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China’s non-fossil energy development and its 2030 CO2 reduction targets: The role of urbanization

Xi Zhang, Yong Geng, Shuai Shao, Jeffrey Wilson, Xiaoqian Song and Wei You

Applied Energy, 2020, vol. 261, issue C, No S0306261919320409

Abstract: China has pledged to peak its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and lower its CO2 intensity by 60–65% from the 2005 level by 2030. Understanding the role of energy structural adjustment in achieving such targets is critical along with China’s rapid urbanization process. This study aims to uncover the drivers of China’s non-fossil energy development during 1990–2016, and conduct scenarios and probability analyses of different energy consumption and CO2 emission trajectories until 2050. Results show that economic scale plays a key role with urbanization identified as an essential factor in driving non-fossil energy development. The consumption of fossil fuels will continue to increase with rapid urbanization, leading to higher CO2 emissions. China will only achieve the 2030 targets if energy structural adjustment is completed on schedule. Under the current policies, CO2 emissions may peak between 2030 and 2032, while CO2 intensity will decrease. Such findings provide valuable insights and suggest that China should achieve low carbon transition through energy structural adjustment, while taking urbanization as an opportunity.

Keywords: Energy structural adjustment; Urbanization; Non-fossil energy development; CO2 emissions; China; Governance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2019.114353

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