According to a new report from Renmin University, in 2005–09 there were significant differences between China’s statistical data for provincial energy use when aggregated using local government data versus when calculated by a province as a whole. This gap between bottom-up and top-down statistics is also evident at the national versus provincial level.

2011 GDP growth rate: goals claimed by individual provinces are significantly larger than national target of 8%

It’s a well-known fact that the mismatch between national statistics and aggregated provincial data is an ongoing challenge in China. Reports indicate that in recent years, estimates for national energy consumption using aggregated provincial data have been up to 15 percent higher than the national total figure.

And it’s not just energy data that faces accountability issues. The aggregate of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics reported by local governments, for instance, is often larger than the overall national figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In 2004, the aggregate provincial GDP surpassed the national figure by almost 20 percent. After that, the gap shrank significantly but increased again in the past five years. The 2010 national and provincial GDP data still show an 8 percent gap.

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cap and trade, capacity building, China, energy consumption, energy efficiency, energy intensity, GDP, GHG inventory, statistics

The Power Aware Cord: Visualizing Your Energy Usage

International climate and energy policies, including the EU’s 20-20-20 agenda, often contain three key elements: reducing carbon dioxide emissions, investing in renewable energy sources, and improving energy efficiency. But while some progress has been achieved in the first two categories, efforts to improve efficiency have fallen far short. Why?

In theory, energy efficiency is one of the few issues that politicians and policymakers from both sides of the spectrum can agree on: it creates jobs, it saves money, and it is common sense. The Huffington Post recently called efficiency the “gateway drug” of energy policy.

At a panel discussion hosted by Johns Hopkins University and co-sponsored by France, Germany, the U.K., and the EU delegation to the United States, participants agreed that energy efficiency has not been widely embraced as an effective tool to save energy and reduce emissions. This stands in contrast to the wide-ranging public support for renewable energy, especially in Europe. The lack of enthusiasm to improve efficiency may well be the single largest obstacle to reducing energy waste in the long term.

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building efficiency, emissions reductions, energy consumption, energy efficiency, energy policy, Europe, GHG emissions, greenhouse gas pollution, renewable energy

By Haibing Ma and Jiajing Bi

China used to be the "Kingdom of Bicycles"

China’s transportation sector is undergoing a revolution. As the average wealth of Chinese citizens improves, the country formerly known as the “kingdom of bicycles” is experiencing a swell of motorization. In 2009, China surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest auto producer and market.

At the end of 2009, China was home to 170 million vehicles. Projections indicate that the country could add as many as 220 million new vehicles to its market between now and 2020. Already, the transportation sector accounts for about a fifth of China’s total energy consumption.  

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alterntive fuel vehicles, China, electric car, emission reduction, energy consumption, green economy, green jobs, green transportation, high speed rail, hybird car, metro, subway, urban rail

In 2007, the European Union (EU) adopted its integrated approach to climate and energy policy. By 2020, the region aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent below 1990 levels, to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources, and to improve energy efficiency by 20 percent. While the EU is on track to meet or exceed its goals in the first two categories, it is set to miss its energy efficiency target and is poised to reduce its energy consumption by only 9 percent.

Maybe they should try more double paned windows

Under current EU rules, energy efficiency is the only energy and climate target that is not legally binding. Despite the forecasted shortfall, two weeks ago Europe’s heads of state shied away from taking decisive action on energy efficiency and announced a review of the region’s energy savings plan in 2013 at the earliest. European leaders said they did not want to place additional constraints on their economic policy during a period of economic crisis.

What explains the difference in success rates among the EU targets? Critics contend that the lack of enforceability is to blame for the region’s shortcomings in energy efficiency. A closer look at the EU’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, however, reveals that binding targets alone may not be sufficient to reach energy-efficiency goals.

2020, carbon footprint, energy consumption, energy efficiency, European Union, Germany, GHG emissions, Kyoto Protocol, renewable energy, United Kingdom