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Climate change mitigation in China
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology. (Climate Change, GHG Mitigation Policy, Energy Policy, Energy Conservation)
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

China has been experiencing great economic development and fast urbanisation since its reforms and opening-up policy in 1978. However, these changes are reliant on consumption of primary energy, especially coal, characterised by high pollution and low efficiency. China’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with carbon dioxide (CO2) being the most significant contributor, have also been increasing rapidly in the past three decades. Responding to both domestic challenges and international pressure regarding energy, climate change and environment, the Chinese government has made a point of addressing climate change since the early 2000s. This thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of China’s CO2 emissions and policy instruments for mitigating climate change.

In the analysis, China’s CO2 emissions in recent decades were reviewed and the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis examined. Using the mostly frequently studied macroeconomic factors and time-series data for the period of 1980-2008, the existence of an EKC relationship between CO2 per capita and GDP per capita was verified. However, China’s CO2 emissions will continue to grow over coming decades and the turning point in overall CO2 emissions will appear in 2078 according to a crude projection. More importantly, CO2 emissions will not spontaneously decrease if China continues to develop its economy without mitigating climate change. On the other hand, CO2 emissions could start to decrease if substantial efforts are made.

China’s present mitigation target, i.e. to reduce CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% by 2020 compared with the 2005 level, was then evaluated. Three business-as-usual (BAU) scenarios were developed and compared with the level of emissions according to the mitigation target. The calculations indicated that decreasing the CO2 intensity of GDP by 40-45% by 2020 is a challenging but hopeful target.

To study the policy instruments for climate change mitigation in China, domestic measures and parts of international cooperation adopted by the Chinese government were reviewed and analysed. Domestic measures consist of administration, regulatory and economic instruments, while China’s participation in international agreements on mitigating climate change is mainly by supplying certified emission reductions (CERs) to industrialised countries under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The most well-known instruments, i.e. taxes and emissions trading, are both at a critical stage of discussion before final implementation. Given the necessity for hybrid policies, it is important to optimise the combination of different policy instruments used in a given situation.

The Durban Climate Change Conference in 2011 made a breakthrough decision that the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol would begin on 1 January 2013 and emissions limitation or reduction objectives for industrialised countries in the second period were quantified. China was also required to make more substantial commitments on limiting its emissions. The Chinese government announced at the Durban Conference that China will focus on the current mitigation target regarding CO2 intensity of GDP by 2020 and will conditionally accept a world-wide legal agreement on climate change thereafter. However, there will be no easy way ahead for China.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. , ix, 49 p.
Series
Trita-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2012:01
Keyword [en]
China, Climate change mitigation, Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis, Mitigation target, Business-as-usual (BAU) scenarios, Policy instruments
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-93109ISBN: 978-91-628-8439-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-93109DiVA: diva2:515025
Public defence
2012-05-11, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26 Entreplan, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20120424

Available from: 2012-04-24 Created: 2012-04-11 Last updated: 2013-01-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. An Analysis of Chinese Policy Instruments for Climate Change Mitigation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Analysis of Chinese Policy Instruments for Climate Change Mitigation
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, ISSN 1756-8692, Vol. 2, no 4, 380-392 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Design/methodology/approach - First, the paper reviews Chinese energy consumption per unit of GDP (EC/GDP) in order to determine the overall effects of the combined policy instruments. Second, the different policy instruments are compared in terms of their effects. Third, the actual trends of EC/GDP in two provinces and the instruments adopted by them are analysed on the provincial level.

Findings - The decline in EC/GDP can indirectly reflect the Chinese contribution to mitigation of CO2 emissions since fossil fuels dominate Chinese energy consumption. The national EC/GDP values have shown a declining trend from 2005 to date, indicating that the policy instruments are very important to mitigate climate change as regards reducing EC/GDP. The technological improvement regulations have made the greatest contribution to date to reduce EC/GDP values. The experiences from the Beijing and Shandong province indicate that their final targets in 2010 will be most likely achieved because the different provinces are not only following the national policy instruments but have also developed quite a few new instruments to assist in reaching the these reductions.

Research limitations/implications - There are three limitations regarding Chinese policy instruments analysis. First, the paper does not go far to determine the other factors which can affect EC/GDP apart from policy instruments. Second, some data were lacking and there may be inaccuracies in the existing data that could affect the analysis results. Third, EC/GDP cannot reflect the Chinese contribution to mitigation of CO2 emissions if the composition of Chinese energy consumption changes significantly.

