DiscoverEnergy Current: In Search of Net Zero System
Energy Current: In Search of Net Zero System
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Energy Current: In Search of Net Zero System

Author: Enegy Current

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To address climate crisis, we have to pursue an energy system based on renewable energy and other low carbon technology. Through reasonable discussions with a variety of researchers from institutes and think tanks, this podcast informs curious minds of poliy debate on sustainable energy transition and global climate governance. The podcast is now being updated for its second season. The first season was called the REEI Energy and Climate Podcast.
80 Episodes
Despite of the high expectation in decarbonizing the fossil fuels sectors for years, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has not been scaled up. In the next 5-10 years, will the comprehensive technology be a game changer in the global climate mitigations? Can the oil and gas giants in the Middle East countries sustain their business in the future by both producing carbon as usual and sinking carbon as a world carbon storage hub? May carbon markets, either regional or national, make CCS business cost-effective? How can the governments from the major economies provide sufficient incentives to speeding up the development and deployment of CCS? Dr. Xu Yuan, associate professor of Chinese University of Hong Kong, discusses his perspectives and opinions on these questions. 
Compared to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) has lagged behind during the electrification of road transport sector across the world in the past ten years. Under the new context related to technological competition among economic powers, energy crisis enhanced by the Russia-Ukraine war in Europe, the global supply chain security of critical materials in BEV manufacturing, as well as the greater role of hydrogen in energy transition, it's worthy of re-evaluating the potential of FCEV in accelerating the decarbonization of the transport sector. Professor Gregory Trencher from Kyoto University in Japan shares his research insights on these relevant issues in this episode of Energy Current. 
Enacted in 2021, China’s National Carbon Market based on tradable performance standard, was promoted as a new effort to engage with international climate policy. It’s too early to assess the emissions reduction impact of the so-called biggest carbon market in the world. Despite of the essential differences of market design, contextual institutions and the mild effects of the California’s system in delivering carbon emissions reduction and environmental justice, Professor Alex Wang of UCLA School of Law explains why China may still learn from California’s Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Program. In this episode, the discussion also touches the new direction of climate policy in the context of EU Green Deal and U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. Professor Wang shares his opinion on the academic exchange challenges facing scholars from both U.S. and China.  
Japan's Green Transformation Plan is the latest national strategy in pursuit of energy transition and carbon neutrality by 2050. As a major economy with probably the highest energy efficiency standard and greatest dependency on fossil fuels import around the world, Japan faces a range of challenges. Professor Jusen Asuka from Tohoku University in Japan discusses how the new policies on offshore wind and solar PV may play a big part and why the next generational nuclear power technology could be a double-edged sword. His argument on Japan's cautious role in China-US contest in low carbon technology and investment resulted from a series of American legislation, particularly, climate policy embedded in Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), suggests some relevant policy implications for Japan. Finally, his reading suggestion touches intergenerational justice, one of the most compelling issues on climate governance.
Indian Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) adventure plays a significant role in both providing sustainable mobility services and materializing its long-term national carbon neutrality goal. What does the road transport decarbonization in the past ten years inform its future ambition? Under the various challenges, from global energy crisis, supply chain restructuring, to economic recession and big powers competition, how can India strike a balance between climate actions and energy security? By 2030, will India become a major player in the ZEV manufacturing across the world? In this episode of Energy Current, Mr. Aditya Ramji, an energy economist, at the University of California, Davis, shares his research experience. 
The mutual benefits of economic growth between China and Australia had pushed the bilateral cooperation on science and technology, particularly the climate related technology, to a new level until a few years ago. However, the relationship has been deteriorating since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  What does the dramatic change mean to Australian international scientific collaboration in the region? Do the sea changes of geopolitical situation between the two states and beyond suggest a different landscape of international scientific collaboration in the future? Diarmuid Cooney-O'Donoghue, Assistant Lecturer in Asian Studies at Monash University in Australia, shares his ideas on the history and challenges of Australian scientific and technology collaboration on climate and energy with China and others.
