Econonomics of Energy and Environmental Policy

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Will China Lead the World into a Clean-energy Future?

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China became the world’s biggest energy consumer in 2009 and the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) two years earlier, having surpassed the United States on both counts. Driven by a strong economy, China will almost certainly see both of these facts reinforced in the years to come, despite its energy consumption and CO2 emissions per person still being lower than in several other countries. Recent global policy efforts have not moved the world from an unsustainable energy path that is leading us to energy insecurity and catastrophic climate change. How China produces and consumes energy will be central to how the energy sector develops globally, by the fact of its size and its capacity to drive innovation and commercialisation of the clean energy technologies that the world needs to adopt urgently. It may well be China that leads the world into a clean-energy future.
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JEL Codes:Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q13: Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness, Q56: Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

Keywords: China, Energy, Climate change

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.1.1.2

Published in Volume 1, Number 1 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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