Modeling of power sector decarbonization in China: comparisons of early and delayed mitigation towards 2-degree target


To address the 2-degree target, rapid decarbonization for China’s power sector would be essential in the coming decades. This paper attempts to assess the impact of early and delayed mitigation efforts for China’s power sector with the application of China TIMES model. With the introduction of carbon budget, CO2 mitigation pathways and corresponding energy transition routes have been generated through scenario runs, then mitigation potential and key challenges of the power sector have been analyzed. The key findings are the following: (1) in both early and delayed 2-degree scenarios, the power sector is expected to achieve negative emissions by mid-century, and over 60% of cumulative CO2 mitigation is required comparing with current policies scenario; (2) in addition to the promotion of new and renewable energy, rapid phase-out of coal-fired power plants and the deployment of biomass CCS technology would also be essential to achieve the 2-degree target; (3) recent investment in new coal-fired plants could cause carbon lock-in in the long term, over 1000 GW of plants may be early retired during 2030–2050, leading to great economic losses; (4) the deployment of biomass CCS technology plays a vital role in meeting the severe mitigation challenge, in early and delayed 2-degree scenarios, a total of 9.9 and 11.7 Gt of negative emissions could be achieved respectively from 2010 to 2050.

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Correspondence to Wenying Chen.

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This article is part of a Special Issue on “National Low-Carbon Development Pathways” edited by Roberto Schaeffer, Valentina Bosetti, Elmar Kriegler, Keywan Riahi, Detlef van Vuuren, and John Weyant

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Wang, H., Chen, W., Zhang, H. et al. Modeling of power sector decarbonization in China: comparisons of early and delayed mitigation towards 2-degree target. Climatic Change (2019) doi:10.1007/s10584-019-02485-8

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