In 1980-2015, China experienced one of the longest economic expansion in the modern era. While playing a significant role in supplying affordable and reliable electricity, hydropower has also caused undisputed and large negative impacts on social, ecological and cultural aspects. Dr. Darrin Magee from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in America shares his research and observation on the controversy of China's hydropower development both in the past and in the present of pursuing carbon neutral targets. 
Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the first climate bill by U.S. federal government, will bring fundamental changes to American energy sector in terms of speeding up the penetration of low carbon technologies and clean power generation. Mr. Noah Lerner, who have gained working experience on energy decarbonization from private, non-profit and government sectors, discusses the opportunities facing climate friendly technologies investment in the U.S. as well as IRA’s implications in the international climate negotiation and actions. 
What’s the beauty of Inflation Reduction Act? Why is it hard, if not impossible, for Republican Party to do something in undermining the law? How can the first American climate law advance the international climate policy and energy transition? Is there any tension between the climate law and the recent supreme court ruling on the West Virginia vs. EPA case? In this episode will an American legal scholar answer these questions. 
International climate policy faces a range of challenges such as high energy cost and deteriorating relationship between China and America. How will both domestic and international situations influence the near to medium term climate actions of the three major actors, China, U.S. and EU? What could the climate cooperation among the three economies look like after the Taiwan Strait tension and American Inflation Reduction Act?  Dr. Patrick Schroeder from the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, discusses these questions with Zhao Ang in the first episode of Energy Current Conversations.   
S1-Conclusion Remarks

S1-Conclusion Remarks


Since the first episode came out in September 2020, our team have produced over 60 episodes. Our discussions cover a variety of topics, from global climate negotiations to energy crisis, from decarbonization in healthcare sector to carbon pricing, from electric vehicles growth to China’s carbon neutrality strategy.As an independent think in China, Rock Environment and Energy Institute, the creator of this podcast, will walk into a new chapter in late 2022. By the third week of August 2022, we will present a new season with brand new podcast title. You will be able to listen to more climate and energy policy-oriented debates and our discussants will mainly come from research institutions and think tanks across the world. Thank you for listening and following. For now, have a good summer holiday. See you in August. 
Despite of the high expectation in decarbonizing the fossil fuels sectors for years, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has not been scaled up. In the next 5-10 years, will the comprehensive technology be a game changer in the global climate mitigations? Can the oil and gas giants in the middle east countries sustain their business in the future by both producing carbon as usual and sinking carbon as world carbon storage center? May carbon markets, either regional or national, make CCS business cost-effective? How governments around the world provide sufficient incentives to speeding up its development and deployment? Throughout the discussion, Dr. Xu Yuan, associate professor of Chinese University of Hong Kong, will offer his perspectives and opinions on these pressing questions. 
As one of the most developed metropolitan areas, Hong Kong is a latecomer in the climate action arena in the region. By committing to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 last year, Hong Kong is catching up with other peer cities such as Tokyo and Seoul. In her annual policy address on October 6th 2021, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced some specific policy measures both in climate adaptation and mitigation. Can Hong Kong speed up its climate actions in the near future, like reducing the coal consumption faster and increasing more electric vehicles sooner? Mr. Kevin Li, a policy expert from a Hong Kong environmental NGO, argues that the government is capable of doing more and environmental groups and general public should play a role in the city’s decarbonization pathway. In this episode, Zhao Ang and Kevin also discuss about renewable power potential, building energy efficiency and electric vehicles penetration.
We invited Dr. Mao Da, Director of Shenzhen Zero Waste (an environmental campaign group), to our program. He has over 18 years’ experiences in environmental field China/overseas and a well-known public figure on waste issues in China. Shenzhen Zero Waste  has a very focused target, namely to reduce the toxic chemicals in consumer products on the major the E-commerce platforms like, Taobao, PDD... e.g. they started the campaign of reduce toxic chemicals in the children toy rubber ducks, and made remarkable achievements of enhancing the compliance rate from 25% to over 90% in four years time. If you are interested in more of Dr. Mao and his organisation's working model and influence, please listen to our EP60, we welcome your comments and feedback. Enjoy!
