in China.

Zhang, N, Hu Z, Shen B, He G, Zheng Y.  2017.  An integrated source-grid-load planning model at the macro level: Case study for China's power sector. Energy. 126:231-246. AbstractWebsite

The increasingly serious renewable generation curtailment in many countries reflects the drawbacks of current planning approach, which separates power source planning and grid expansion planning. In addition, resources in demand side should no longer be ignored in power planning with gradually mature policies related to energy efficiency and demand response. To fill this gap, this paper proposes a novel power system planning approach and builds an integrated source-grid-load planning model at the macro level. The model considers all the available elements in source side, grid side and load side together to find an optimal development solution from the perspective of the whole power system. The effectiveness and superiority of this model is verified through the comparison among separated source-grid planning, integrated source-grid planning and integrated source-grid-load planning in the case study. Then, an optimum development path for China's power sector till 2030 worked out by the model proposed in this paper is presented. Based on the in-depth analysis of the planning results, policy recommendations are also provided.

2016
Price, LK, Zhou N, Fridley D, Ohshita S, Khanna N, Lu H, Hong L, He G, Romankiewicz J, Min H.  2016.  Low-Carbon City Policy Databook, 2016. , Berkeley: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Abstract

This report is designed to help city authorities evaluate and prioritize more than 70 different policy strategies that can reduce their city's energy use and carbon-based greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Local government officials, researchers, and planners can utilize the report to identify policies most relevant to local circumstances and to develop a low carbon city action plan that can be implemented in phases, over a multi-year timeframe. The policies cover nine city sectors: industry, public and commercial buildings, residential buildings, transportation, power and heat, street lighting, water, wastewater, solid waste, and urban green space. Recognizing the prominence of urban industry in the energy and carbon inventories of Chinese cities, this report includes low carbon city policies for the industrial sector. The policies gathered here have proven effective in multiple locations around the world and have the potential to achieve future energy and carbon savings in Chinese cities.

Lin, J, He G, Yuan A.  2016.  Economic rebalancing and electricity demand in China. The Electricity Journal. 29(3):48-54. AbstractWebsite

As China undertakes a transition to a more consumption- and service-oriented economy, electricity consumption in the richest provinces has been plateauing. Though projections for electricity use in 2030 range widely from 5308 to 8292 kWh per capita, most results suggest that policymakers and power system planners need seriously re-evaluate the need for new generation capacity to avoid over investment that could lead to stranded generation assets.

He, G, Avrin A-P, Nelson JH, Johnston J, Mileva A, Tian J, Kammen DM.  2016.  SWITCH-China: A Systems Approach to Decarbonizing China’s Power System. Environmental Science and Technology. 50(11):5467–5473. AbstractWebsite

We present an integrated model, SWITCH-China, of the Chinese power sector which we use to analyze the economic and technological implications of a medium to long-term decarbonization scenario while accounting for very short-term renewable variability. Based on the model and assumptions used, we find that the announced 2030 carbon peak can be achieved with a carbon price of ~$40/tCO2. Current trends in renewable energy price reductions alone are insufficient to replace coal, however, an 80% carbon emission reduction by 2050 is achievable in the IPCC Target Scenario with an optimal electricity mix in 2050 including nuclear (14%), wind (23%), solar (27%), hydro (6%), gas (1%), coal (3%), CCS coal (26%). The co-benefits of carbon-price strategy would offset 22% to 42% of the increased electricity costs if the true cost of coal and social cost of carbon are incorporated. In such a scenario, aggressive attention to research and both technological and financial innovation mechanisms are crucial to enabling the transition at a reasonable cost, along with strong carbon policies.

He, G, Kammen DM.  2016.  Where, when and how much solar is available? A provincial-scale solar resource assessment for China Renewable Energy. 85:74-82. AbstractWebsite

Integrating variable energy resources, notably solar and wind, requires better understanding of where, when and how much of variable resources are available. China’s ambitious solar energy development goal will be greatly facilitated by the resources assessment at higher spatial and temporal resolution. We utilized 10-year hourly solar irradiation data from 2001 to 2010 from 200 representative locations to develop provincial solar availability profiles. We found that China has a potential stationary solar capacity from 4700 GW to 39300 GW, distributed solar about 200 GW, and the annual solar output could reach 6900 TWh to 70100 TWh. Resources are most concentrated in northwest provinces, topped by Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Gansu. The challenge of solar development in China is integration rather than resources. The spatial and temporal variation of the solar resource show an efficient, robust, and inter-connected national grid and sound energy planning would be necessary to facilitate the integration of these vastly available but variable solar resources.

