January 9, 2011

Assessing China’s Carbon Intensity Pledge for 2020: Stringency and Credibility Issues and their Implications

by ZhongXiang Zhang

- Just prior to the Copenhagen climate summit, China pledged to cut its carbon intensity by 40-45% by 2020 relative to its 2005 levels to help to reach an international climate change agreement at Copenhagen or beyond. This raises the issue of whether such a pledge is ambitious or just represents business as usual. To put China’s climate pledge into perspective, this paper examines whether this proposed carbon intensity goal for 2020 is as challenging as the energy-saving goals set in the current 11th five-year economic blueprint, to what extent it drives China’s emissions below its projected baseline levels, and whether China will fulfill its part of a coordinated global commitment to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere at the desirable level.

Zhang, Z. (2010). "Assessing China’s Carbon Intensity Pledge for 2020: Stringency and Credibility Issues and their Implications." FEEM Note di lavoro No. 2010.158, Dec 2010.