Abstract

Global climate change promotes the energy system reform. Achieving a high proportion of renewable energy becomes the major countries' energy strategy. As proposed in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), China intends to raise the proportion of non-fossil energy in primary energy consumption to about 20% by 2030. That ambitious goal means the non-fossil energy supplies by 2030 will be 7–8 times that of 2005, and the annual increase rate is more than 8% within the 25 years. Besides, the capacity of wind power, solar power, hydropower and nuclear power reaches 400 GW, 350 GW, 450 GW, and 150 GW respectively, and Chinas non-fossil power capacity is even greater than the U.S.s total power capacity. In addition, the scale of natural gas increases. Consequently, by 2030, the proportion of coal falls from the current 70% to below 50%, and the CO2 intensity of energy consumption decreases by 20% compared with the level of 2005, which play important roles in significantly reducing the CO2 intensity of GDP. Since China has confirmed to achieve the CO2 emissions peak around 2030, at that time, the newly added energy demand will be satisfied by non-fossil energy, and the consumption of fossil fuel will stop growing. By 2030, non-fossil energy accounts for 20%, and the large scale and sound momentum of new and renewable energy industry will support the growth of total energy demand, which plays a key role in CO2 emissions peaking and beginning to decline, and lays the foundation for establishing a new energy system dominated by new and renewable energy in the second half of the 21st century as well as finally achieving the CO2 zero-emission.

Keywords

Climate change; Non-fossil energy; CO2 emissions peak; Energy revolution

1. Introduction

Climate change is the greatest threat faced by the mankind. It jeopardizes the global ecological safety and the survival and development of human society. Actively combatting climate change becomes a world-wide consensus and common action. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report reinforces the conclusion that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activity is the major reason for current climate change, and proposes a carbon emissions reduction path under the goal to control the global temperature rise less than 2 °C. Global carbon emissions are expected to peak around 2020, to stay the same or fall by 40% compared with 2010 by 2030, to fall by 40%–70% by 2050, and to reach near-zero emissions by the end of the 21st century. However, according to the current emission-curbing commitments and development trends of the nations, there is an emissions reduction gap equal to 5–10 Gt of CO2 by 2020, and the global emissions rise by 30% against the level of 2010 by 2030. Consequently, the global temperature rises 3.7–4.8 °C by the end of the 21st century, which brings irreversible catastrophic consequences to natural ecology and human society (IPCC, 2014). Therefore, all countries must substantially reduce their emissions.

Fossil fuel consumption is both the major source of GHG emissions and an emissions reduction area closely related to economic and social development. In order to mitigate CO2 emissions while sustain the economic and social development, a fundamental reform have to be conducted on energy system. First, retarding the growth of energy demand while ensuring economic development through promoting energy conservation, energy use efficiency and economic benefits. Second, developing new and renewable energy such as hydropower, wind power, solar power, nuclear power, and biomass energy, improving energy mix, and cutting the share of coal, oil and other fossil energy to reduce CO2 emissions while securing energy supplies. These two aspects become the aim and main direction of current energy transition.

The COP21 climate conference in Paris at the end of 2015 will reach an agreement on post-2020 global climate regime. To facilitate a successful conference, countries report their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) successively. China releases its INDC, which includes varied goals to mitigate climate change, such as decreasing CO2 intensity of GDP, improving non-fossil energys share, peaking CO2 emissions, and increasing forest stock volume (Xinhua, 2014). The key to achieve these goals is promoting energy production and consumption revolution. China intends to raise the share of non-fossil fuel in primary energy to about 20% by 2030. It will accelerate the development of new and renewable energy, push the decarbonization of energy system and lay the foundation for forming a sustainable and low-carbon energy system dominated by new and renewable energy by the end of the 21st century. Consequently, the currently traditional high-carbon energy system based on fossil energy will be replaced, dependence on fossil fuel will be eliminated, and CO2 near-zero emission will be realized, which confirm to the global trend of energy reform against climate change.

2. High proportion of renewable energy: global trend of energy system reform

Low-carbon development becomes a global trend in addressing climate change, driving the revolutionary change in energy system. Apart from promoting energy conservation and energy efficiency, all countries actively develop new and renewable energy and alleviate their dependence on fossil fuel.

