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Policies and Practices of Low Carbon City Development in China

Author

Listed:
  • Can Wang

    (State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, China)

  • Jie Lin

    (State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, China)

  • Wenjia Cai

    (Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, China)

  • ZhongXiang Zhang

    (Department of Public Economics, School of Economics, Fudan University, China)

Abstract

Globally as well as in China, cities have contributed to most of the economic output and have accordingly given rise to most CO2 emissions. In particular, given unprecedented urbanization, cities will play an even greater role in shaping energy demand and CO2 emissions. Therefore, cities are the key to meeting its proposed carbon intensity target in 2020 and whatever climate commitments beyond 2020 that China may take. Given the paramount importance of cities, China is practicing low carbon city (LCC) development. Against this background, this paper first summarizes the general situation and main characteristics of China’s LCC development. The paper then identifies eight problems and challenges for China’s LCC development including the absence of sound carbon accounting systems, lack of low-carbon specific evaluation system, rare use of market-based instruments, insufficient government-enterprise interactions, excessive budget dependence on land concession, increasing difficulty in further carbon mitigation, inevitable emissions growth due to rising living standards, and coal-dominant energy structure in the foreseeable future. Since these challenges are not applied to one or few cities, but are to all cities across the country, finally, the paper discusses how governments, in particular the central government, should address these problems and challenges. Given that China has faced great difficulty ensuring that local governments act in accordance with centrally-directed policies, the paper in particular discusses ways to incentivize local governments not to focus on economic growth alone and to move away from a heavy reliance on land concession. The paper ends with emphasizing on putting a price on carbon a crucial step for China’s endeavor of harnessing the market forces to reduce its energy consumption and carbon emissions and genuinely transiting into a low-carbon economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Can Wang & Jie Lin & Wenjia Cai & ZhongXiang Zhang, 2014. "Policies and Practices of Low Carbon City Development in China," Working Papers 2014.09, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2014.09
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhang, Zhong Xiang, 2012. "Competitiveness and Leakage Concerns and Border Carbon Adjustments," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 6(3), pages 225-287, December.
    2. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2010. "The greenness of cities: Carbon dioxide emissions and urban development," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 404-418, May.
    3. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2012. "Effective environmental protection in the context of government decentralization," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 53-82, March.
    4. Fabio Grazi & Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Jos N. van Ommeren, 2008. "An Empirical Analysis of Urban Form, Transport, and Global Warming," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 97-122.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Dieperink, Carel & Brand, Iemy & Vermeulen, Walter, 2004. "Diffusion of energy-saving innovations in industry and the built environment: Dutch studies as inputs for a more integrated analytical framework," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 773-784, April.
    8. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Energy and Environmental Policy in China," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13559.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2016. "Are China’s climate commitments in a post-Paris agreement sufficiently ambitious?," Working Papers 249526, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    2. Zhang, ZhongXiang, "undated". "Making China the transition to a low-carbon economy: Key challenges and responses," Working Papers 249516, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    3. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2014. "Programs, Prices and Policies Towards Energy Conservation and Environmental Quality in China," Working Papers 249427, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    4. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2016. "Making the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy: The Key Challenges for China," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 187-202, May.
    5. Wang, Can & Lin, Jie & Cai, Wenjia & Liao, Hua, 2014. "China׳s carbon mitigation strategies: Enough?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 47-56.
    6. Xi Xie & Wenjia Cai & Yongkai Jiang & Weihua Zeng, 2015. "Carbon Footprints and Embodied Carbon Flows Analysis for China’s Eight Regions: A New Perspective for Mitigation Solutions," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(8), pages 1-17, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Policies; Practices; Low carbon city; Market-based instruments; Energy; Governments; 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
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • R52 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Land Use and Other Regulations
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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