Economic instruments for mitigating carbon emissions: scaling up carbon finance in China’s buildings sector

Abstract

The relevance and cost-effectiveness are key criteria for policymakers to select appropriate policy and economic instruments for reducing carbon emissions. Here we assess the applicability of carbon finance instruments for the improvement in building energy efficiency by adopting the high efficiency standards as well as advanced energy supply systems, building on a case study in a northern city in China. We find that upgrading the current Chinese BEE standard to one of the best practices in the world coupled with the state-of-the-art energy supply system implies an abatement cost at 16US$/tCO2, which is compatible with the international carbon market price. The institutional reorganization turns out to be indispensable to facilitate the implementation of the proposed scheme of local government-led energy efficiency programme in the form of programmatic CDM in China’s buildings sector. We show that with international support such as carbon finance, the BEE improvement will facilitate city’s transition to low-carbon supply in the longer term. More importantly, it is argued that demand-side energy performance improvement in buildings should be considered a prerequisite to shifting low-carbon energy supply technologies such as fuel-switching, renewable power generation and Carbon Capture and Storage to address climate mitigation in light of cost-effectiveness and environmental integrity.

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Li, J., Colombier, M. Economic instruments for mitigating carbon emissions: scaling up carbon finance in China’s buildings sector. Climatic Change 107, 567–591 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-010-9970-y

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Keywords

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Clean Development Mechanism
  • Carbon Finance
  • International Energy Agency
  • Clean Development Mechanism Project