Decarbonizing energy mix is the fundamental countermeasure to reduce CO2 emissions without endangering energy supplies. The global nonaqueous renewable energy supplies including wind energy, solar energy, biomass energy and geothermal energy etc. increased to 3.3 times of the 2005 level in 2013 with an annual average growth of 16%, which was far above the growth rate of the worlds total energy consumption (2.2%). Compared with 2005, OECD countries' total energy consumption decreased 2.6%, with coal and oil consumption cut by 9.6% and 9.0% respectively, while consumption of natural gas and renewable energy grew by 11.6% and 180% respectively in 2013 (IEA, 2014 and BP, 2014). The EU aims to increase the share of renewable energy to 20% by 2020 and 27% by 2030. Germany intends to improve the proportion of renewable energy to 30% by 2030 and further to 60% by 2050, when 80% of its electricity will be supported by renewable energy. A tide of reform on substituting the traditional high-carbon energy system dominated by fossil energy with a new low-carbon energy system dominated by new and renewable energy appears throughout the world. Renewable energy technology and industry face a new rapidly-developing vista.

Natural gas is a kind of fossil fuel which is cleaner and more efficient than coal and oil and its CO2 intensity of energy is 40% less than that of coal, therefore, replacing coal with natural gas is also an important approach to decarbonize energy system. Because of the U.S.s breakthrough in shale gas development technology, its gas production rose by 25% and the share of gas in primary energy consumption increased to 30% from 25% in 2012 against the level of 2007. Consequently, the U.S.s coal consumption decreased 23.6% and the share of coal in primary energy fell from 24.3% to 19.8%. Besides, its CO2 intensity of energy, total energy consumption and total CO2 emissions were cut by 11.2%, 6.9% and 11.2% respectively (IEA, 2014 and BP, 2014). The reform trend in replacing fossil energy with new and renewable energy is increasingly apparent and accelerating all over the world. By the end of the 21st century, sustainable energy systems dominated by new and renewable energy have to be achieved and fundamental transformation of energy system ought to be completed globally so as to realize the near-zero CO2 emissions and hold the temperature rise no more than 2 °C.

Whats more, the current trend of world-wide energy reform is the fundamental approach to harmonious and sustainable development between human and nature. Since the industrial revolution, developed countries have excessively consumed the mineral resources and discharged wastes, which not only caused increasing resources shortage and serious environmental pollution, but also brought about the present ecocrisis of global climate change due to the accumulating CO2 emissions. Thus, there are no resources and environmental conditions for developing countries, with a population several times larger than developed countries, to achieve modernization by following the high-carbon development path supported by fossil fuel. The world urgently need the transition to man-and-nature harmonious eco-civilization and a green and low-carbon sustainable development path. The current energy system revolution featured by the replacement of fossil fuel with new and renewable energy is the fundamental way to promote the coordination of economic and social development and environment and resource protection (Rifkin, 2009).

The urgency of global climate change mitigation accelerates the world-wide energy reform and low-carbon development and brings fundamental reform on economic and social development mode, accompanied by fierce competition in economy, trade and technology. Advanced energy technology becomes a frontier and spotlight field in international technological competition and a high-tech industry which is strategically important for world powers, and produces new economic growth areas, markets and job opportunities. Low-carbon technology and development ability are becoming a nations core competitiveness. China has to implement the innovation-driven strategy, follow the global trend of energy reform, create competitive advantages of advanced energy technology and realize leapfrog development to build its own low-carbon development advantage and take a lead in the new energy system reform. Thus, China may take the initiative and lead in international cooperation on climate change action on the basis of its own sustainable development.

3. Twenty percents share of non-fossil energy: important for China to significantly reduce the CO2 intensity of GDP

China is still in rapid development of industrialization and urbanization. In the future for a rather long time, energy consumption and the related CO2 emissions will keep increasing with GDPs rapid growth. Thus, currently the main aim for mitigating CO2 emissions is to significantly reduce the CO2 intensity of GDP, which means to improve the economic output efficiency of per unit CO2 emissions. China proposed to cut CO2 emissions per unit GDP by 40%–45% by 2020 against the level of 2005 at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009. Moreover, the INDC released at the end of June intends to decrease the CO2 emissions per unit GDP by 60%–65% by 2030 compared with the level of 2005, and takes reducing CO2 intensity of GDP as an important point of entry for coordinating economic development and CO2 emissions mitigation, which calls for strengthened planning and deployment.

