First, comparing annual average GDP growth over the period 2005–2020 in our policy scenario (SN1) and the business-as-usual scenario (BAU), we find that the impacts of the Copenhagen Accord on average annual GDP growth rates are very small, less than one tenth of a percentage point. USA, EU, Canada, Japan, the Russian Federation, as well as the Rest of the World (RoW) all experience a slight decline in growth rates. Perhaps counter intuitively, the GDP growth of both China and India increase slightly as the policy measures are introduced. The reason for this is that the pledges of China and India are fulfilled already in the BAU scenario due to rapid economic growth and efficiency improvement. This holds even though we have a lower economic growth for China in BAU than the other studies we compare with. Hence, the intensity targets of China and India are not binding in our Copenhagen Accord scenario. Also, the slightly constrained economic growth of other regions is not large enough to reduce their GDP by harming their export. Rather, when other large regions introduce stricter emission policies, the economies of China and India tends to grow because of cheaper fossil fuels and carbon leakage of high emitting industries.
Figure 3 shows the emissions levels in 2020 in the two scenarios (BAU and SN1) together with 2005 emissions. Only China and India emit more in the Copenhagen Accord scenario than in the BAU scenario since they have higher economic growth and only flexible targets of carbon intensity. The global emissions from fossil fuel combustion in 2020 decrease with 4.6 GtCO2 or 15 % compared with the baseline scenario, from 30.2 to 25.6 GtCO2.
The pledges are related to the base years 1990 or 2005. Even with the same base year and pledges the economic growth potentials of regions might differ and determine how strict the carbon policies are felt regionally. When looking at the reduction of emissions in 2020 compared with the BAU in 2020, Japan is by far undertaking the largest reduction with 38 %. Then follows EU with 30 %, Canada and USA with 22–24 % and the Russian Federation with a little less than 10 %. Having flexible targets, the emissions levels of China and India are relatively unpredictable. India is increasing its emissions by 5 %, which is far from complying with India’s pledge to reduce emissions to at least 7 % below BAU level in 2020, as BAU is depicted in our study. China’s emissions are only slightly increased to approximately 1 % above the BAU level in 2020.
The development of the regional emission intensities in the BAU and the policy scenario are shown in Fig. 4. Reductions in emissions intensity comes from energy efficiency improvements, fuel switch and structural changes in the economy. Moving away from more energy intensive industries towards service industries is a rapidly on-going process in developing countries with a high share of manufacturing as in China. We note that emission intensity reductions from the BAU to the policy scenario are quite considerable in most regions, in Japan in particular, while we detect a slight increase in emission intensity in China and India, although their pledges on energy intensity are still fulfilled. These increases reflect that China and India take a higher share of emission intensive industries like steel and cement in a global context, and that this effect on energy intensity of the Copenhagen Accord dominates the effect of an increased share of service industries in their slightly increased GDPs.Footnote 3
What are the costs for each region of implementing the Copenhagen Accord? Since China and India already meet their pledges of reduced energy intensity in the BAU scenario, there are no costs for them–they actually benefit from the implementation of the Copenhagen Accord in terms of an increase in GDP. The other regions may suffer to different extent from their pledges. This can be illustrated by virtual carbon market prices or marginal costs of carbon reduction by region in 2020, see Fig. 5. Japan has the highest marginal costs of reducing carbon emissions (114 USD/tCO2) and Russia has the lowest (10 USD/tCO2). The differences in marginal costs are moderate for the other four regions: EU, USA, Canada, and the rest of the world, all within the range of 21–27 USD/tCO2−
Interestingly, the cost of CO2 reductions in the US stays below the (hypothetical) upper limit (USD 25) of the quota price in the US carbon trading market. Hence, subsidies to keep emissions low may seem unnecessary, which is convenient for a debt ridden US economy.
Japan’s pledge involves almost 40 % reduction compared with the 2005 emission level. Japan is the only country expected to have a negative annual growth in primary energy use. In the IEA reference scenario the decline is 0.2 % per year. A reduction in primary energy use will initially hold back the costs of reducing CO2 emissions, but as ambitions for emissions reductions rise it will become increasingly expensive. The emission intensity in Japan’s BAU scenario is falling approximately 1 % per year–about the same as in EU, US and Canada, while in the policy scenario, Japan’s emission intensity is reduced 4.5 % per year on average, about as fast as China’s (Fig. 4). RoW represents countries with a low energy intensity, hence emissions reductions also turn out to be relatively expensive (23 USD/tCO2).
Generally, purchaser prices on fossil fuels differ across regions due to market regulations and regional policies with regard to taxes and subsidies. Figure 6 shows the effects on regional fossil fuel prices in 2020 in going from the BAU to the policy scenario. Prices are reduced relative to the BAU paths in all regions for all of the fossil fuels, generally most for coal, followed by gas and oil. China differs from the other regions in experiencing a lower reduction in coal and gas price growth as compared with the price reduction of oil. Also, the price reductions are less in China, Russia and India than in other regions, as demand for these fuels are reduced modestly or even increased as a consequence of the pledges made in the Copenhagen Accord. These costs occur in spite of the option to switch from fossil to non-fossil fuel as feedstock in electricity production. However, due to linear technologies in electricity production and sunk capital costs, this substitution effect is a time consuming process and does not offer an easy escape from mitigation costs during the time horizon of this study.
The fall in fuel prices encourage energy intensive industries in countries without binding emissions constraints even further. An illustration of this carbon leakage is shown in Fig. 7a, depicting changes in net export in value terms of steel and cement in 2020 going from the BAU scenario to the policy scenario (SN1). Figure 7b shows change in net export as a percentage of the BAU domestic production in 2020. We see that net export of steel is reduced in most countries, but increases in China, Russia and India. RoW is losing export markets, being less able to compete with more rapidly growing economies with high investment levels and capacities to phase in more efficient technologies. This occurs in spite of RoW experiencing larger reductions in regional prices of coal and gas than China, India and Russia. For cement the picture is more mixed, as cement is not traded globally to the same degree as steel.
Russia undertakes the largest expansion of steel exports relative to their BAU production in 2020, with more than 40 % increase. India comes next with nearly 30 % increase for steel and 25 % for cement. Leakages to China are also positive, but of a smaller relative size.