Climate Change Research ›› 2020, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (3): 355-366.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2019.069

• Greenhouse Gas Emissions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Study on China’s long-term low carbon transition pathway under the urbanization process

Jun-Ling LIU1,2,Ke WANG3(),Qin-Rui XIAHOU3,Fang-Ming LIU3,Ji ZOU3,Ying KONG2,4   

  1. 1 School of Economics and Management, Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen), Shenzhen 518055, China
    2 Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
    3 School of Environment & Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
    4 Department of Economics, York University, Toronto M3J1P3, Canada
  • Received:2019-04-08 Online:2020-05-30 Published:2020-06-15
  • Contact: Ke WANG


As China’ economy enters the “new normal”, this paper develops a comprehensive analysis framework and socioeconomic-energy system model that interlinks demographic change and energy system in order to analyze the urbanization process and its relation with China’s long-term CO2 emissions trend. The results show that, toward 2050, around 300 million people are expected to migrate from rural area to urban area with a flow trend of people moving gradually from small and medium city groups to large and super city groups. The population migration trend together with the living standard improvement will promote China’s infrastructure construction, industry production and energy service demand growth. In the Business as Usual (BAU) scenario, in 2050, total primary energy consumption will reach 8.4 Gtce in China, energy related CO2 emissions will grow to 17.6 Gt, which is 83% higher than 2013 level. While in the Low Carbon Transition (LCT) scenario, with technology innovation, total primary energy demand for China in 2050 could be controlled at around 6.1 Gtce, CO2 emissions would peak during 2020-2025 and decline quickly to 78% lower than BAU scenario. In the transition process, non-fossil fuel power generation and energy efficiency technologies have the largest mitigation potentials, and industry and power sectors would peak first before 2020, followed by building and transport sectors which peak around 2030. The total additional capital investment required for low carbon transition would account for 1.5% of GDP, therefore not a huge burden for the whole economy. It is technologically and economically feasible for China to implement new urbanization strategy.

Key words: Urbanization, Population migration, Consumption demand, Low carbon transition, Bottom-up model

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