How to decrease the CO2 intensity of GDP? First, efforts need be made to save energy, improve energy efficiency and cut energy intensity of GDP. Second, China need develop new and renewable energy, promote energy mix, and reduce the CO2 intensity of energy consumption. Decreased CO2 intensity of GDP results from the superposition of the two factors. The annual decrease rate of CO2 intensity of GDP (γgc) approximately equals to the sum of the annual decrease rate of energy intensity of GDP (γge) and the annual decrease rate of CO2 intensity of energy consumption (γec) (He, 2014a), that is,

(1)

Reducing energy intensity of GDP is two-fold. One is technological energy conservation, which means to improve the technology efficiency of energy conversion and use; the other is structural energy conservation, which means to adjust and upgrade industry structure and direct the product value chain to high-end development. As Chinas technology advances, the gap on energy technology efficiency between China and developed countries shrinks, and the potential of technological energy conservation declines. With industrial structure change and technology upgrades, the contribution of structural energy conservation increases. In the future for a long time, the decrease rate of Chinas energy intensity of GDP will remain at around 3%.

Around 2030, as China enters the post-industrial society, its economy shows an interior growth, and the GDP growth slows down. Although the energy consumption elasticity (ɛ) keeps decreasing, the decline of energy intensity of GDP slackens. The target of a 60%–65% decrease of CO2 intensity of GDP by 2030 requires an annual decrease rate of 3.6%–4.1%. Apart from vigorously saving energy and reducing energy intensity of GDP, increasing the proportion of non-fossil energy and cutting the CO2 intensity of energy consumption play important roles. Around 2030, non-fossil energy accounts for 20%, in addition to the increased scale of natural gas, the CO2 intensity of energy consumption will fall by 20% compared with 2005, with an annual average of 0.86%. Based on rough calculation, its contribution rate of GDP to achieving the 60%–65% decrease of CO2 intensity reaches 25%–22%.

As the scale of non-fossil energy increases, the base grows. Meanwhile, it maintains a rapid increase. Therefore, under the condition that total energy demand grows slowly, the increment of total energy supply will basically come from non-fossil energy around 2030. Consequently, the decline of CO2 intensity of energy consumption is accelerated, and the rate of decline is likely to reach 1.2%–1.5% around 2030, which contributes more and more to reducing the CO2 intensity of GDP. Therefore, achieving a high proportion of non-fossil energy accelerates the decrease of CO2 intensity of GDP, and mitigates CO2 emissions with secure energy supplies.

4. Non-fossil energy accounts for around 20% by 2030: important guarantee for China to achieve the CO2 emissions peak

China proposes to reach the CO2 emissions peak around 2030 and make efforts to peak early in its INDC. Achieving that goal means an important turning point and milestone of Chinas low-carbon development path. Peaking of CO2 emissions implies economic and social development decouples from CO2 emissions, besides, GDP grows while CO2 emissions fall. Economic and social growth gradually gets rid of the dependence on fossil fuel, and man and nature develop harmoniously.

China intends to realize the CO2 emissions peak around 2030, which is earlier than the peaking time of developed countries in terms of development stage. Energy demand continues to increase at that time, but CO2 emissions no longer grow, which indicates the increment of energy demand will be met by adding non-fossil fuel supplies. CO2 emissions reach the peak on conditions that total fossil fuel consumption increases no more. Therefore, the sustainable development speed and scale of new and renewable energy industry become the key factors to determine the peaking time and amount of CO2 emissions.

Peaking of CO2 emissions need satisfy two basic conditions (He, 2014a), which can be roughly expressed as follows: the annual decrease rate of CO2 intensity of GDP (γgc) exceeds the annual growth rate of GDP (βg); and the annual decrease rate of CO2 intensity of energy (γec) is more than the growth rate of total energy demand (βe). That is,

(2)
(3)

CO2 emissions peaks of developed countries appeared after they had finished industrialization and urbanization. Their economic growth moved towards the interior type and GDP grew slowly with the general growth rate less than 3%. Plus, their energy consumption elasticity coefficients were small and energy demands increased slowly or tended to be stable. Moreover, they adjusted the energy mix. Those all made their CO2 emissions no longer increase. For example, the EU-15 attained the CO2 emissions peak in 1980. From 1980 to 1990, their CO2 intensity of GDP fell at annual rate of 2.96%, higher than the annual GDP growth rate of 2.39%; besides, owning to energy mix improvement, their CO2 intensity of energy consumption fell at an annual rate of 1.0%, higher than the annual energy consumption growth rate of 0.9%. Thus, their CO2 emissions showed a trend of gradual decline. Although the U.S. achieved the peaking of per capita CO2 emissions in 1973, the peak of total amount did not appear until 2005 due to its rapidly increasing population. Japans peaking of per capita and total CO2 emissions were both realized in 2005 (IEA, 2014 and He, 2014a).

