Yang Fuqiang

  • Country: China
  • Cohort: 2017
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“Climate change affects us all, including China,” wrote Yang Fuqiang in a 2018 blog, adding that “China is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate impacts. As emissions increase in other countries, China will suffer with the rest of the world.”

Fuqiang has extensive experience and a proven record of coordinating research across multiple institutions and influencing environmental and energy policy change in China. He is generally credited with successfully promoting a cap on coal consumption in China, which was integrated into China’s 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development.

Breakthrough Idea

Leveraging cutting-edge research and innovative policy frameworks, accelerate China’s transition to sustainable transportation and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by mainstreaming influential insights directly into business and policy-making circles. This initiative also involves establishing pilot regions that phase out the sale of traditional petroleum vehicles.

He has a sophisticated understanding of how to move policy in China and a strong network of political and corporate stakeholders in the energy sector. His openness to new ideas and to exploring additional tactics and strategies continues to be impressive, given his stature, esteem, and history of success in the field.

When he was selected for a Climate Breakthrough Award in 2016, Fuqiang focused his attention on peaking and reducing China’s oil consumption. “We have an opportunity to end China’s Age of Oil,” he said. “The emergence of low-carbon innovations in China’s transport sector is an accelerant as it provides alternative solutions for the public and exerts pressure on the incumbent industries to act.”

His “Oil Cap Project” was aimed at mobilizing influential insiders and institutions to jumpstart China’s policy efforts to peak its oil consumption by 2020-2022. The project could reduce as much as a cumulative 2.85 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and 7.0 gigatons by 2040, with the potential for an even larger impact as China’s domestic achievements unlock greater climate ambition internationally.

We have an opportunity to end China’s Age of Oil.

yang fuqiang

Peaking China’s oil consumption as early as possible, by researching and supporting the government to set a national oil consumption cap target and policy, will have enormous climate, environmental, and public health benefits and will promote the introduction of cleaner technologies and pathways for China and the world to move beyond oil.

post award

Fuqiang finished his Climate Breakthrough tenure in 2022, having successfully mainstreamed within policy and business circles the idea of capping oil consumption in China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas producer. His strategy has also made critical contributions to electric vehicle development, resulting in government-led regional pilots to test a ban on ICE vehicle sales. 

With his team, he is continuing to push for more ambitious targets to peak oil consumption in transportation and in the petrochemicals sector, supporting the use of sustainable aviation fuel, and planning two provincial demonstration pilots. The team is also expanding their work to pursue a natural gas cap.


Yang Fuqiang is Senior Advisor on the Climate Change and Energy Transition Program (CCETP) at the Institute of Energy at Beijing University. He has worked on China’s sustainable energy strategy and policy for more than four decades and has extensive research experience in energy savings in the building, industrial, and transportation sectors, low-carbon cities, electricity, and renewable energy, as well as climate change.

Prior to joining CCETP, he was Senior Advisor on Energy, Environment, and Climate Change at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He was the Director of Global Climate Solutions at WWF’s International Headquarters, Vice President of Energy Foundation, and Chief Representative of the Energy Foundation’s Beijing Office.

He received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University and his B.S. in Physics at Jilin University.

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