China's New Policies Will Lower Co2 Emissions Faster, Without Preventing Economic Growth

A new study co-authored by an MIT professor shows that China’s new efforts to price carbon could lower the country’s carbon dioxide emissions significantly without impeding economic development over the next three decades.

Based on a unique model that links China’s energy system and economy, the study finds that China’s coal use, a major source of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, should peak some time around the year 2020, while the country’s overall CO2 emissions would peak around 2030, or perhaps sooner. Even so, the reduction in carbon-intensive economic activity would not prevent China from reaching its government’s goal of being a “well-off society” by 2050.

“Using carbon pricing in combination with energy price reforms and renewable energy support, China could reach significant levels of emissions reduction without undermining economic growth,” says Valerie Karplus, an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a co-author of the new study.

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Details of the study appear in the paper “Carbon emissions in China? How far can new efforts bend the curve?” being published by the journal Energy Economics. In addition to Karplus, the other co-authors are Xiliang Zhang, Tianyu Qi, Da Zhang, and Jiankun He, all scholars at the Institute of Energy, Environment, and Economy, at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Da Zhang is now a postdoc at MIT.

Source: Stanford University
Date: Feb 9, 2016