Decoupling China's carbon emissions increase from economic growth: An economic analysis and policy implications

ZX Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

198 Citations (Scopus)


As the world's second largest carbon emitter, China has long been criticized as a "free-rider" benefiting from other countries' efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but not taking responsibility for its own emissions. China has been singled out as one of the major targets at the subsequent negotiations after the Kyoto meeting. Bq analyzing the historical contributions of interfuel switching, energy conservation, economic growth and population expansion to China's CO2 emissions during 1980 -97, this article clearly demonstrates that the above criticism is unjustified. Moreover, given the fact that the role of China is an issue of perennial concern at the international climate change negotiations, the article envisions some efforts and commitments that could be expected from China until its per capita income catches lip with the level of middle-developed countries. By emphasizing the it win-win strategies, these efforts and commitments are unlikely to jeopardize China's economic development and, at the same time, would give the country more leverage at the international climate change negotiations subsequent to the Buenos sires meeting. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-752
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2000


  • China
  • energy
  • carbon dioxide emissions
  • CGE model
  • environmental policy
  • climate change

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