Making the Transition: EU-China Cooperation on Renewable Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage
In 2010, relations between the European Union (EU) and China reached their 35-year anniversary. Although initially centred primarily on economic cooperation, China‟s rapid industrialisation meant that over time this development placed increasing pressure on the environment. Keen to sustain this economic growth and ensure the availability of sufficient energy sources to that effect, China‟s progress in the field of renewable energy in recent years is as much about security of supply, as it is about counteracting the effects of environmental degradation and climate change.
In its efforts to safeguard its economic growth, China is increasingly competing with Europe over scarce fossil fuel sources, such as natural gas from Central Asia. The focus of EU-China energy cooperation is therefore structured in relation to managing the latter‟s energy demand to limit its impact on climate change and the environment, as well as in terms of relieving pressure on the Union‟s own security of supply.
Particularly since the second half of the 2000s, much has changed in China after the adoption of the Renewable Energy Law (REL or „the Law‟) and the establishment of the EU-China Partnership on Climate Change at the 2005 EU-China summit. Departing from a brief chronological analysis that dates from the early 1990s until today, this Working Paper zooms in on two particular areas: (i) EU-China cooperation on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies; and (ii) the development of the Chinese renewable energy market. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations on specific challenges identified within these two sectors of cooperation.