The long-term decarbonisation of economies represents a formidable challenge, as it implies transformations in infrastructures, technologies, business models as well as institutions and regulations. Its feasibility also hinges on successful transitions of the work force and communities around activities unsettled by ambitious climate mitigation policy.
For China, the first global emitter of greenhouse gases and a rapidly growing economy, long-term decarbonisation implies many uncertainties, challenges and opportunities. Important policy decisions (the shift from an export-oriented to a domestic-consumption growth model, the development of the One Belt One Road project), ‘mega-trends’ (an ageing population, rapid urbanisation, digitisation…) and local environmental factors (severe air and water quality problems), among others, stand to influence the needed shift to a low-carbon development model. In reverse, the mid-century strategy to decarbonise the country has to be seen in the context of its broader economic challenges, and as a part to their solution. The 19th Party Congress has reiterated the goal of an ecological society, echoing the country’s support to international climate action and the Paris Agreement.
The purpose of this workshop was to explore the important aspects of the transition to a low-carbon economy in China, and in particular how economic analysis can shed light on the interaction between these multiple factors and how they can combine to support the transition.