Scenario analysis of China's emissions pathways in the 21st century for low carbon transition
China's growing demand for energy - and its dependence on coal - has seen its carbon emissions increase more than 50% since 2000. Within the debate about mitigating global climate change, there is mounting pressure for emerging economies like China to take more responsibility for reducing their carbon emissions within a post-2012 international climate change policy framework. For China, this leads to fundamental questions about how feasible it is for the country to shift away from its recent carbon intensive pattern of growth. This paper presents some general results of scenarios that have been developed to investigate how China might continue to develop within a cumulative carbon emissions budget. The results show how changes in the key sectors of the Chinese economy could enable China to follow four different low carbon development pathways, each of which complies with a cumulative emissions constraint. Each scenario reflects different priorities for governmental decision making, infrastructure investments and social preferences. Having compared the key features of each scenario, the paper concludes with some implications for Chinese government policy.
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