Main content area

Co-benefit of carbon mitigation on resource use in China

Wang, Heming, Dai, Hancheng, Dong, Liang, Xie, Yang, Geng, Yong, Yue, Qiang, Ma, Fengmei, Wang, Jian, Du, Tao
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.174 pp. 1096-1113
carbon, carbon dioxide, economic development, energy, fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions, minerals, models, pollution control, wastes, China
On one hand, natural resources and energy provide the basis for life on earth, but waste and emissions are produced during their throughput on the other hand. China, as the most populous country and an emerging economic powerhouse, has taken on the challenge of hitting peak carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030. Pursuing resource co-benefits from carbon mitigation is an effective approach for China on the road to achieving the 2030 goal. In this study, we combine the computable general equilibrium (CGE) model and the economy-wide material flow accounts or analysis (EW-MFA) method to estimate China's future CO2 emissions and resource consumption, and their co-benefit effect. Three scenarios are analyzed: business as usual (BaU), nationally determined contributions (NDC), and the scenario of achieving the 2-degree target (2deg). We find that both the NDC and 2deg targets can be achieved by 2030 without a significant compromise in economic growth. With the effect of carbon mitigation, China's resource consumption would rise by a factor of 1.7 (BaU), 1.6 (NDC), and 1.5 (2deg) during 2012–2030, and the reduction in co-benefits of metal ores, nonmetallic minerals, and fossil fuels would be 0.6 billion tons and 1.4 billion tons, 0.8 billion tons and 2.0 billion tons, and 2.6 billion tons and 4.6 billion tons for NDC and 2deg, respectively. Sectoral disparity indicates that sectors with high emissions and resource consumption include traditional heavy industrial sectors and energy-related sectors, for which additional mitigation policies should be employed, not only because they offer the most co-benefit effects, but they also have the least cost.