2015
Zhou, N, He G, Williams C, Fridley D.  2015.  ELITE cities: A low-carbon eco-city evaluation tool for China, 2015. Ecological Indicators. 48:448-456. AbstractWebsite

China is pursuing the development of low-carbon eco-cities to limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emissions; however, it is unclear what constitutes a low-carbon eco-city and how to evaluate it. The eco and low-carbon indicator tool for evaluating cities (ELITE cities) was developed by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2012 to evaluate cities’ performance by comparing them against benchmark performance goals as well as rank them against other cities in China. ELITE cities measures progress on 33 key indicators selected to represent priority issues within eight primary categories. An excel-based tool was then developed to package the key indicators, indicator benchmarks, explanation of indicators, point calculation functions and transparency-oriented data recording instructions. ELITE cities could be a useful and effective tool for local city government in defining the broad outlines of a low-carbon eco-city and assessing the progress of cities’ efforts towards this goal. ELITE cities can also be used by higher-level governments to assess city performance and discern best practices. This paper explains the general framework of the ELITE cities tool, the methods by which the indicators and indicator benchmarks were established, and a detailed guide on tool applications.

Karali, N, Marnay C, Yan T, He G, Yinger R, Mauzey J, Clampitt K, Zhu H.  2015.  Towards uniform benefit-cost analysis for smart grid projects: an example using the Smart Grid Computational Tool, 12/07. :29., Berkeley: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Abstract

Smart grid technology is being rolled out around the world, with the United States nearing completion of a particularly significant 4 plus billion-dollar Federal program funded under the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act (2009). Under the Climate Change Working Group Implementation Plan, Smart Grid activity comparative analyses are being conducted of benefits estimation methods with example applications to 4 case study smart grid projects, 2 in each country. In this first study, three of eight Southern California Edison's Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration Project sub-project benefits have been analysed over the period 2010-2035. The analysis uses the Smart Grid Computational Tool (SGCT) developed by Navigant Consulting Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy based on Electric Power Research Institute methods. Results show significant benefits potential for technologies such as distribution voltage and VAR control and utility-scale batteries, while a 22-residence zero net energy home demonstration inspired by California's 2020 residential energy efficiency standard falls far short of economic breakeven at the current stage of costs and technology performance. The experience gathered indicates the SGCT being intended for widespread U.S. smart grid evaluation use is necessarily simple, and consequently has limited applicability for international applications or comparisons.

He, G, Lin J, Yuan A.  2015.  Economic Rebalancing and Electricity Demand in China, 11/10. :14., Berkeley: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Abstract

Understanding the relationship between economic growth and electricity use is essential for power systems planning. This need is particularly acute now in China, as the Chinese economy is going through a transition to a more consumption and service oriented economy. This study uses 20 years of provincial data on gross domestic product (GDP) and electricity consumption to examine the relationship between these two factors. We observe a plateauing effect of electricity consumption in the richest provinces, as the electricity demand saturates and the economy develops and moves to a more service-based economy. There is a wide range of forecasts for electricity use in 2030, ranging from 5,308 to 8,292 kWh per capita, using different estimating functions, as well as in existing studies. It is therefore critical to examine more carefully the relationship between electricity use and economic development, as China transitions to a new growth phase that is likely to be less energy and resource intensive. The results of this study suggest that policymakers and power system planners in China should seriously re-evaluate power demand projections and the need for new generation capacity to avoid over-investment that could lead to stranded generation assets.

Zhou, N, He G, Romankiewicz J, Fridley D, Fino-Chen C.  2015.  A Review of Commercially Available Technologies for Developing Low-­Carbon Eco-­cities, 05/23. :100., Berkeley: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Abstract

The China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has developed a comprehensive solution package for city policy makers, including guidelines, policies, indicator systems, and tools to facilitate low-carbon eco-city development in China and beyond. LBNL’s Eco and Low-carbon Indicator Tool for Evaluating Cities (ELITE Cities) assesses cities’ strengths and weaknesses in eight categories that are key to low-carbon eco-city performance. ELITE Cities allows policy makers to compare their cities’ performance to international or domestic best practices, benchmark values, or key performance indicators (KPIs). This guide is designed to assist policy makers in acting on ELITE Cities assessment results by providing descriptions of technologies available to improve low-carbon performance, including the cost and emissions-reduction potential of each. Our overall purpose is to respond to growing demand for information on technologies that policy makers can use to improve city energy performance and reduce carbon emissions.

