Container yard in China

China pumps out more climate change pollution than any other nation, but it also invests more in clean energy than anywhere else in the world. Its cities have some of the dirtiest air and largest urban populations on earth, yet China has made a serious commitment to turning those cities into healthier places to live. The more the country uses its enormous reach to push for sustainable options, the more its residents—and the entire planet—will benefit.

NRDC works to make China a global leader in climate action and environmental protection. Drawing on our decades of expertise in issues ranging from environmental litigation to the wildlife trade, we have established ourselves as trusted providers of pragmatic solutions since 1996. We work with a broad array of partners in local and national government, academic institutions, and businesses.

Some of our accomplishments:

  • As the first international nonprofit to launch a clean energy program in China, NRDC helped develop many of the nation’s firsts: energy codes for residential and commercial buildings, a research-and-development program for clean vehicles, and a utility-based initiative for energy conservation.
  • Our pilot efficiency programs in the Jiangsu province have been so successful that they inspired the central government to issue a national requirement that all grid companies invest in similar measures.
  • In 2014, China pledged to cap its coal consumption by 2020—a direct reflection of the strategy we promoted—and our energy experts are now designing policies to help the country meet this goal. Clean energy will play a central role in curbing coal use, so NRDC is promoting ways to add more wind and solar to the grid and bring efficiency measures to more of the country’s industries.
  • After we delivered improved estimates of China's supply and demand of mercury—a neurotoxin linked to cognitive delays in children and fertility problems—we helped devise a plan for reducing mercury in the country.
  • We are helping clean up China’s ports, which allow ships to use the dirtiest diesel fuel, by applying some of our successful cleanup efforts at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
  • Our Clean by Design initiative offers strategies that are helping textile factories reduce water pollution, energy consumption, and the use of toxic chemicals.
  • NRDC helped draft and pass many of America's most important environmental laws, and now we are helping China fortify its environmental regulations while training local nonprofits to bring public-interest lawsuits against polluting companies.

For more information about NRDC China program, please go to