Watch: China's Energy Law and Energy Sector in the Context of Carbon Neutrality Objective

Dr Hao Zhang, Assistant Professor, and Deputy LLM Programme Director (Energy and Environmental Law), Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong discussed his research on China's energy law in a seminar series hosted by CREEL, on Thursday 21 July 2022.

China plays a prominent role in combating climate change. As the largest energy producer and consumer and the biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, China is facing intense pressure to decarbonise its energy sector, which is the most significant contributor to coal consumption and GHG emissions. In September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the UN General Assembly that China is committed to peaking emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060. China’s adoption of a carbon neutrality objective would constitute a significant contribution to achieving the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. However, the fundamental shift these pledges represent for the organisation of energy systems and the economy, more generally, generates essential questions for the domestic energy law and regulation in China. This seminar looks at the reform of China’s electricity and gas markets and the legal framework governing these sectors. The legal framework governing these two sectors is essential because it affects renewable energy integration and fuel switch, both of which are fundamental to realising China’s climate pledges. This seminar also critically examines whether the current energy legal framework in China is designed to clearly define the obligations and responsibilities of key stakeholders, establish regulatory systems and processes to transform energy market structure and oversee the enforcement of relevant rules and provisions. All of these lie at the centre of China’s pursuit of carbon neutrality.