Avrin, A-P, He G, Kammen DM.  2015.  Assessing the impacts of nuclear desalination and geoengineering to address China's water shortages. Desalination. 360:1-7. AbstractWebsite

Critical assessment of mega-projects is emerging as a much-needed discipline in an era when, in many places, resource demands exceed environmental capacity. This techno-economic study, using the Desalination Economic Evaluation Program developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, shows that by 2030, China will have the capacity to produce 23.1 billion m3 of water annually, at $0.86/m3, as a co-product of electricity generation through nuclear power, provided that the country favors desalination over water diversion. We calculate that the resulting water production and supply chain needed to eradicate absolute scarcity for 0.16 billion people will cost between $0.99/m3 and $1.79/m3, and we prove that this will be affordable, even for the poorest inhabitants. We then compare both coal and nuclear desalination with the currently planned South–North Water Transfer Mega-Project and show that, while the short-run cost of water diversion is lower, critical vulnerabilities and future resource demands favor nuclear desalination.

Ohshita, S, Zhou N, Price L, Fridley D, Khanna N, Hong L, Lu H, Fino-Chen C, He G.  2015.  Low Carbon Development for Cities: Methods and Measures. Handbook of Clean Energy Systems. :1–23.: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd Abstract

Cities consume more than 60% of global energy and that share is rising with the rapid rate of urbanization. With cities playing a crucial role in sustainable energy and climate systems, this article examines emerging efforts by cities around the world to shift to a development pattern with less energy and less carbon. We review metrics that define a low carbon city and present key steps in low carbon development. We examine city-level inventory methods and target setting. Much of the article is devoted to examples of policy measures that cities are pursuing to save energy and carbon, from net-zero buildings and 20-min neighborhoods to distributed and renewable urban energy supply.

Ohshita, S, Khanna N, He G, Hong L, Fridley D, Zhou Y.  2015.  Urban form as a “first fuel” for low-carbon mobility in Chinese cities: Strategies for energy and carbon saving in the transport sector. ECEEE 2015 Summer Study on energy efficiency. Abstract

From a systems perspective, the energy needed for urban mobility is fundamentally influenced by the design of a city, its urban form—the spatial layout, transport infrastructure, and social functions of a city. Thus urban form becomes a "first fuel" for mobility. This research examines the characteristics of urban form and other factors that encourage energy efficient and low-carbon mobility in Chinese cities. The analysis utilizes indicator systems and benchmarking in three tools (BEST Cities, ELITE Cities, and Urban RAM) to characterize and compare urban form and mobility across Chinese and international cities. The tools BEST and ELITE characterize operational energy and carbon, while Urban RAM takes a life-cycle perspective, giving attention to embodied energy in transport and other urban sectors. We highlight policies and infrastructure choices that are yielding results around the world and examine their applicability in Chinese cities, from integrated land-use and transportation planning and urban villages, to public transit investments and vehicle license restrictions. Throughout the paper, we use the city of Jinan in Shandong province, P.R. China, as a case study.

2014
He, G, Morse R.  2014.  China's Coal Import Behavior and Its Impacts to Global Energy Market, 2014. Globalization, Development and Security in Asia. 3:69-85., Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Abstract

China, the world biggest coal producer and consumer, imported 234 million ton (Mt) of coal in 2012. China has long been a net coal exporter. However, the global coal market witnessed one of the most dramatic realignments it has ever seen since 2009. This inversion of China's role in global coal markets meant that Chinese imports accounted for nearly 30% of all globally traded coal, and China became the focal point of global demand as traditional import markets like Europe and Japan stagnated in the wake of the financial crisis. The middle kingdom's appetite for imported coal seems insatiable, and the "China Factor" appears to have ushered in a new paradigm for the global coal market. In this paper we devise a model that explains Chinese coal import patterns and that can allow the coal market to understand, and to some degree predict, China's coal import behavior. They argue that the unique structure of the Chinese coal market creates a series of key arbitrage relationships between Chinese domestic coal markets and international coal markets that determine Chinese import patterns. The implications of this argument are significant for the development of the global coal trade in the coming decade. The arbitrage relationships directly link the domestic price of coal in China to the global price of coal. Developments in China's domestic coal market will be a dominant factor determining global coal prices and trade flows (and by implication power prices in many regions). This makes understanding the domestic Chinese coal market, which operates according to a unique economic and political logic, crucial for any participant in the global markets, economic incentives and constrains will have better chance to be implemented successfully.

