The Chinese government released its National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation in 2013.1 The strategy sets forth principles for climate change adaptation, including these:

  • “Set priorities. Based on a comprehensive assessment of the impacts and damage of climate change...China should prioritize and focus on adaptation action for vulnerable fields, regions and groups of people.”

  • “Take the initiative to adapt. Strengthen monitoring and early warning capabilities, in order to reduce losses caused by climate change.”

  • “Widen the scope of participation. Improve public awareness about adapting to climate change and mechanisms for social participation in climate adaptation.”

The strategy also sets out goals, including these:

  • Significantly reduce the vulnerability of climate-sensitive areas, regions and populations.

  • Significantly strengthen monitoring, early warning capability, disaster prevention and mitigation capacity for extreme weather events.

  • Significantly improve climate change fundamental research, observation and forecasting capability.

  • Significantly enhance public awareness of climate change.

The Strategy was released by NDRC along with eight ministries and bureaus (the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Housing and Urban and Rural Development, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Forestry Administration, the Bureau of Meteorology, and the Maritime Bureau). The strategy highlights the need for capacity building in areas including response to extreme weather events, protection of water resources and prevention of soil erosion.2

Since the release of the National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation, the Chinese government has adopted climate change adaptation plans in a number of sectors. These include

  • Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas, released by NDRC and MOHURD;

  • Action Plan for Forestry to Adapt to Climate Change (2016–2020), released by the State Forestry Administration; and

  • Plan on Building a Meteorological Disaster Information Management System, released by the Bureau of Meteorology.3

The Chinese government has dozens of pilot projects underway to help improve approaches and methodologies for adapting to climate change. The National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation identified 14 pilot projects to improve climate resilience, including projects on urban infrastructure in Shanghai, soil conservation in Jilin Province and emergency response in Hainan Province. The Working Plan for Pilot Programs on Climate-Adaptable Urban Development launched a process in which 30 pilot cities are being selected to implement climate adaptation initiatives. (The goal is that, by 2020, climate adaptation principles will be mainstreamed into development planning processes and urban construction standards in the pilot cities.) The State Oceanic Administration runs pilot projects on disaster risk planning. The State Forestry Administration runs climate change adaptation projects as well.4


1. NDRC et al., “National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation” (November 18, 2013),

2. Ibid.; China Climate Change Info-Net, “中华人民共和国气候变化第一次两年更新报告” [China’s Biennial Update Report on Climate Change] (December 2016) at p.119,; X.J. He, “Information on Impacts of Climate Change and Adaptation in China,” Journal of Environmental Informatics (June 2017),; Sean McLernon, “China Issues 1st National Climate Change Adaptation Plan,” Law360 (December 10, 2013), change-adaptation-plan.

3. NDRC, “Policies and Actions to Address Climate Change 2017” (October 2017) at pp.16–26,; NDRC, “Policies and Actions to Address Climate Change 2016” (October 2016) at pp.20–28, ; China Climate Change Info-Net, “中华 人民共和国气候变化第一次两年更新报告” [China’s Biennial Update Report] (December 2016) at pp.119–123.

4. NDRC, “Policies and Actions to Address Climate Change 2016” (October 2016) at pp.20–28, China Climate Change Info-Net, “中华人民共和国气候变化第一次两年更新报告” [China’s Biennial Update Report] (December 2016) at pp.119–123.

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