What Can China Do? China's Best Alternative Outcome for Energy Efficiency and CO2 Emissions

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After rapid growth in economic development and energy demand over the last three decades, China has undertaken energy efficiency improvement efforts to reduce its energy intensity under the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP). Since becoming the world's largest annual CO{sub 2} emitter in 2007, China has set reduction targets for energy and carbon intensities and committed to meeting 15% of its total 2020 energy demand with non-fossil fuel. Despite having achieved important savings in 11th FYP efficiency programs, rising per capita income and the continued economic importance of trade will drive demand for transport activity and fuel use. At the ... continued below

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G. Fridley, David; Zheng, Nina & T. Aden, Nathaniel July 1, 2010.

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After rapid growth in economic development and energy demand over the last three decades, China has undertaken energy efficiency improvement efforts to reduce its energy intensity under the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP). Since becoming the world's largest annual CO{sub 2} emitter in 2007, China has set reduction targets for energy and carbon intensities and committed to meeting 15% of its total 2020 energy demand with non-fossil fuel. Despite having achieved important savings in 11th FYP efficiency programs, rising per capita income and the continued economic importance of trade will drive demand for transport activity and fuel use. At the same time, an increasingly 'electrified' economy will drive rapid power demand growth. Greater analysis is therefore needed to understand the underlying drivers, possible trajectories and mitigation potential in the growing industrial, transport and power sectors. This study uses scenario analysis to understand the likely trajectory of China's energy and carbon emissions to 2030 in light of the current and planned portfolio of programs, policies and technology development and ongoing urbanization and demographic trends. It evaluates the potential impacts of alternative transportation and power sector development using two key scenarios, Continued Improvement Scenario (CIS) and Accelerated Improvement Scenario (AIS). CIS represents the most likely path of growth based on continuation of current policies and meeting announced targets and goals, including meeting planned appliance efficiency standard revisions, fuel economy standards, and industrial targets and moderate phase-out of subcritical coal-fired generation with additional non-fossil generation. AIS represents a more aggressive trajectory of accelerated improvement in energy intensity and decarbonized power and transport sectors. A range of sensitivity analysis and power technology scenarios are tested to evaluate the impact of additional actions such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and integrated mine-mouth generation. The CIS and AIS results are also contextualized and compared to model scenarios in other published studies. The results of this study show that China's energy and CO{sub 2} emissions will not likely peak before 2030, although growth is expected to slow after 2020. Moreover, China will be able to meet its 2020 carbon intensity reduction target of 40 to 45% under both CIS and AIS, but only meet its 15% non-fossil fuel target by 2020 under AIS. Under both scenarios, efficiency remains a key resource and has the same, if not greater, mitigation potential as new technologies in transport and power sectors. In the transport sector, electrification will be closely linked the degree of decarbonization in the power sector and EV deployment has little or no impact on China's crude oil import demand. Rather, power generation improvements have the largest sector potential for overall emission mitigation while mine-mouth power generation and CCS have limited mitigation potential compared to fuel switching and efficiency improvements. Comparisons of this study's results with other published studies reveal that CIS and AIS are within the range of other national energy projections but alternative studies rely much more heavily on CCS for carbon reduction. The McKinsey study, in particular, has more optimistic assumptions for reductions in crude oil imports and coal demand in its abatement scenario and has much higher gasoline reduction potential for the same level of EV deployment. Despite these differences, this study's scenario analysis of both transport and power sectors illustrate the necessity for continued efficiency improvements and aggressive power sector decarbonization in flattening China's CO{sub 2} emissions.

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  • Report No.: LBNL-4037E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/1000056 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1000056
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc835356

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • July 1, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • July 5, 2016, 1:49 p.m.

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G. Fridley, David; Zheng, Nina & T. Aden, Nathaniel. What Can China Do? China's Best Alternative Outcome for Energy Efficiency and CO2 Emissions, report, July 1, 2010; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc835356/: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.