He, G.  2014.  Engaging Emerging Countries: Implications of China’s Major Shifts in Climate Policy. Governments’ Responses to Climate Change: Selected Examples From Asia Pacific. :11–24., Singapore: Springer Abstract

Engaging developing countries, especially emerging counties such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, is a central challenge for international climate policy. While the world is still debating the outcome of international climate negotiations, China has been quietly developing its leadership in clean energy and moving towards a low-carbon economy and society. By end 2009, for instance, China had become the world’s leading new wind installer, solar exporter and new nuclear capacity constructor, in total, as well as the world’s top investor in clean energy, while at the same time becoming the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter. China’s move towards a low-carbon economy will have big implications on global energy and climate policy. China’s transition typifies a unique opportunity for developed economies to engage emerging economies in the global climate efforts.

He, G, Zhou N, Hong L, Fridley D, Zhou Y.  2014.  Is Your City Really Sustainable? A Tale of Jinan City Using Quantitative Low- Carbon Eco-city Tools 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings,. :119-130., Pacific Grove, CA Abstract

Low-carbon eco-city development is one of the key approaches taken by the Chinese government to achieve its international commitment of reducing carbon intensity by 40% to 45% by 2020, as well as other national targets. Cities have planned and implemented various measures to fulfill these goals; however, most of the plans lacked explicit targets, metrics, and implementation mechanisms, and strategies undertaken are often too vague and piecemeal, therefore hindering their effectiveness. To fill these gaps and significantly accelerate the speed of developing low-carbon and eco-city plans, and to facilitate selection and implementation of sound policy apparatus at a large scale, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed multiple tools based on both international and Chinese best practices. This paper introduces the application of two of the tools in Jinan, China. The Benchmarking and Energy Saving Tool for Low Carbon Cities (BEST Cities) focuses on energy savings and carbon emissions reduction potential and strategies. The Eco and Low-carbon Indicator Tool for Evaluating Cities (ELITE Cities) has a broader scope that includes air, water, and land use. These tools help cities benchmark and evaluate performance, track progress, and provide practical and scientific prescriptions. This paper sheds light on understanding where a city falls on the path to sustainability, quantifies the city's sectoral energy-and carbon-saving potentials, and reveals challenges and barriers a city may have in implementing the tools and policies. The prioritized policy recommendations made are based on the carbon savings impact, the city's capacity to act, and the government's program costs.

He, G, Kammen DM.  2014.  Where, when and how much wind is available? A provincial-scale wind resource assessment for China Energy Policy. 74:116-122. AbstractWebsite

China’s wind installed capacity has grown at a remarkable rate, over 80 percent annually average growth since 2005, reaching 91.5 GW of capacity by end of 2013, accounting for over 27 percent of global capacity. This rapid growth has been the result of a domestic manufacturing base and favorable national policies. Further evolution will be greatly aided with a detailed wind resource assessment that incorporates spatial and temporal variability across China. We utilized 200 representative locations for which 10 years of hourly wind speed data exist to develop provincial capacity factors from 2001 to 2010, and to build analytic wind speed profiles. From these data and analysis we find that China’s annual wind generation could reach 2,000 TWh to 3,500 TWh. Nationally this would correspond to an average capacity factor of 0.18. The diurnal and seasonal variation shows spring and winter has better wind resources than in the summer and fall. A highly interconnected and coordinated power system is needed to effectively exploit this large but variable resource. A full economic assessment of exploitable wind resources demands a larger, systems-level analysis of China's energy options, for which this work is a core requirement.

2013
He, G, Morse R.  2013.  Addressing carbon Offsetters’ Paradox: Lessons from Chinese wind CDM. Energy Policy. 63:1051–1055.: Elsevier AbstractWebsite

The clean development mechanism (CDM) has been a leading international carbon market and a driving force for sustainable development. But the eruption of controversy over offsets from Chinese wind power in 2009 exposed cracks at the core of how carbon credits are verified in the developing economies. The Chinese wind controversy therefore has direct implications for the design and negotiation of any successor to the Kyoto Protocol or future market-based carbon regimes. In order for carbon markets to avoid controversy and function effectively, the lessons from the Chinese wind controversy should be used to implement key reforms in current and future carbon policy design. The paper examines the application of additionality in the Chinese wind power market and draws implications for the design of effective global carbon offset policy. It demonstrates the causes of the wind power controversy, highlights underlying structural flaws, in how additionality is applied in China, the Offsetters' Paradox, and charts a reform path that can strengthen the credibility of global carbon markets.

