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In what format and under what timeframe would China take on climate commitments? A roadmap to 2050

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  • Zhang, ZhongXiang

Abstract

Given that China is already the world’s largest carbon emitter and its emissions continue to rise rapidly in line with its industrialization and urbanization, there is no disagreement that China eventually needs to take on binding greenhouse gas emissions caps. However, the key challenges are when that would occur and what credible interim targets China would need to take on during this transition period. This paper takes these challenges by mapping out the roadmap for China’s specific commitments towards 2050. Specifically, I suggest that China make credible quantified domestic commitments during the second commitment period, commit to voluntary no lose targets during the third commitment period, adopt binding carbon intensity targets during the fourth commitment period, and take on binding emissions caps starting the fifth commitment period and aimed for the global convergence of per capita emissions by 2050. These proposed commitments should be viewed as China’s political commitments, not necessarily China’s actual takings in the ongoing international climate change negotiations, in order to break the current political impasse between developed and developing countries. It is worthwhile China considering these political commitments either on its own or through a joint statement with U.S. and other major countries, provided that a number of conditions can be worked out. These commitments are principles, and still leave flexibility for China to work out details as international climate change negotiations move on. But in the meantime, they signal well ahead that China is seriously committed to addressing climate change issues, alleviate, if not completely remove, U.S. and other industrialized country’s concerns about when China would get in, an indication that the whole world has long awaited from China, help U.S. to take on long-expected emissions commitments, and thus pave the way for reaching an international climate agreement at Copenhagen.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2009. "In what format and under what timeframe would China take on climate commitments? A roadmap to 2050," MPRA Paper 15587, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15587
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carraro, Carlo & Massetti, Emanuele, 2012. "Energy and climate change in China," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(06), pages 689-713, December.
    2. Emanuele Massetti, 2011. "Carbon tax scenarios for China and India: exploring politically feasible mitigation goals," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 209-227, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Wu, Libo & Li, Jing & Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2013. "Inflationary effect of oil-price shocks in an imperfect market: A partial transmission input–output analysis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 354-369.
    5. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2016. "Are China’s Climate Commitments in a Post-Paris Agreement Sufficiently Ambitious?," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation,and Transformation Pathways 249785, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    6. Robert Shum, 2014. "China, the United States, bargaining, and climate change," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 83-100, March.
    7. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2013. "Energy and Environmental Issues and Policy in China," Working Papers 2013.92, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    8. Sean Walsh & Huifang Tian & John Whalley & Manmohan Agarwal, 2011. "China and India’s participation in global climate negotiations," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 261-273, September.
    9. 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.
    10. Junko Mochizuki & ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Environmental Security and its Implications for China’s Foreign Relations," Working Papers 2011.30, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    11. Lu, Yingying & Stegman, Alison & Cai, Yiyong, 2013. "Emissions intensity targeting: From China's 12th Five Year Plan to its Copenhagen commitment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1164-1177.
    12. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "Copenhagen and Beyond: Reflections on China’s Stance and," Chapters,in: Climate Change Policies, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2014. "Programs, Prices and Policies Towards Energy Conservation and Environmental Quality in China," Working Papers 2014.60, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    14. Katharina Rietig, 2014. "Reinforcement of multilevel governance dynamics: creating momentum for increasing ambitions in international climate negotiations," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 371-389, November.
    15. Andreas Oberheitmann & Eva Sternfeld, 2009. "Climate Change in China – The Development of China’s Climate Policy and Its Integration into a New International Post-Kyoto Climate Regime," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 38(3), pages 135-164.
    16. van Ruijven, Bas J. & Weitzel, Matthias & den Elzen, Michel G.J. & Hof, Andries F. & van Vuuren, Detlef P. & Peterson, Sonja & Narita, Daiju, 2012. "Emission allowances and mitigation costs of China and India resulting from different effort-sharing approaches," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 116-134.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon intensity target; Binding emissions caps; Post-Kyoto climate negotiations; Energy saving; Renewable energy; Clean development mechanism; China; USA; India;

    JEL classification:

    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • 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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