Abstract for: Model-based Exploration of the Feasibility of China’s Climate Change Ambitions
China has pledged to take measures to reach a peak in its CO2 emissions around 2030 and to curtail the 2030 emission intensity of GDP compared to the 2005 level by at least 60%. With over 70% electricity generated from coal, the electric power industry is a focal area of emission reductions. In this study, a system dynamics model was used to explore the feasibility of realizing these ambitions under the current economic development plan and to identify leverage points for effective policy intervention. Our simulation results show that cutting down the emission intensity is easier to realize than reducing annual CO2 emissions. However, both targets are hard to meet, which means that without further policy intervention China may not be able to keep its commitments. Five policies are therefore tested here. Enforcing carbon capturing and storage systems in coal-fired power plants is found to be the most effective policy to stabilize CO2 emissions, although it was insufficient to meet the overall goal. All five policies together are sufficient though, even under deep uncertainty, for average annual GDP growth rates up to 7% between 2015 and 2050.