In the project’s final output, the book The Economics of Climate Change in China: Towards a Low-Carbon Economy (Earthscan), leading Chinese and international thinkers map out a deep carbon reduction scenario, analyse economic policies that shift carbon use, and show how China can dramatically reduce its carbon emissions over the next 40 years while maintaining high economic growth and minimising adverse economic effects

Project background
Thirty years of successful Chinese economic growth has come at a price. The same growth that has lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty – and contributed to global economic growth – has brought costs for global society. The choices made by China in its quest for further development will therefore matter: not only to China domestically, and to other developing countries looking to China as a developmental role model, but to the entire global community.

Central to this project laid a conviction that a shift to a low-carbon economy can potentially generate political and economic benefits, as well as increased global security. The global transition to a healthy low-carbon economy is dependant on mutual international responsibility. The cost of cutting carbon emissions must be globally shared, and the need of creating a forum for boarder-crossing dialogue is imperative.

Project idea
The idea behind the project was to inform Chinese and international policy developers on the importance of macroeconomic and trade policies as drivers of climate mitigation. The project also facilitated informal contact between mainstream and environmental economists, as well as environmental experts, scientists and policy makers, for research and dialogue on the economics of climate change.

The initiative was built around a core team of twenty economists, ten Chinese economists involved in China’s economic reform policies, and ten international economists with influence on climate change policies at the global level.

Long-term aims include:

  • Position the climate change issue as opportunity-driven on the policy agenda of the Chinese government and the international community.
  • Encourage China and international partners to join together in climate mitigation through the adoption of a low-carbon economy concept.
  • Develop a global platform for collaboration between developing and developed countries on low-carbon economic development, where China would play an important role.