Going Clean – The Economics of China’s Low-carbon Development
It is difficult to overstate the importance of Going Clean, which was produced by a high-level group that included analysts from both the West and the Chinese Economists 50 Forum. Nor is it easy to overstate the role that the GDRs analysis plays in Going Green’s underlying analysis of the climate challenge.
Among its most notable points, Going Green provides a clear estimate the emissions budget that would be available to China in a world that was seriously committed to holding the 2ºC line:
“If the industrialized (Annex 1) countries were to commit to more ambitious targets of reducing their emissions to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 95 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, their future emissions would amount to 200 Gt CO2. This would leave 460 Gt CO2 for the non-Annex 1 countries. If we assume that China’s part of this remaining budget is proportional to its share of current non-Annex 1 emissions, its future budget would be 220 Gt CO2.”
Just as significantly, it shows that this is an achievable goal, though only in the context of a fair global regime.
“This report shows that China can achieve the transition to a low-carbon economy. China can make these emissions reductions within the tight constraints of a global 2ºC target while still meeting development and economic growth goals over the next four decades. There are strong mitigation potentials in the building, industry, transport and electricity generation sectors. China would benefit from early mitigation, but immediate action is critical for the world to have a reasonable chance of keeping warming below the 2ºC target.”
“Although emissions reductions are needed in China, China is unable to shoulder the entire responsibility for achieving these reductions without technological and financial support. Burden-sharing frameworks – several of which are reviewed in this report – can assist in determining the allocation of each country’s share of emissions reductions, as well as the allocation of permits under a global cap-and-trade regime.”
All of this is very significant. Just as significant, from the GDRs perspective, is the very clear recognition of the importance of GDRs approach, within the context of an excellent discussion of equitable burden-sharing. All things considered, it’s difficult to read Going Green without suspecting that — if we ever get serious about stabilizing the climate system — it will play a very important role indeed.