Research progress of low carbon economy

In October 2006, entrusted by the British government, the British government economic adviser Stern led the compilation of the Stern report “The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Re-view”, which quantitatively assessed the impact of global warming on the economy, , and demonstrates that improving the trend of global warming is feasible both in terms of science and technology and economic burden, and the sooner action is taken, the lower the cost – 1% of the world’s annual GDP investment now can avoid future losses of 5% to 20% of annual GDP. The Stern report pointed out that improving energy efficiency, establishing a strong energy pricing mechanism, and developing new energy and carbon sequestration technologies are all feasible ways to transition to a low-carbon economy. McKinsey & Company released the research report “The Cost Curve of Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction” in February 2007, which explored the technical and cost issues of addressing climate change, and analyzes the greenhouse gas emission reduction potential and corresponding costs that can be achieved by various existing technologies.

The research results show that under the 2030 scenario, 75% of the emission reduction potential can be realized through mature technologies, and part of the emission reduction potential is even zero cost or negative cost. In 2004, Pacala and Socolow of Princeton University published the paper Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies in the journal Science, quantifying the greenhouse gas emission reduction potential of various technologies and proposing framework technical solutions. Scholars such as Jothston have discussed the technical possibility of greatly reducing carbon dioxide emissions from buildings in the UK, and believe that it is possible to use existing technologies to achieve a reduction of 80% on the basis of 1990 by the middle of the 21st century. Kinzig and Kammen propose a framework for analyzing the evolution of carbon emissions from the energy and industrial sectors across countries under different policies. Scholars such as Treffers discussed the possibility that Germany could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% based on 1990 levels by 2050, and proposed that good policy measures can promote the simultaneous realization of economic growth and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Scholars such as Kawase summarized three main factors that affect the change of carbon emissions: carbon dioxide intensity, energy efficiency and economic activity. He proposed that if the 60% to 80% emission reduction target is to be achieved, the overall rate of energy intensity improvement and CO2 intensity reduction must be 2 to 3 times faster than the rate of change in the previous 40 years.

In recent years, China’s research on low-carbon economy has also made progress. Zhuang Guiyang (2005) explained that China’s economy needs to take a low-carbon development path from two aspects of internal demand and external drive, and analyzed the possible ways and potentials of China’s low-carbon economic development. Pan Jiahua (2008) divides carbon emissions into carbon emissions for basic living needs and extravagant and wasteful carbon emissions, emphasizing carbon emissions for ensuring basic living needs, and proposes the concept of “carbon budget” for personal consumption emissions, in order to restrain consumption behavior. Zhang Shiqiu (2008) believes that low-carbon economy is a bridge connecting regional pollution control, climate change mitigation and sustainable development. She believes that to promote the development model of low-carbon economy, it is necessary to clarify the incentive mechanism for technological innovation and industrial development. At the same time, the reform and innovation of relevant environmental management systems are also the basic guarantee for promoting the development of low-carbon economy.

Ma Zhong (2008) believes that when China promotes the development of low-carbon economy, as long as the energy consumption structure is properly sorted out and adjusted, energy conservation and emission reduction can be well achieved on the basis of China’s existing energy technologies, without relying on technology transfer from Europe and the United States.

Zhang Kunmin (2008) believes that China is facing challenges such as energy endowment, development level, outstanding total volume and lock-in effect, and proposes strategies to deal with these challenges, advocating the construction of an energy strategy framework for sustainable development, persevering in energy conservation and emission reduction, vigorously developing renewable energy, and actively promoting the construction of nuclear power and the scientific development of alternative energy.

Fu Yun (2010) and others analyzed the urgency of developing a low-carbon economy in China from various aspects, and pointed out that the realization of a low-carbon economy should take low-carbon development as the direction, energy conservation and emission reduction as the development method, and carbon neutral technology as the development method.

Gong Jianwen (2009) believes that the optimal path to develop a low-carbon economy is energy efficiency, renewable energy, and circular economy. Promoting the development of a low-carbon economy also requires active strategic planning and countermeasures, especially policy and legal support and guarantees.

Wang Wenjun (2009) believes that low-carbon economy is an economic development paradigm that combines source control, process control, and goal control, and Industrial restructuring, increasing research and development efforts, carrying out international cooperation, strengthening publicity and other aspects of work are important measures to effectively achieve a low-carbon economy.

Jin Leqin et al. (2009) believed that as a developing country with large greenhouse gas emissions, China needs to constructively participate in the process of addressing climate change in the complex international political and economic environment, and actively prepare for the transition to a low-carbon economy in terms of development strategies, policy mechanisms, and technological innovation.

Zhuang Guiyang (2005) analyzed China’s future greenhouse gas emission trends and influencing factors, analyzed the obstacles and difficulties China faces in developing a low-carbon economy under the background of the global financial crisis, and proposed that China must establish a long-term mechanism for developing a low-carbon economy.

Jiang Keshi et al. (2009) used the IPAC model to design and analyze China’s future medium and long-term energy and greenhouse gas emission scenarios, and at the same time discussed the development path that China needs to achieve low-carbon scenarios.