FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2009 .045

Is It Fair to Treat China as a Christmas Tree to Hang Everybody’s Complaints? Putting its Own Energy Saving into Perspective


Authors: ZhongXiang Zhang
Series: Energy: Resources and Markets
Editor: Carlo Carraro
Type: Journal
Keywords: Energy Saving,Renewable Energy,Post-Kyoto Climate Negotiations,Clean Development Mechanism,China,USA
JEL n.: Q42,Q48,Q53,Q54,Q58
JEL: Forthcoming in Energy Economics

Abstract

China had been the world’s second largest carbon emitter for years. However, recent studies show that China had overtaken the U.S. as the world’s largest emitter in 2007. This has put China on the spotlight, just at a time when the world community starts negotiating a post-Kyoto climate regime under the Bali roadmap. China seems to become such a Christmas tree on which everybody can hang his/her complaints. This paper first discusses whether such a critics is fair by examining China’s own efforts towards energy saving, the widespread use of renewable energy and participation in clean development mechanism. Next, the paper puts carbon reductions of China’s unilateral actions into perspective by examining whether the estimated greenhouse gas emission reduction from meeting the country’s national energy saving goal is achieved from China’s unilateral actions or mainly with support from the clean development mechanism projects. Then the paper discusses how far developing country commitments can go in an immediate post-2012 climate regime, thus pointing out the direction and focus of future international climate negotiations. Finally, emphasizing that China needs to act as a large and responsible developing country and take due responsibilities and to set a good example to the majority of developing countries, the paper articulates what can be expected from China to illustrate that China can be a good partner in combating global climate change.

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