Report 267

Carbon emissions in China: How far can new efforts bend the curve?

by Zhang, X., V.J. Karplus, T. Qi, D. Zhang and J. He (October)
Joint Program Report Series, 22 p., 2014


While China is on track to meet its global climate commitments through 2020, China’s post-2020 CO2 emissions trajectory is highly uncertain, with projections varying widely across studies. Over the past year, the Chinese government has announced new policy directives to deepen economic reform, protect the environment, and limit fossil energy use in China. To evaluate how new policy directives could affect energy and climate change outcomes, we simulate two levels of policy effort—a Continued Effort scenario that extends current policies beyond 2020 and an Accelerated Effort scenario that reflects newly announced policies—on the evolution of China’s energy and economic system over the next several decades. Importantly, we find that both levels of policy effort would bend down the CO2 emissions trajectory before 2050 without undermining economic development, although coal use and CO2 emissions peak about 10 years earlier in the Accelerated Effort scenario.

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