China plans to reach the CO2 emissions peak around 2030, when its potential GDP growth rate is domestically believed to exceed 4%, which is higher than the peaking level of developed countries. Even if the energy intensity of GDP maintains a decrease rate above 3% and the energy consumption elasticity coefficient falls to around 0.3 (the level of peaking time of developed countries), the annual increase rate of energy demand around 2030 will be about 1.2%, which is higher than the peaking level of developed countries (He, 2014a). Therefore, China need stronger measures than developed countries to promote energy conservation and restructuring: while reducing the dependence of economic growth on energy supply increase, expediting energy mix decarbonization, and satisfying the increment of energy demand with new and renewable energy in order that fossil fuel consumption stop increasing and CO2 emissions peak. Non-fossil energy supplies will increase at an annual rate of 6%–8% when the time comes. Wind power, solar power and nuclear power will be added by 20 GW, 20 GW, and 10 GW respectively each year, which equals to more than 10 units of 5-MW-sized wind turbines daily or 8–10 sets of GW-sized nuclear power plants annually go into operation. The increment of total energy demand is satisfied by increasing non-fossil energy supplies, so that fossil fuel consumption stops growing and begins to decrease (DRCSC and Shell, 2013 and He, 2015). It is implied that Chinas development in new and renewable energy will far exceed developed countries in terms of speed and scale in the future. Because energy infrastructure construction and utilization both have a long circle and technology locked-in effects, forward-looking planning and deployment are wanted to carry out them step by step during the 13th, 14th, and 15th Five-Year Plan (FYP) periods.

Around 2030 after CO2 emissions peak, the increasing energy demand with economic and social development will be met by non-fossil energy. Thus, the objective of a 20% share of non-fossil energy around 2030 supports the peaking of CO2 emissions. When the time comes, the base of new and renewable energy industry tends to be perfect, new energy technology is mature, and the cost declines to be competitive with conventional fuel. Promising prospects and good momentum for development will be shown. If non-fossil energy supply increases at an annual rate of 6%–8%, total energy supplies will grow by 1.2%–1.5% annually, which is able to support an annual GDP growth rate of more than 4%. Therefore, non-fossil energy development plays a key role in achieving the peaking of CO2 emissions on the premise of ensuring sustainable economic development.

5. Twenty percents non-fossil fuel by 2030: China needs herculean efforts to achieve

Developing new and renewable energy and decarbonizing energy mix have been the important contents of Chinas energy revolution. China proposed to raise the proportion of non-fossil fuel in primary energy from 6.8% in 2005 to 15% by 2020 at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009. That goal can be achieved with an effort because the proportion has reached 11.2% in 2014. Whats more, China aims to raise the proportion to around 20% in its INDC, which is an ambitious objective and calls for more efforts.

Chinas total energy consumption equaled 4.26 Gtce in 2014 and it reaches about 6 Gtce by 2030 in spite of the future active energy saving measures. Achieving a 20% share of non-fossil energy means a non-fossil energy supply of 1.2 Gtce, which is about 2.6 times that of 2014 (0.47 Gtce) (NBSC, 2014) and equals the total energy consumption of Japan, UK and France. The installed capacity of new and renewable energy reaches 1300 GW by 2030 (equals the U.S.s total installed power capacity at present), of which the generation capacity of hydropower, wind power, solar power and nuclear power is 450 GW, 400 GW, 350 GW and 150 GW respectively (He, 2014b and He, 2015). Non-fossil energy displaces more than 1.6 Gt of coal and reduce over 3 Gt of CO2 emissions. The share of natural gas rises to around 15% while that of coal falls to below 50% by 2030, and decarbonization of energy mix cuts the CO2 intensity of energy by 17% against the level of 2013 and by 20% against 2005. New and renewable energy continues to grow fast after 2030, supporting CO2 emissions peaking and decreasing. Non-fossil fuel need to account for 1/3–1/2 by 2050 so as to lay the foundation for building the new energy system dominated by new and renewable energy in the second half of 21st century (He, 2014b).

