Peak CO2? China’s Emissions Trajectories to 2050

Publication Type

Report

Date Published

06/2011

LBNL Report Number

LBNL-4871E

Abstract

As a result of soaring energy demand from a staggering pace of economic growth and the related growth of energy-intensive industry, China overtook the United States to become the world's largest contributor to CO2 emissions in 2007. At the same time, China has taken serious actions to reduce its energy and carbon intensity by setting both short-term energy intensity reduction goal for 2006 to 2010 as well as long-term carbon intensity reduction goal for 2020. This study focuses on a China Energy Outlook through 2050 that assesses the role of energy efficiency policies in transitioning China to a lower emission trajectory and meeting its intensity reduction goals.

In the past years, LBNL has established and significantly enhanced the China End-Use Energy Model based on the diffusion of end-use technologies and other physical drivers of energy demand. This model presents an important new approach for helping understand China's complex and dynamic drivers of energy consumption and implications of energy efficiency policies through scenario analysis. A baseline ("Continued Improvement Scenario") and an alternative energy efficiency scenario ("Accelerated Improvement Scenario") have been developed to assess the impact of actions already taken by the Chinese government as well as planned and potential actions, and to evaluate the potential for China to control energy demand growth and mitigate emissions.

It is a common belief that China's CO2 emissions will continue to grow throughout this century and will dominate global emissions. The findings from this research suggest that this will not likely be the case because of saturation effects in appliances, residential and commercial floor area, roadways, railways, fertilizer use, and urbanization will peak around 2030 with slowing population growth. The baseline and alternative scenarios also demonstrate that the 2020 goals can be met and underscore the significant role that policy-driven energy efficiency improvements will play in carbon mitigation along with a decarbonized power supply through greater renewable and non-fossil fuel generation.

Year of Publication

2011

Institution

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Research Areas