China’s 2020 Clean Energy Target: Consistency, Pathways and Policy Implications

CSS Publication Number: 
CSS14-02
Abstract: 

China has proposed its 2020 clean energy target together with the climate change target of reducing CO2 intensity of the economy by 40–45% below the 2005 level. This article investigates the feasibility of these targets by testing their consistency under possible economic development scenarios. We analyse these targets from two perspectives: consistency with the overall economic growth and consistency with the international society's expectation on China's greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement responsibilities. The main findings are: under the recently announced 2020 target of gross domestic product (GDP) that is double the 2010 level, the adoption of a 15% clean energy target could result in excessive primary energy demand; and then with 40–45% GDP CO2 intensity reduction, CO2 emissions in 2020 could substantially exceed the International Energy Agency (IEA) 450 ppm scenario for China. Thus we propose a 17% clean energy target that can reconcile the domestic plan with international expectation. Our article also outlines the pathways to realise clean energy development into 2020 and proposes policy recommendations.

Keyword: 
Clean energy development
CO2 emissions
China
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Energy Policy
Date Published: 
February 2014
Persistent URL: 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.09.061
Full Citation: 
Yuan, Jiahai, Yan Xu, Xingping Zhang, Zheng Hu, Ming Xu (2014) “China’s 2020 clean energy target: consistency, pathways and policy implications.” Energy Policy 65:692-700.
Admin Content
Publication Status: 
Published