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Challenges to addressing non-CO2 greenhouse gases in China’s long-term climate strategy

Xin Wang, Fei Teng, Jingjing Zhang, Nina Khanna and Jiang Lin

Climate Policy, 2018, vol. 18, issue 8, 1059-1065

Abstract: Under the Paris Agreement, countries are encouraged to submit long-term low greenhouse gas emissions development strategies. Such strategies will merge emissions goals with socio-economic objectives and enable countries to increase their ambition over time, thus offering an opportunity to close the gap between the current emissions trajectory and the Agreement’s ‘well below 2°C’ target. China is in the process of preparing its own long-term strategy. We argue in this article that non-CO2 greenhouse gases (NCGGs) should be an essential component of China’s long-term low-emissions strategy. To incorporate NCGGs into China’s long-term low-emissions development strategy, key scientific and institutional challenges should be addressed, such as uncertainty about the accuracy of NCGG emissions inventories; uncertainty about future projections of NCGG emissions; and institutional coordination deficits and imbalanced policy approaches. Overcoming these barriers will have significant implications for climate change mitigation and can open a path for the development of concrete follow-up actions.Key policy insightsNon-CO2 greenhouse gases (NCGGs) make up around 17% of China’s GHG emissions, but China has no quantified target to limit or reduce these gases. NCGG emissions mitigation should be an essential component of China's long-term low-emissions strategy, which is currently under development. Considerable uncertainty exists over both historical NCGG emissions data and forecasts. This poses challenges to developing a comprehensive multi-gas strategy. Institutional challenges must also be addressed, such as fragmentation of responsibility for NCGGs.

Date: 2018
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