The Climate Policy Lab (CPL) has a strong track record of work in China, as well as individual research projects and connections that predate the CPL itself. Professor Kelly Sims Gallagher has been working in this field for over 20 years, during which time she has published three books and numerous articles on China’s energy and climate change policies. An example of our past impact includes China’s request for a “policy gap analysis” so their government could get an independent assessment of whether or not they were on track to achieve their Paris Agreement targets, and if not, why. Chinese officials were pleased with the results and encouraged us to publish the study; our work was published in Nature Communications in March 2019. Over the past several years, the Climate Policy Lab has embarked on two major studies with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and other grants: (1) an inventory all of China’s policies governing both domestic and international investments, and (2) case studies on China’s overseas investments in coal in four countries in the Mekong Delta and Southeast Asia region. In Fall 2019, CPL will release the results of a major new study, supported by Breakthrough Energy Coalition, on the strengths and weaknesses of China’s clean energy innovation system based on four new case studies and a quantitative metrics analysis

2018 - 2019 Research Highlights

  • We completed case studies in four recipient countries of China’s overseas finance in South and Southeast Asia. Bringing researchers in this field together on October 4th and 5th, 2018, the Climate Policy Lab, jointly with the Global Development Policy Center at Boston University, hosted a workshop titled “Chinese Overseas Energy Investments: Implications for Climate and Development Policy.” The workshop drew international participants and was a great success in synthesizing policy-oriented research. It promises to serve as the impetus for further collaboration on related research. We have recently submitted a paper consolidating the results of our case studies for peer-reviewed publication.

  • We collaborated with Tsinghua University, with support from Breakthrough Energy Coalition, to convene a workshop on energy innovation in China in Beijing in October 2018.

  • Building on previous research, we studied the empirical effectiveness of different policies to mobilize finance for climate-related objectives, examining the empirical performance of seven types of green finance policies through country cases studies. The results have been compiled into a report on “Green Finance Policy in Practice: A Review of the Evidence,” which will be released as part of the CPL working paper series in the coming months.

  • Postdoctoral Scholar Ping Huang worked with Kelly Sims Gallagher on a project undertaken with support from the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and in collaboration with Tsinghua University. The study used quantitative data and in-depth interviews on China’s energy innovation investments to shed light on China’s innovation priorities and capabilities in energy storage, smart grids, electric vehicles, and advanced building materials. The results were presented to the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and the Chinese government delegation at Mission Innovation in May 2019 and are being compiled into a scholarly journal article for peer-reviewed publication.

  • Kelly Sims Gallagher attended the 4th Annual Mission Innovation Ministerial in Vancouver in May 2019 with Postdoctoral Scholar Ping Huang and Predoctoral Research Fellow Zdenka Myslikova, where they presented on research conducted on China’s energy innovation landscape to the Breakthrough Energy team, and met with the new Deputy Secretary of Energy for the U.S. and representatives from the International Energy Agency, World Resources Institute, Regulatory Assistance Project, and others. 

  • Kelly Sims Gallagher attended the California Global Climate Action Summit in September 2018, where she moderated a roundtable on China’s Green and Low Carbon Development hosted by Energy Foundation China, shared our research with policymakers, and met with current and prospective funders. Professor Gallagher had the opportunity to engage in direct dialogue with China’s top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua. Subsequently, Xie Zhenhua gave a speech acknowledging that China needs to do better to green the BRI, and that China’s domestic policies are inconsistent with its international policies, which was the main finding from our recent discussion paper entitled “Policies Governing China’s Overseas Development Finance.” Xie Zhenhua’s remarks in his press conference mirrored some of Professor Gallagher’s own language about avoiding “carbon lock-in” along the BRI, so we may have positively influenced his thinking.

Recent Publications