Main content area

When does the turning point in China's CO2 emissions occur? Results based on the Green Solow model

Hao, Yu, Wei, Yi-Ming
Environment and development economics 2015 v.20 no.6 pp. 723-745
carbon, carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions, models, prediction, China
In recent years, the surge in China's CO₂ emissions has caused increasing international concern. In this paper, we investigate whether and when the turning point in China's CO₂ emissions would occur. A simple yet powerful neoclassical Green Solow model (GSM) is utilized herein as the main forecasting tool. To verify the capability of this framework to address China's economy, a key prediction of the GSM – the convergence in per capita CO₂ emissions across Chinese provinces – is empirically verified. By assigning reasonable values to the GSM's key parameters, the trajectories of total CO₂ emissions are projected for the three regions of China and the whole country. The forecast results show that, under the benchmark scenario, China's total CO₂ emissions would peak around the year 2047. According to the sensitivity analysis, carbon efficiency is the most important determining factor for whether a turning point in total CO₂ emissions may occur.