Right before the ease of Shanghai's two-month lock-down, China State Council  has been intensively convened and formulating a package of measures to stimulate economic activities, in order to get the economy back on track and keep major economic indicators within an appropriate range. This episode firstly discussed the logics behind this stimulus plan, and then analyzed the energy-related measures in the package. It is obvious that focus has been given on energy security and stable electricity supply in order to sustain its economic growth. In this context, policy makers support the growth of both fossil (mainly coal) and non-fossil fuels industries (mainly hydro, nuclear, wind). The rapid growth of wind and solar in the first four months this year were surely surprising, if building up the grid capacity to connect with more renewables, the stimulus plan will have a far-reaching impact on China's climate strategy and actions.
The “New Energy Vehicles Industry Development Plan (2021-2035)”, launched on November 2nd, 2020, sets a target of an approximately 20% share for new energy vehicles (NEVs) in new vehicle sales by 2025. The annual market penetration rate of electric vehicles exceeds 13% in 2021, it’s therefore possible to achieve the 2025 target ahead of schedule. When China’s transport sector will reach peak carbon? Should China's 2025 market penetration target for electric vehicles be increased? If it is to be increased, what major obstacles will be encountered? Ang and Yating from REEI will discuss about these questions in this episode.
In April 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) and England’s public healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, to help the two organizations cooperate on activities to promote and facilitate the decarbonization of healthcare systems around the world. A similar Memorandum was signed between the WHO and the United States's Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) in January 2022. These could signal the beginning of international collective effort on healthcare decarbonization. The health and climate platform, led by WHO and other actors, may advance climate responsibilities of healthcare sectors across the globe. Providing 20% of global medical product market, China should play a big part in the process. Can China use the ongoing healthcare reform as a valuable opportunity to promote a more environmental and socio-economic healthcare system? How are China's hospitals, health products manufacturers and policy makers able to catch up with the international best practices? Ang and Erin from REEI will discuss about these questions in this episode. 
In Feb 2022, Russia and China signed a new gas deal to supply 10 bcm of pipeline gas per annum to China, starting around 2025 for over 30 years from Russia’s Far East. This contract is in addition to an agreement signed in 2014 to provide 38 bcm over 30 years, and bringing the combined annual gas deliveries of Russian gas to China to 48 bcm per annum under the two pipelines. China utilized 360 bcm of natural gas in 2021 and is expected to reach approximately 600 bcm by 2030. In this episode, Zhao Ang and Erin will discuss if this agreement with Russia will put China in a position to benefit from the disparities between Russia and the EU amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war?
The "Medium and Long-term Planning for the Development of Hydrogen Energy Industry (2021-2035)", launched on March 23rd 2022, is a clear and strong message for supporting hydrogen development in China's 2060 carbon neutrality strategy context. Can China come on top in the competition to develop this new decarbonization technology among other major economies? Will the policy initiatives and institutional arrangements make China's green hydrogen or blue hydrogen manufacturing sector a forerunner in the next 5-10 years? REEI's Erin Pan and Ang Zhao will discuss these questions in this episode.
In July 2020, the South Korean government announced its Green New Deal, which included a list of investment projects to propel the country into a green economy. In today’s episode, we’d like to re-broadcast a previous episode, in which Lin Jiaqiao from REEI and Ms. Chin Yusun from a Korea-based campaign group, Solutions For Our Climate discusses the Korea’s “Green New Deal” and coal financing in China and South Korea. We think the discussion may help our listeners to understand the role of Green New Deal in Korea’s low carbon power sector as well as the current status of coal financing in South Korea, whether any state-owned power enterprises are lobbying the government to back funding for domestic or overseas coal projects.
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