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Breaking the Impasse in International Climate Negotiations: A New Direction for Currently Flawed Negotiations and a Roadmap for China to 2050

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  • ZhongXiang Zhang

Abstract

China’s unilateral pledge to cut its carbon intensity by 40-45 percent by 2020 relative to its 2005 levels raises both the stringency issue, and given that China’s pledge is in the form of carbon intensity, reliability issues concerning China’s statistics on energy and GDP. Moreover, as long as China’s commitments differ in form from those of other major greenhouse gas emitters, China is constantly confronted with both criticism on its carbon intensity commitment being less stringent and the threats of trade measures. In response to these concerns and to put China in a positive position, this paper will map out a realistic roadmap for China’s specific climate commitments towards 2050, with its main distinguishing features including China taking on absolute emission caps around 2030 and the three transitional periods of increasing climate obligations before that. With current international climate negotiations flawed with a focus on commitments on the targeted date of 2020 that does not accommodate well the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, the paper suggests a new direction to break the current impasse in international climate negotiations.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2011.49
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zhang, Zhongxiang, 2000. "Decoupling China's Carbon Emissions Increase from Economic Growth: An Economic Analysis and Policy Implications," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 739-752, April.
    2. ZhongXiang Zhang, 1998. "The Economics of Energy Policy in China," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1291.
    3. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2010. "China in the transition to a low-carbon economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6638-6653, November.
    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. 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.
    6. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2009. "Multilateral trade measures in a post-2012 climate change regime? What can be taken from the Montreal Protocol and the WTO?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5105-5112, December.
    7. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Assessing China’s carbon intensity pledge for 2020: stringency and credibility issues and their implications," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 13(3), pages 219-235, September.
    8. 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 47-56, September.
    9. Zhongxiang Zhang, 2011. "In what format and under what timeframe would China take on climate commitments? A roadmap to 2050," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 245-259, September.
    10. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Energy and Environmental Policy in China," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13559.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon Intensity; Post-Copenhagen Climate Change Negotiations; Climate Commitments; China;

    JEL classification:

    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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