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

  • Zhang, ZhongXiang

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.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 15587.

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Date of creation: 02 Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15587
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  1. Shui, Bin & Harriss, Robert C., 2006. "The role of CO2 embodiment in US-China trade," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 4063-4068, December.
  2. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2009. "Multilateral Trade Measures in a Post-2012 Climate Change Regime?: What Can Be Taken from the Montreal Protocol and the WTO?," Working Papers 2009.81, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Indicators 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4373.
  4. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2009. "An Elaborated Global Climate Policy Architecture: Specific Formulas and Emission Targets for All Countries in All Decades," NBER Working Papers 14876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ellerman,A. Denny & Convery,Frank J. & de Perthuis,Christian, 2010. "Pricing Carbon," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521196475.
  6. Ellerman,A. Denny & Joskow,Paul L. & Schmalensee,Richard & Montero,Juan-Pablo & Bailey,Elizabeth M., 2000. "Markets for Clean Air," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521660839.
    • Ellerman,A. Denny & Joskow,Paul L. & Schmalensee,Richard & Montero,Juan-Pablo & Bailey,Elizabeth M., 2005. "Markets for Clean Air," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023894.
  7. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2003. "Why Has China not Embraced a Global Cap-and-Trade Regime?," MPRA Paper 12783, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2007.
  8. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2009. "Is It Fair to Treat China as a Christmas Tree to Hang Everybody’s Complaints? Putting its Own Energy Saving into Perspective," Working Papers 2009.45, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  9. 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.
  10. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "The U.S. proposed carbon tariffs, WTO scrutiny and China’s responses," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 203-225, August.
  11. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2006. "China, the United States and technology cooperation on climate control," MPRA Paper 12801, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Emma Paulsson, 2009. "A review of the CDM literature: from fine-tuning to critical scrutiny?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 63-80, February.
  13. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2010. "China in the transition to a low-carbon economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6638-6653, November.
  14. Weber, Christopher L. & Peters, Glen P. & Guan, Dabo & Hubacek, Klaus, 2008. "The contribution of Chinese exports to climate change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3572-3577, September.
  15. De Perthuis, Christian & Convery, Frank J. & Ellerman, Denny, 2010. "Pricing carbon : the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10174, Paris Dauphine University.
  16. Tora Skodvin & Steinar Andresen, 2009. "An agenda for change in U.S. climate policies? Presidential ambitions and congressional powers," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 263-280, August.
  17. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2003. "Open Trade with the U.S. without Compromising Canada’s Ability to Comply with its Kyoto Target," Working Papers 2003.68, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  18. 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.
  19. Zhang, Zhong Xiang, 1995. "Energy conservation in China : An international perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 159-166, February.
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