Because of energy and resources endowment and other factors, coal accounts for about 70% in Chinas primary energy, while the energy consumption of developed countries and the world average mainly depends on oil and gas. In 2013, the proportions of oil, gas, non-fossil fuel and coal were 32.7%, 23.8%, 13.3% and 30.2% respectively all over the world, and those of OECD countries were 37.1%, 26.3%, 17.4% and 19.2% respectively, while those of China were 17.0%, 5.2%, 9.8% and 68.0%. Thus, Chinas CO2 intensity of energy was 34% higher than OECD countries and 22% higher than the world average (IEA, 2014, BP, 2014 and NBSC, 2014). China faces more arduous tasks in energy mix low-carbon transformation than developed countries due to its specific energy mix. China promotes energy revolution and accelerates energy restructuring in order to continuously improve the share of non-fossil energy and keep decreasing the proportion of coal—below 60% by 2020, less than 50% by 2030 and around 30% by 2050, and will finally realize the fundamental transformation of energy system (He, 2014b).

Energy demand tends to stabilize in post-industrial developed countries. They can displace coal and other fossil fuel to reduce the CO2 emissions by developing new and renewable energy. However, Chinas energy demand still grows. Its new and renewable energy development has to satisfy the increment of energy consumption before substituting stock is possible. Although China leads the world in investment scale, new supplies and increase rate in new and renewable energy development, its increment of total energy consumption cannot be satisfied due to its low ratio and small base of new and renewable energy. Therefore, its fossil fuel consumption will increase and the CO2 emissions will keep rising for some time. The U.S. proposed to cut CO2 emissions in the electricity sector by 32% by 2030 against the level of 2005, which can be realized by replacing only 150 GW coal power plants with non-fossil energy and natural gas thanks to its basically stable electricity need in the future. While the U.S. need to add 100–200 GW non-fossil energy capacity from 2011 to 2030, China increases about 1000 GW for the same period, which is over 5 times more than that of the U.S. However, because Chinas electricity demand almost doubles, its CO2 emissions in the electricity sector will still grow about 30% (He, 2015). Features of the current development stage bring China a bigger challenge in combatting climate change and reducing CO2 emissions. Therefore, China need more efforts and stronger measures than others to promote energy reform, achieving the leapfrog development of new energy technology and industry.

6. Energy technology innovation and energy system reform: important guarantee for China to achieve its INDC

The INDC proposed by China will further promote the process of its energy production and consumption revolution and effectively cut emissions of conventional pollutants such as SO2, NOx and dust apart from reducing CO2 emissions. Especially, achieving the peaking of CO2 emissions and the objective on improving the proportion of non-fossil fuel will effectively control total coal consumption and radically reduce the sources of environmental pollution. Therefore, INDC can be regarded as the composite indicator and key point on saving energy, improving energy mix, protecting ecological environment and addressing climate change, guiding the formation of a new mechanism to transform economic development towards green and low carbon growth. Besides, only achieving the transformation of economic development from extensive-expansion growth with high energy consumption and high carbon emissions toward innovation-driven and interior growth with low energy consumption and low carbon emissions, can the growth rate of energy demand be effectively reduced and CO2 emissions are mitigated in the process of sustainable social and economic development. Therefore, actively promoting energy production and consumption revolution is not only a strategic choice following the global trend, but also an important driving force for domestic economic development transition. Moreover, its the fundamental guarantee for the realization of INDC.

Currently Chinas economic developments enter a new normal of transformation and upgradation as well as quality and efficiency promotion. GDP grows slowly, and more attention is paid to the quality and benefit of economic development, and the coordination and sustainability between economic and social development and environment and resource protection. Instead of the extensive expansion growth mode supported by inputting resources and production factors, the economic development shifts to an innovation-driven and interior type. The transition will reduce the increase rate of energy demand largely. The average growth rate of energy consumption was 6.0% during the 11th FYP and 4.0% during the 12th FYP. It may decrease to 3.0% in anticipation that the GDP growth rate falls back to about 7% during the 13th FYP. Further, it may gradually drop to below 2% from 2020 to 2030. Since the growth rate of energy demand slows down, renewable energy will dominate the total energy supplies increase. New and renewable energy accounted for 60% of the newly added power capacity and 75% of the new power plant investment in 2013, showing a gradually increasing trend (CERS, 2014). Coal consumption becomes saturated gradually in the 13th FYP, and oil consumption tends to peak around 2030, making CO2 emissions peak. In a word, the new normal of economic development helps to accelerate energy mix transition towards a green and low-carbon mode.

