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Emissions Intensity Targeting: From China's 12th Five Year Plan to its Copenhagen Commitment

  • Yingying Lu
  • Alison Stegman
  • Yiyong Cai

China is currently the world's largest single source of fossil fuel related CO2 emissions. In response to pressure from the international community, and in recognition of its role in global climate change mitigation, the Chinese government has announced a series of climate policy commitments, in both the Copenhagen Accord and its domestic 12th 5 Year Plan, to gradually reduce emissions intensity by 2020. Emissions intensity reduction commitments differ significantly from emission level reduction commitments that are commonly adopted by developed economies. In this paper, we investigate the economic implications of China's recent commitments to reduce emissions intensity, and highlight the complexities involved in modelling intensity targets under uncertainty. Using G-Cubed, an intertemporal, computable general equilibrium model of the world economy, we show that China's emissions intensity targets could be achieved with a range of low and high growth emissions level trajectories corresponding to low and high growth GDP scenarios, which lead to different welfare consequences.

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Paper provided by Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series CAMA Working Papers with number 2012-45.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2012-45
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  1. Quirion, Philippe, 2005. "Does uncertainty justify intensity emission caps?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 343-353, November.
  2. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "Assessing China’s Energy Conservation and Carbon Intensity: How Will the Future Differ from the Past?," Working Papers 2010.92, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Valentina Bossetti & Carlo Carraro & Enrica De Cian & Romain Duval & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "The Incentives to Participate in and the Stability of International Climate Coalitions: A Game-Theoretic Approach Using the WITCH Model," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 702, OECD Publishing.
  4. Frank Jotzo, 2010. "Comparing the Copenhagen emissions targets," Environmental Economics Research Hub Research Reports 1078, Environmental Economics Research Hub, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  5. Marschinski, Robert & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2010. "Revisiting the case for intensity targets: Better incentives and less uncertainty for developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5048-5058, September.
  6. Saveyn, Bert & Paroussos, Leonidas & Ciscar, Juan-Carlos, 2012. "Economic analysis of a low carbon path to 2050: A case for China, India and Japan," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S3), pages S451-S458.
  7. Carlo Carraro & Emanuele Massetti, 2011. "Energy and Climate Change in China," Working Papers 2011.16, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  8. Warwick J. Mckibbin & Adele C. Morris & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 2011. "Comparing Climate Commitments: A Model-Based Analysis Of The Copenhagen Accord," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(02), pages 79-103.
  9. Yiyong Cai & Yingying Lu & David Newth & Alison Stegman, 2013. "Modelling Complex Emissions Intensity Targets with a Simple Simulation Algorithm," CAMA Working Papers 2013-33, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  10. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "In What Format and under What Timeframe Would China Take on Climate Commitments? A Roadmap to 2050," Working Papers 2010.112, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  11. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "Assessing China's Carbon Intensity Pledge for 2020: Stringency and Credibility Issues and Their Implications," Economics Study Area Working Papers 113, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
  12. Ma, Chunbo & Stern, David I., 2008. "China's changing energy intensity trend: A decomposition analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1037-1053, May.
  13. 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.
  14. Paltsev, Sergey & Morris, Jennifer & Cai, Yongxia & Karplus, Valerie & Jacoby, Henry, 2012. "The role of China in mitigating climate change," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S3), pages S444-S450.
  15. Warwick McKibbin & Adele Morris & Peter Wilcoxen, 2008. "Expecting The Unexpected: Macroeconomic Volatility And Climate Policy," CAMA Working Papers 2008-35, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  16. Tol, Richard S. J., 2009. "The Feasibility of Low Concentration Targets: An Application of FUND," Papers WP285, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
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