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Environment China is a weekly bilingual podcast from the Beijing Energy Network. The show features conversations with advocates, entrepreneurs, and experts working in the environmental field in China.  We are looking to learn how they do their work, what new strategies and solutions they have found, and why now is the right time for real and positive changes in China’s environmental field.

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Listen to the latest episodes below!

Dec 19, 2022

In today’s episode, we are looking at Shanxi province, known as the country’s most coal-intensive provincial economy. Over the past several years, various research cooperation efforts have looked at how Shanxi could transition away from its heavy emphasis on coal, and eventually phase down coal in line with China’s 2030-2060 goals. Today, we are talking to Zhou Yang, Advisor at Agora Energiewende’s China programme, which has just published a Chinese-language report, Experience and Lessons learned from Regional Coal Transitions in Germany. A link to the report is below. In the podcast, we will discuss a few of the potential lessons described in the report, namely (1) the importance of breaking energy monopolies and diversifying energy supply and markets to include regular citizens, (2) ways to diversify the local economy away from resource-intensive sectors, including tourism, drawing on the example of Lusatia in eastern Germany, and (3) reducing the cultural emphasis on the resource economy by boosting education and innovation in non-resource-intensive industries, drawing on the example of the Ruhr Valley economic transformation.

Zhou Yang is based in Beijing and works as Advisor China at Agora Energiewende. She manages Agora’s projects on regional energy transition and power sector decarbonization. Before joining Agora, Zhou worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council Beijing Office for three years on the Oil Cap Project and Coal Cap Project. Prior to joining NRDC, Zhou was with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C., where she conducted research and prepared publications on China’s energy-water nexus issues.

Report link:

Zhou Yang, “Low-Carbon Energy Transition in Shanxi: Experience and Lessons from Regional Coal Transitions in Germany,” Agora Energiewende, 2022, at