The prospects of China's long-term economic development and CO2 emissions under fossil fuel supply constraints

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-22
Journal / PublicationResources, Conservation and Recycling
Online published8 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


This paper presents an energy-environment-economy model that described technology-specific information and integrated resource depletion to simulate China's long-term CO2 emissions and economic development under fossil fuel supply constraints towards 2050. The modeling approach and findings not only support the theoretical of relationship between physical resources depletion and economic growth to some extent, but also provide practical significance for policy making that can be shared with other developing countries. The results indicate that energy supply constraints will play a crucial role in China's future economic development, causing a 7.9% decrease in GDP compared to the 2050 baseline and a peak of CO2 emissions at 11.2 Gt around 2034 under a resource constraint scenario, which can be considered as a new baseline considering fossil fuel depletion. Moreover, under a low carbon scenario considering low carbon measures, economic growth is less dependent on fossil fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions will peak earlier in 2030, and the negative impact on GDP from finite fossil fuel supply can be alleviated by 5.5% by 2050. The low carbon scenario is a good way to achieve both CO2 mitigation and low-carbon growth, which may lead to a complete restructuring of the China's energy-economic system. To achieve the economic restructure towards low carbon economy, Chinese government should take into account the crucial role of fossil fuels supply constraints, set reasonable and moderate future GDP growth targets, and strictly implement the low carbon measures including accelerating technical progress, non-fossil fuel development, energy structure improvement and the upgrading of industrial structure and household consumption patterns.

Research Area(s)

  • CO2 emissions, Computable general equilibrium, Economic growth, Fossil fuel supply constraints, Low carbon