Chinas energy revolution needs the support of technology innovation. While enhancing the research and development (R&D) and industrialization of renewable energy technology on solar power, wind power and biofuels etc., the development of energy storage, smart grid and distributed energy system need strengthening so as to promote the absorptive and transmission and distribution capacity for connecting high-proportion renewable power onto the grid and ensure the grids secure and stable operation. Currently its costly to generate electricity by renewable power, so feed-in tariff is carried out while the gird purchases electricity generated by renewable energy in full amount. However, on the long run, the cost has to be reduced, trying to achieve gird parity around 2020 and making renewable power compete with traditional power. In the transition towards sustainable and low-carbon energy system, nuclear power has an irreplaceable role. As nuclear energy has mature technology, stable operation and high load factor as well as competitive cost, it can act as the base load and support the grids steady operation. China intends to achieve an almost 20% share of non-fossil energy by 2030, among which nuclear power accounts for over 25%. The operational capacity of nuclear power reaches 120–150 GW, which replaces nearly 0.5 Gt of coal and reduces about 0.9 Gt of CO2 emissions. The new nuclear power units adopt the advanced third-generation technology and the worlds most stringent safety standards, so the security of large-scale development of nuclear power is guaranteed.

While actively altering the energy mix, importance also need to be attached to the development of CO2 capture and storage (CCS) technology. Coal will dominate Chinas primary energy for a long time, and its share still accounts for about 50% by 2030. Under the urgent global emissions reduction targets and high carbon price, apart from clean and efficient utilization of coal, CCS technology is an important alternative around 2030. The CO2 storage capacity may range from several hundred million to 1 billion tons annually, playing a significant role in realizing the long-term objective of CO2 emissions reduction. Therefore, efforts should be made to advance the R&D and demonstration projects of CCS. Natural gas is cleaner, more efficient and low-carbon than coal among fossil fuel, and its CO2 intensity of energy is 40% lower than coal. Thus, technology breakthroughs in conventional and unconventional gas development also play an important role in improving energy mix (Han et al., 2012 and Du, 2014).

In terms of domestic need, energy revolution aims at energy conservation, environment improvement and energy security guarantee to sustain the economic and social development. Global climate change mitigation attaches more importance to decarbonization of energy supply and consumption systems and goals and measures on reducing CO2 emissions. China needs to combine these two aspects in promoting energy reform. Establishing efficient, safe, clean and low-carbon energy supply and consumption systems is the strategic thoughts and overall target on energy reform to coordinate domestic sustainable development and global climate change mitigation.

To achieve the INDC, China needs further reform and establish a favorable system and mechanism for low-carbon development. The state as well as provinces and municipalities should implement strategies on climate change mitigation, improve the governance system on addressing climate change, and enhance the capability to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The binding targets for controlling CO2 emissions should be included in the national as well as provinces' and municipalities' five-year plans for economic and social development and annual plans, so as to intensify the target responsibility system for saving energy and cutting CO2 emissions for governments at all levels, implement corporate social responsibility and encourage public participation. Besides, China need create a low-carbon development mode, accelerate industrial restructuring, transformation and upgradation, advance the development of high-tech industry and modern services, and curb the export and development of raw material industry characterized by high energy consumption, high pollution and high emissions, in order that the CO2 emissions of the industrial sector peak early, and the energy intensity of the value added decreases more rapidly than the energy intensity of GDP, which help to build a low-carbon industrial system. Whats more, China need make efforts to reform and improve the taxation and financing policy system, energy products pricing mechanism and resource and environment tax institution for low-carbon development, and strengthen energy market mechanism reform. Fossil fuel subsidies should be canceled step by step so as to encourage the technology innovation and industrial development of renewable energy. Based on the five cities plus two provinces carbon emissions trading pilot, a unified national carbon trading market should be set up so that the value of the space and quota of carbon emissions—scarce resource and factor of production—is reflected through market mechanism, and business investment and social capital go to energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. Whats more, low-carbon lifestyles and consumption patterns need be encouraged, standards on energy efficiency and emissions for construction and transportation sectors need be intensified, unreasonable energy demand need be restrained, and the low-carbon urbanization pathway with Chinese characteristics need be explored. Last but not the least, China would strengthen the international cooperation on combating climate change, especially South–South cooperation, so as to actively advance the global action on climate change mitigation and contribute to safeguarding the earths ecological security (He, 2015 and Han et al., 2012).

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