Sino-German Cooperation on Climate Policies

Project description

Title: Sino-German Climate Partnership, Phase III
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: The People’s Republic of China
Lead executing agency: The Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020


As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China’s climate actions have a huge impact on our planet, yet the institutional and legal capacities to face the challenge of climate change need to be strengthened on multiple levels. Since the negotiations leading to the Paris Agreement, China has gradually claimed a leadership position through its domestic emissions mitigation and adaptation efforts, and its pledges of financial and technical support to other developing countries, but the successful implementation of these policies demand relevant research and learning from best practices of international climate cooperation.

With its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), China has committed to peak its CO2 emissions by 2030 at the latest, to reduce 60 to 65 per cent of emission intensity (below 2005 levels) and to reduce the share of non-fossil fuel sources in the primary energy consumption to 20 per cent by 2030. In the its Five-Year Plan, the energy sector (2016-2020) aims to reduce the share of coal in its primary energy consumption from 64 per cent (2015) to less than 58 per cent (2020) and to increase the share of non-fossil fuel sources in primary energy consumption (including nuclear energy) from 12 per cent to 15 per cent.


The Chinese government is developing a holistic climate governance system and long-term strategies for climate-friendly sustainable development at the national and city levels, and undergoing an energy transition based on energy efficiency and renewable energy in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.



The project supports the Chinese government to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by strengthening China’s efforts in establishing a comprehensive system for climate governance. Moreover, it supports the transition towards an energy system based on energy efficiency and renewable energy and promotes the shift to a low carbon economy in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On the national level, it supports the bilateral policy dialogue on climate change between the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) in the form of the Sino-German Working Group on Climate Change (Klima-AG), enhancing the exchange of German experiences and best practices. On the local level, activities build on lessons learnt during the previous project phase and strengthen capacities for the development of integrated climate, energy as well as adaptation concepts for cities and build up capacities and knowledge required to advance the local energy transition. For new cooperation topics identified by the Working Group on Climate Change (e.g. South-South Cooperation), the project acts as an incubator for the International Climate Initiative (IKI) portfolio development. Being an interface for information management, it serves as a hub for exchange between partners of the IKI within and outside China, especially within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.


  • On the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Sino-German Climate Partnership, the project successfully organised the International Climate Initiative (IKI) Workshop and supported the annual meeting of the Sino-German Climate Working Group (Klima-AG). Experts from Chinese and German government ministries, institutions, and organisations had an intensive exchange on shared challenges, synergies and the scaling-up potential of cooperation projects. The experiences and ideas provided a variety of lessons learnt for both sides to incorporate into policy design and implementation going forward.
  • The project successfully organised the Beijing Climate Talks in Beijing, which provided insightful policy advices for Chinese and German policymakers on topics such as updating China’s NDCs and climate governance.
  • The project has successfully strengthened the capacities in low-carbon heating of the cities Changzhi and Zhengzhou.
  • Integrated energy concepts developed for three Sino-German New Energy Cities (Dunhuang, Xintai and Jiaxing-Xiuzhou) in the previous project phase were further disseminated to a broader audience.
  • The different exchange formats between German and Chinese experts and policymakers on national and municipal levels that were implemented by the project helped to further strengthen the mutual understanding and exchange on climate-friendly sustainable development and energy transition.

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