Tackling climate change will not be possible without a significant contribution from Asia. Although most Asian countries currently have relatively low levels of per capita greenhouse gas emissions and historically their contribution to global climate change has been limited, Asia now contributes substantially to global greenhouse gas emissions.
There are signs of growing interest in renewable energies in many parts of Asia out of energy security and environmental concerns as well as to bring electricity to energy poor regions. With dropping renewable energy prices there is growing investment in the sector in Asia. This makes it increasingly possible to talk about the beginning of energy transitions, which are occurring in the region. Greater use of renewable energy may lead to more socially and environmentally just energy structures. We still know, however, little about the actual social and political contributions, costs and implications of renewable energy expansion.
A series of country studies by FES offices in Asia examines these questions. The studies address the political and social factors that drive, but also hamper socially just energy transitions. In China, efforts towards an energy transition are increasingly ambitious. But although these policies have ushered in rapid gains in renewable energy, China continues to rely in large part on coal, mainly because of its steadily rising energy consumption which suggests a challenging path for a true clean energy transition. This study on China's energy transition was authored by a team of Chinese researchers in 2017 and provides a starting point for further analysis and aims at providing policymakers, academics and civil society with useful information on the status of the development of a low-carbon energy system in China.