Originality/value - The paper addresses the importance of various policy instruments in reducing EC/GDP. The results can be referenced by Chinese policy makers on both the national and provincial level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, 2010
Keyword
China, Climatology, Government policy, Energy management, Energy consumption
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
SRA - Energy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31421 (URN)10.1108/17568691011089909 (DOI)000290180900003 ()2-s2.0-84986097724 (Scopus ID)
Funder
StandUp
Note
QC 20110613Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved
2. Co-benefits of CDM projects and policy implications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-benefits of CDM projects and policy implications
2010 (English)In: Environmental Economics, ISSN 1998-6041, Vol. 1, no 2, 78-88 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to study the co-benefits of clean development mechanism (CDM) projects, and further to discuss the policy of its implications. It has been found that many energy-related climate change mitigation (CCM) activities, including CDM projects, are able to produce a significant amount of co-benefits, while the policy implications have been limited. Through co-benefits assessment of Chinese CDM projects, it can be concluded that: (1) there are uncertainties relating to co-benefits assessment; (2) co-benefits assessment can be only applied to energy related projects (ERPs) and not to HFC23 decomposition projects; (3) hydropower and wind power projects are the largest contributors to cobenefits. Considering average capacity, projects concerning energy switch from coal to natural gas, coal mine methane recovery and biogas recovery are also important; and (4) the distribution of co-benefits in China are uneven. Through a discussion about policy implications of co-benefits, this paper suggest that co-benefits should neither be involved into current international CCM negotiation, nor used to ensure projects’ contribution to sustainable development. However, co-benefits analysis can indicate synergies or optimised trade-offs between CCM and protecting local environment, which is valuable for decision-making in developing countries, especially for local governments.

Keyword
clean development mechanism, co-benefits, policy implications
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31415 (URN)
Note
QC 20110816Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved
3. An Analysis of China's Carbon Dioxide Mitigation Target
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Analysis of China's Carbon Dioxide Mitigation Target
2014 (English)In: Sustainable Development, ISSN 0968-0802, E-ISSN 1099-1719, Vol. 22, no 2, 113-121 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Chinese government has announced a national mitigation target towards sustainable development of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit GDP (CO2/GDP) by 40-45% by 2020 compared with the 2005 level. This paper analyses China's CO2 strategic mitigation target and suggests possible ways to reduce CO2/GDP. The mitigation target of reducing CO2 intensity in terms of GDP is ambitious and would greatly reduce CO2 emissions compared with business as usual (BAU) in China. However, it would not prevent an increase in absolute CO2 emissions and therefore a more ambitious target, e.g. a larger reduction goal for CO2/GDP, is still needed. Promoting energy structure by more ambitious economic instruments to increase the proportion of renewable energy and replace coal consumption with oil and gas, and improving energy efficiency by applied advanced technologies, are both necessary measures. Special attention should be given to improving technologies in the manufacturing sector owing to its high energy consumption and low energy use efficiency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2014
Keyword
Carbon dioxide emissions, China, Climate change, Energy consumption, Mitigation, Sustainable development
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31416 (URN)10.1002/sd.535 (DOI)000334505000004 ()2-s2.0-84898770373 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20140523

Available from: 2011-08-12 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
4. A projected turning point in China's CO2 emissions - an Environmental Kuznets Curve analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A projected turning point in China's CO2 emissions - an Environmental Kuznets Curve analysis
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Global Warming (IJGW), ISSN 1758-2083, E-ISSN 1758-2091, Vol. 4, no 3-4, 317-329 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the possible existence fan Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) relationship between China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita (CO2/capita) and GDP per capita (GDP/capita) during the period 1980-2008. The timing of the turning point in China's CO2/capita can be further estimated if an EKC relationship exists. In regression results, a natural logarithm-quadratic relationship was found between CO2/capita and GDP/capita, which supports the EKC hypothesis. However, China's CO2 emissions are still on a growing track until around 2078 in empirical analysis. More importantly, CO2 emissions will not spontaneously decrease if China continues to develop its economy without adopting instruments for mitigating climate change. China's wealth gap and China's role in international trade are discussed as two possible factors to affect EKC hypothesis. Therefore, reduction in domestic income inequality and negotiations to allocate responsibilities between China and developed countries for CO2 emissions associated with China's exports arc suggested as further efforts.

Keyword
Carbon dioxide (CO2), primary energy consumption, GDP, trade openness ratio, Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC)
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-93071 (URN)10.1504/IJGW.2012.049447 (DOI)000311461200008 ()2-s2.0-84872701632 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20130109. Updated from submitted to published.

Available from: 2012-04-19 Created: 2012-04-10 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
5. Sustainability of CDM projects: a matter of scope and methods
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability of CDM projects: a matter of scope and methods
Show others...
2010 (English)In: In the 2010 Gordon Research Conference (GRS) on Industrial Ecology: July 11-16, 2010, New London, NH, USA, 2010, 1-18 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Two CDM projects were compared in terms of their impacts on SD, using the popular AHP method. Two experimental groups of post-graduate students performed the assessment and both found that the HFC23 decomposition project studied was a bigger contributor to SD than the hydropower project, although the details differed. The outcome could have been different if the assessment had been performed by real stakeholders and decision-makers instead of students. Nevertheless, the study confirmed that AHP can be a useful method for decision-making especially in a complex situation relating to SD. However, some weaknesses of the AHP method were identified. These, inter alia, included: (1) the final results depended heavily on the participants in the assessment; (2) only a limited number of alternatives can be considered; and (3) the final results are difficult to use elsewhere.

Keyword
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Sustainable Development (SD), Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31414 (URN)
Note
QC 20110816Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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Output format
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