He, G, Zhou N, Williams C, Fridley D.  2013.  ELITE Cities: A low-carbon eco-city evaluation tool for China. ECEEE 2013 Summer Study. :13.: ECEEE Abstract

China is pursuing the development of Low-carbon Eco-cities with the intent of providing urbanites with a clean environment, a growing economy, and a society that promotes harmonious citizen interactions, while simultaneously limiting carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions. However, it is unclear what makes a low carbon eco-city and how to evaluate it. The Eco and Low-carbon Indicator Tool for Evaluating Cities (ELITE Cities) was developed by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in 2012 to evaluate cities’ performance by comparing them against benchmark performance goals as well as rank against other cities in China. ELITE Cities measures progress on 33 key indicators selected to represent priority issues within 8 primary categories. These indicators were chosen based on international commonality and SMART criteria in an extensive review of 16 international indicator systems and 11 domestic Chinese city indicator systems, considering their utility in evaluating both individual cities’ progress and applicable to issues faced by all Chinese cities. An excel based tool is then developed to package the key indicators, indicator benchmarks, explanation of indicators, point calculation functions and transparency-oriented data recording instructions. The two primary goals of this tool are to minimize data input requirements to allow for easy self-evaluation by city leaders and policy makers based on benchmarked performance levels, and to present the results of the analysis in a simple format that transparently shows the basis for any city’s final score. To minimize problems associated with the use of new software, the tool was developed as a simple Excel macro-enabled workbook featuring a navigation bar, data input sheets, and results outputs in the form of tables and graphs, and a database of underlying parameters and assumptions. ELITE Cities could be a useful and effective tool for local city government in defining the broad outlines of a low carbon eco-city and assessing the progress of cities’ efforts towards this goal. ELITE Cities can also be used by higher-level governments to assess city performance and discern best practices. This paper explains the general framework of the ELITE Cities tool, the methods by which the indicators and indicator benchmarks were established, and a detailed how-to guide on tool use.

Yang, P, He G, Mao G, Liu Y, Xu M, Guo H, Liu X.  2013.  Sustainability needs and practices assessment in the building industry of China. Energy Policy. 57:212–220.: Elsevier AbstractWebsite

The building industry in China has huge potential capacity for energy/resources conservation and pollutants reduction to achieve sustainable development. However, stakeholders are hardly able to reach a consensus on preferential needs and effective solutions, which was a difficulty faced by policy makers. To better identify the common interests on sustainable development in this field, the Sustainability Solutions Navigator (SSN) was adopted in China for the first time to assess the sustainability needs and practices. Based on the participation of stakeholders from the government, businesses, academia, and nongovernment organizations, prioritized needs and practices were identified using SSN, and gap analyses were conducted for comparison to global benchmarks. According to the results, the top needs were mainly focused on improving government efficiency and implementation, maintaining healthy indoor environments and obtaining adequate funds; priority practices were mainly focused on governmental action, renewable energy development and pollutant source reduction. The gap analysis indicated that the government efficiency and performance had the largest gap to the benchmark. By using a simple interactive tool to bring different stakeholders into policy making process, this study produces all-around information for decision makers. The results imply that the sustainability of the building industry in China has a much better expectation than governmental performance.

2012
Zhou, N, He G, Williams C.  2012.  China’s Development of Low-Carbon Eco-Cities and Associated Indicator Systems. : LBNL Abstract

China's urban population surpassed its rural population historically in 2011, when the number ofChinese living in towns and cities reached about 690 million. In the years to come, cities in China will face major challenges as their rapidly increasing populations burden already crowded infrastructure systems and exacerbate environmental and climate change issues, threatening public health and quality of life. Low-carbon cities may be key to addressing those challenges, especially as regards mitigating and adapting to climate change. Government entities at both the central and local level have moved aggressively on building low-carbon eco-cities. According to statistics reported by the Chinese Society for Urban Studies, by February of 2011, China will have 230 cities at the prefecture-and-above level that have proposed to establish themselves as "eco-cities," accounting for 80.1% of the 287 such cities nationally. Of those 230 cities, 133, or 46.3%, have established targets to develop specifically as "low carbon cities" (Chinese Society for Urban Studies 2011). Given the proposed scale of the effort, China's potential success or failure in demonstrating and implementing low-carbon eco-cities could greatly affect how the world addresses both the climate change impacts of urbanization and the sustainable development of cities. Despite the multiple guidelines that have been developed, it remains unclear what defines a low-carbon eco-city. Additionally, although more than 100 indicators have been used or proposed for assessing such cities, few relate directly to energy use or carbon emissions. Nonetheless, policy makers and leaders continue to demand comprehensive toolboxes to facilitate development of low-carbon eco-cities. This paper presents the results of an extensive literature review of the development of low-carbon eco-cities in China. The paper also qualitatively and quantitatively analyzes 11 major indicator systems that researchers, planners, governments, and city managers in China have used to identify low-carbon eco-cities.Finally, the paper gives recommendations for future development, research, and policy design to support low-carbon eco-cities in China and the world.

