China to establish climate change think tank

Updated: 2011-11-22 09:13

By Du Juan (China Daily)

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Center will be operational before UN conference in South Africa

BEIJING - China will establish its first national-level think tank on climate change issues, to focus on strategic research and international cooperation, said a senior government official.


China to establish climate change think tank

A worker recently sets up a wind/solar hybrid streetlight in Xiangcheng county, Henan province. China will establish its first national-level think tank on climate change issues, the National Strategic Research and International Cooperation Center for Climate Change, before the end of this month. [Photo / China Daily]

The new think tank will be established before the United Nations' Durban Climate Change Conference, which is scheduled for November 28, said Li Junfeng, deputy director of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), on Monday.

Under the working title of the National Strategic Research and International Cooperation Center for Climate Change, the think tank will be affiliated with the NDRC, Li said.

He said the center will employ the country's best climate change scientists, researchers and analysts, but he declined to divulge more details about the members or the scale of the operation.

The center is China's latest initiative in environmental issues.

In 2008, the Department of Climate Change was established under the NDRC, consisting of five offices and employing about 40 people. Some industry insiders said the new center could supplement the work of the department because global environmental issues, international negotiations and carbon trading are all related to climate change.

"The department is a government organization for research into climate change. The center will be a top think tank providing analysis and suggestions for the country's leaders," Li said. "Their responsibilities and goals are different."

"Climate change is a complicated issue," said Mei Dewen, president of the China Beijing Environment Exchange. "It is not only a scientific topic, but also an important economic and political issue that deserves great attention."

Mei said the establishment of the center has great significance for the carbon-trading industry and related international cooperation.

"Climate change will provide opportunities for economic restructuring in China," he said. "We need to strengthen international cooperation on carbon-trading projects, finance and technology."

"As one of the largest energy consumers in the world, it is necessary for China to make greater efforts on the climate change issue, and the establishment of the center indicates the country's determination," he said.

"China is working on employing a market-oriented mechanism to realize its carbon-emissions reduction target," said Zhai Guoliang, climate change coordinator (China) of the development bank KfW Bankengruppe, which is owned by the German government.

"The new center can conduct more research to explore a better system, which will contribute to the country's development in climate change issues," he said.

Zhai said the center is unlikely to have much input in the Durban conference, but it will definitely provide help for future international negotiations in terms of statistical analysis and reports.

The establishment of the center is a positive integration of all the talents in the fields of environmental and climate change issues, said Li Rusong, the China program director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which promotes unified action on climate change.

"Many government departments are conducting projects related to climate change. But the formation of a national think tank will be a more efficient and helpful way of providing relevant information to foreign partners," Li said.