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Reaping the Economic Benefits of Decarbonization for China

Fei Teng () and Frank Jotzo ()
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Fei Teng: Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy, Research Center for Contemporary Management, Tsinghua University

CCEP Working Papers from Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University

Abstract: China needs to reduce its carbon emissions if global climate change mitigation is to succeed. Conventional economic analysis views cutting emissions as a cost, creating a collective action problem. However, decarbonization can improve productivity and provide co-benefits that accord with multiple national policy objectives. We track China's progress in reducing the emissions intensity of the economy, and construct a macro scenario with China's carbon emissions peaking in the 2020s. Investment in greater energy productivity and economic restructuring away from heavy industries can bring productivity gains, and decarbonization of energy supply has important co-benefits for air pollution and energy security. Combined with lower climate change risks and the likelihood that China's actions will influence other countries, this suggests that cutting carbon emissions is not only in China's self-interest but also in the global interest. To properly identify the true costs and benefits of climate change action requires new thinking in economic analysis.

Keywords: China; climate change mitigation; co-benefits (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O44 Q48 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene, nep-env and nep-tra
Date: 2014-11
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Persistent link: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:een:ccepwp:1413

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