Williams, C, Zhou N, He G, Levine M.  2012.  Measuring in All the Right Places: Themes in International Municipal Eco-City Index Systems. ACEEE 2012 Summer Study. : LBNL Abstract

Over the past 100 years, urban planners have been promoting a variety of new urban forms, called inter alia Sustainable, Green, Low Carbon, Livable, and Eco-cities, to improve the quality of life of citizens and the local and global environment. Numerous indicator systems have been developed to evaluate the implementation of these theories. The popularity of indicator systems is increasing as local and global constituents give greater attention to mitigating and adapting to climate change, environmental damage and resource constraints. However, no two systems are alike. Each system differentially includes, categorizes and prioritizes indicators, making it difficult to define an eco-city and evaluate the status and progress of developments. This paper evaluates the structures and component indicators of 16 international municipal-level sustainable, green and eco-city indicator systems from the last several years. While there is some consensus regarding the most important elements in determining city sustainability, there is little agreement on the method by which indicators are chosen, the weights assigned to indicators, and the best indicators themselves. Key conceptual frameworks and indicator categories are isolated and evaluated for common elements and the results are compared to other studies. The analysis of best-practices suggests that a set of standardized core indicators need to be developed first, and then enhanced with locally-relevant indicators. Ranking could be postponed until empirical data establishes causal connections between indicators and outcomes. The findings from this study will be used to further develop a low-carbon eco-city indicator system for China.

2010
He, G, Morse RK.  2010.  Making Carbon Offsets Work in the Developing World: Lessons from the Chinese Wind Controversy. PESD Working Paper. : Stanford University Abstract

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is the leading international carbon market and a driving force for sustainable development globally. But the eruption of controversy over offsets from Chinese wind power has exposed cracks at the core of how carbon credits are verified in developing economies. It has become almost impossible to determine whether offsets from Chinese wind are "additional" and that they in fact represent "real" reductions beyond business as usual. Unless this problem can be resolved, it threatens to spread beyond wind in China and could threaten the ability of carbon markets to deliver the mitigation demanded by international climate policy.In 2009 the CDM Executive Board (EB) shocked the carbon market by forcing an unprecedented review of whether multiple Chinese wind projects satisfied UNFCCC additionality requirements. CDM investors reeled as the safest CDM bet became the riskiest; the Chinese government publicly criticized the UN's oversight of carbon markets; and the CDM EB prepared itself for an unprecedented fight over how carbon offsets could be verified in the world's largest CDM market.When the EB observed decreases over time in power tariffs granted by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to wind projects, it became concerned that China might be manipulating power tariffs in order to guarantee additionality and subsidize its domestic wind development with international finance. If the Chinese government were controlling additionality, then the CDM's ability to validate carbon offsets would be dealt a near‐lethal blow because the problems posed by Chinese wind extend to nearly all power sector projects in almost every developing country. If offsets cannot be credibly verified, then the integrity of emissions caps set by the Kyoto Protocol is directly threatened.The Chinese wind controversy therefore has direct implications for the design and negotiation of any successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Despite largely failed negotiations in Copenhagen, the design of reliable, efficient carbon markets remains the world's most serious prospect for international cooperation. The developed world has committed USD 30 billion in climate aid by 2012, but the majority of these funds will likely have to be private capital delivered through markets. In order for carbon markets to avoid controversy and function effectively, the lessons from the Chinese wind controversy must be used to implement key reforms.This report examines the application of additionality in the Chinese wind power market and draws implications for the design of effective global carbon offset policy. It demonstrates the causes of the wind power controversy, highlights underlying structural flaws in how additionality is applied in China, and charts a reform path that can strengthen the credibility of global carbon markets.