IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Greenhouse gas mitigation in Chinese agriculture: distinguishing technical and economic potentials


  • Wen Wang
  • Frank Koslowski
  • Dali Rani Nayak
  • Pete Smith
  • Eli Saetnan
  • Xiaotang Ju
  • Liping Guo
  • Guodong Han
  • Christian de Perthuis
  • Erda Lin
  • Dominic Moran


China is now the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases with 7467 million tons (Mt) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2005, with agriculture accounting for 11% of this total. As elsewhere, agricultural emissions mitigation policy in China faces a range of challenges due to the biophysical complexity, the heterogeneity of farming systems, and social-economic barriers. Existing research has contributed to improving our understanding of the technical potential of mitigation measures in this sector (i.e. what works). But for policy purposes it is important to convert these measures into a feasible economic potential, which provides a perspective on whether agricultural emissions reduction measures are low cost relative to mitigation measures and overall potential offered by other sectors of the economy. We develop a bottom-up marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) representing the cost of mitigation measures applicable in addition to business-as-usual agricultural practices. The MACC demonstrates that while the sector can offer a maximum technical mitigation potential of 402 MtCO2e in 2020, of which a reduction of 135 MtCO2e is potentially available at zero or negative cost (i.e. a cost saving), and 176 MtCO2e (approximately 44% of the total) can be abated at a cost below a threshold carbon price of ¥ 100 (approximately €12) per tCO2e. Our findings highlight cost-effectiveness of nitrogen fertilizer and manure best management practices, and animal breeding practices. We outline the assumptions underlying MACC construction and discuss some scientific, socioeconomic and institutional barriers to realizing the indicated levels of mitigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Wen Wang & Frank Koslowski & Dali Rani Nayak & Pete Smith & Eli Saetnan & Xiaotang Ju & Liping Guo & Guodong Han & Christian de Perthuis & Erda Lin & Dominic Moran, 2013. "Greenhouse gas mitigation in Chinese agriculture: distinguishing technical and economic potentials," Working Papers 1310, Chaire Economie du climat.
  • Handle: RePEc:cec:wpaper:1310

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2013
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schneider, Uwe A. & Kumar, Pushpam, 2008. "Greenhouse Gas Mitigation through Agriculture," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 23(1).
    2. Robert H. Beach & Benjamin J. DeAngelo & Steven Rose & Changsheng Li & William Salas & Stephen J. DelGrosso, 2008. "Mitigation potential and costs for global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions-super-1," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(2), pages 109-115, March.
    3. Pushpam Kumar & Uwe A. Schneider, 2008. "Greenhouse gas emission mitigation through agriculture," Working Papers FNU-155, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Feb 2008.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    China; agriculture; climate change; greenhouse gas mitigation; marginal abatement cost curve (MACC);

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cec:wpaper:1310. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chaire Economie du Climat). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.