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A projected turning point in China's CO2 emissions - an Environmental Kuznets Curve analysis
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology. (Climate Change, GHG Mitigation Policy, Energy Policy, Energy Conservation)
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology. (Climate Change, GHG Mitigation Policy, Energy Conservation, Risk Management)
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology. (Climate Change, GHG Mitigation Policy, Energy Policy, Energy Conservation)
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Global Warming (IJGW), ISSN 1758-2083, E-ISSN 1758-2091, Vol. 4, no 3-4, 317-329 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the possible existence fan Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) relationship between China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita (CO2/capita) and GDP per capita (GDP/capita) during the period 1980-2008. The timing of the turning point in China's CO2/capita can be further estimated if an EKC relationship exists. In regression results, a natural logarithm-quadratic relationship was found between CO2/capita and GDP/capita, which supports the EKC hypothesis. However, China's CO2 emissions are still on a growing track until around 2078 in empirical analysis. More importantly, CO2 emissions will not spontaneously decrease if China continues to develop its economy without adopting instruments for mitigating climate change. China's wealth gap and China's role in international trade are discussed as two possible factors to affect EKC hypothesis. Therefore, reduction in domestic income inequality and negotiations to allocate responsibilities between China and developed countries for CO2 emissions associated with China's exports arc suggested as further efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 4, no 3-4, 317-329 p.
Keyword [en]
Carbon dioxide (CO2), primary energy consumption, GDP, trade openness ratio, Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC)
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-93071DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2012.049447ISI: 000311461200008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84872701632OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-93071DiVA: diva2:514777
Note

QC 20130109. Updated from submitted to published.

Available from: 2012-04-19 Created: 2012-04-10 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Climate change mitigation in China
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate change mitigation in China
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

China has been experiencing great economic development and fast urbanisation since its reforms and opening-up policy in 1978. However, these changes are reliant on consumption of primary energy, especially coal, characterised by high pollution and low efficiency. China’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with carbon dioxide (CO2) being the most significant contributor, have also been increasing rapidly in the past three decades. Responding to both domestic challenges and international pressure regarding energy, climate change and environment, the Chinese government has made a point of addressing climate change since the early 2000s. This thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of China’s CO2 emissions and policy instruments for mitigating climate change.

In the analysis, China’s CO2 emissions in recent decades were reviewed and the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis examined. Using the mostly frequently studied macroeconomic factors and time-series data for the period of 1980-2008, the existence of an EKC relationship between CO2 per capita and GDP per capita was verified. However, China’s CO2 emissions will continue to grow over coming decades and the turning point in overall CO2 emissions will appear in 2078 according to a crude projection. More importantly, CO2 emissions will not spontaneously decrease if China continues to develop its economy without mitigating climate change. On the other hand, CO2 emissions could start to decrease if substantial efforts are made.

China’s present mitigation target, i.e. to reduce CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% by 2020 compared with the 2005 level, was then evaluated. Three business-as-usual (BAU) scenarios were developed and compared with the level of emissions according to the mitigation target. The calculations indicated that decreasing the CO2 intensity of GDP by 40-45% by 2020 is a challenging but hopeful target.

To study the policy instruments for climate change mitigation in China, domestic measures and parts of international cooperation adopted by the Chinese government were reviewed and analysed. Domestic measures consist of administration, regulatory and economic instruments, while China’s participation in international agreements on mitigating climate change is mainly by supplying certified emission reductions (CERs) to industrialised countries under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The most well-known instruments, i.e. taxes and emissions trading, are both at a critical stage of discussion before final implementation. Given the necessity for hybrid policies, it is important to optimise the combination of different policy instruments used in a given situation.

The Durban Climate Change Conference in 2011 made a breakthrough decision that the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol would begin on 1 January 2013 and emissions limitation or reduction objectives for industrialised countries in the second period were quantified. China was also required to make more substantial commitments on limiting its emissions. The Chinese government announced at the Durban Conference that China will focus on the current mitigation target regarding CO2 intensity of GDP by 2020 and will conditionally accept a world-wide legal agreement on climate change thereafter. However, there will be no easy way ahead for China.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. ix, 49 p.
Series
Trita-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2012:01
Keyword
China, Climate change mitigation, Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis, Mitigation target, Business-as-usual (BAU) scenarios, Policy instruments
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-93109 (URN)978-91-628-8439-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-05-11, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26 Entreplan, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20120424

Available from: 2012-04-24 Created: 2012-04-11 Last updated: 2013-01-09Bibliographically approved

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