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In what format and under what timeframe would China take on climate commitments? A roadmap to 2050

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  • Zhongxiang Zhang

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Abstract

In what format and under what timeframe China would take on climate commitments is of significant relevance to China because it is facing great pressure both inside and outside international climate negotiations to exhibit greater ambition and is being confronted with the threats of trade measures. It is of significant global relevance as well because when China’s emissions peak is crucial to determine when global emissions would peak and because what China is going to do in what format has significant implications for the level and ambition of commitments from other countries. In response to these concerns and to put China in a positive position, this paper maps out the roadmap for China’s specific climate commitments towards 2050. Taking many factors into consideration, the paper argues that China needs to take on absolute emissions caps around 2030. While this date is later than the time frame that the U.S. and other industrialized countries would like to see, it would probably still be too soon from China’s perspective. However, it is hard to imagine how China could apply the brakes so sharply as to switch from rapid emissions growth to immediate emissions cuts, without passing through several intermediate phases. To that end, the paper envisions that China needs the following three transitional periods of increasing climate obligations before taking on absolute emissions caps that will lead to the global convergence of per capita emissions by 2050: First, further credible energy-conservation commitments starting 2013 and aimed at cutting China’s carbon intensity by 45-50% by 2020; second, voluntary “no lose” emission targets starting 2018; and third, binding carbon intensity targets as its international commitment starting 2023. Overall, this proposal is a balanced reflection of respecting China’s rights to grow and recognizing China’s growing responsibility for increasing greenhouse gas emissions as China is approaching the world’s largest ec

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10784-011-9159-5
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 245-259

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Handle: RePEc:spr:ieaple:v:11:y:2011:i:3:p:245-259

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/10784

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Related research

Keywords: Carbon intensity target; Binding emissions caps; Post-Copenhagen climate negotiations; China; United States; India;

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References

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  1. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2010. "Is it fair to treat China as a Christmas tree to hang everybody's complaints? Putting its own energy saving into perspective," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(Supplemen), pages S47-S56, September.
  2. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2009. "Multilateral Trade Measures in a Post-2012 Climate Change Regime?: What Can Be Taken from the Montreal Protocol and the WTO?," Working Papers 2009.81, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Ellerman,A. Denny & Convery,Frank J. & de Perthuis,Christian With contributions by-Name:Alberola,Emilie With contributions by-Name:Buchner,Barbara K. With contributions by-Name:Delbosc,Anaïs, 2010. "Pricing Carbon," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521196475, October.
  4. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2003. "Why did the energy intensity fall in China's industrial sector in the 1990s? The relative importance of structural change and intensity change," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 625-638, November.
  5. Shui, Bin & Harriss, Robert C., 2006. "The role of CO2 embodiment in US-China trade," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 4063-4068, December.
  6. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2006. "China, the United States and technology cooperation on climate control," MPRA Paper 12801, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Weber, Christopher L. & Peters, Glen P. & Guan, Dabo & Hubacek, Klaus, 2008. "The contribution of Chinese exports to climate change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3572-3577, September.
  8. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2010. "China in the transition to a low-carbon economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6638-6653, November.
  9. De Perthuis, Christian & Convery, Frank J. & Ellerman, Denny, 2010. "Pricing carbon : the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10174, Paris Dauphine University.
  10. Zhang, Zhong Xiang, 1995. "Energy conservation in China : An international perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 159-166, February.
  11. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2009. "An Elaborated Global Climate Policy Architecture: Specific Formulas and Emission Targets for All Countries in All Decades," NBER Working Papers 14876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ellerman,A. Denny & Joskow,Paul L. & Schmalensee,Richard & Montero,Juan-Pablo & Bailey,Elizabeth M., 2005. "Markets for Clean Air," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023894, October.
    • Ellerman,A. Denny & Joskow,Paul L. & Schmalensee,Richard & Montero,Juan-Pablo & Bailey,Elizabeth M., 2000. "Markets for Clean Air," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521660839, October.
  13. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Indicators 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4373, October.
  14. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "The U.S. proposed carbon tariffs, WTO scrutiny and China’s responses," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 203-225, August.
  15. Tora Skodvin & Steinar Andresen, 2009. "An agenda for change in U.S. climate policies? Presidential ambitions and congressional powers," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 263-280, August.
  16. Emma Paulsson, 2009. "A review of the CDM literature: from fine-tuning to critical scrutiny?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 63-80, February.
  17. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2003. "Open Trade with the U.S. without Compromising Canada’s Ability to Comply with its Kyoto Target," Working Papers 2003.68, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  18. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2000. "Can China afford to commit itself an emissions cap? An economic and political analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 587-614, December.
  19. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2003. "Why Has China not Embraced a Global Cap-and-Trade Regime?," MPRA Paper 12783, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2007.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wu, Libo & Li, Jing & Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2013. "Inflationary effect of oil-price shocks in an imperfect market: A partial transmission input–output analysis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 354-369.
  2. Sean Walsh & Huifang Tian & John Whalley & Manmohan Agarwal, 2011. "China and India’s participation in global climate negotiations," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 261-273, September.
  3. Emanuele Massetti, 2011. "Carbon tax scenarios for China and India: exploring politically feasible mitigation goals," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 209-227, September.
  4. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Breaking the Impasse in International Climate Negotiations: A New Direction for Currently Flawed Negotiations and a Roadmap for China to 2050," Working Papers 2011.49, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. Yingying Lu & Alison Stegman & Yiyong Cai, 2012. "Emissions Intensity Targeting: From China's 12th Five Year Plan to its Copenhagen Commitment," CAMA Working Papers 2012-45, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  6. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2013. "Energy and Environmental Issues and Policy in China," Working Papers 2013.92, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Robert Shum, 2014. "China, the United States, bargaining, and climate change," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 83-100, March.

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