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Study of the potential of low carbon energy development and its contribution to realize the reduction target of carbon intensity in China

Li, Hong-qiang, Wang, Li-mao, Shen, Lei, Chen, Feng-nan
Energy policy 2012 v.41 pp. 393-401
carbon, carbon dioxide, climate change, economic development, economic structure, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, investment policy, China
Appraising low carbon energy potential in China and studying its contribution to China's target of cutting CO₂ emissions by 40–45% per unit of GDP by 2020 is crucial for taking countermeasures against climate change and identifying low carbon energy development strategies. This paper presents two scenarios and evaluates the development potential for low carbon energy and its various sources. Based on the evaluation, we analyze how low carbon energy contributes to achieving China's national target of carbon intensity reduction. We draw several conclusions from the analysis. First, low carbon energy will contribute 9.74% (minimum) to 24.42% (maximum) toward the 2020 carbon intensity target under three economic development schemes. Second, the contribution will decrease when the GDP growth rate increases. Third, to maintain the same contribution with high GDP growth rates, China should not only strengthen its investment and policy stimulation for low carbon energy but also simultaneously optimize economic structures and improve carbon productivity.