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Beyond the ‘Green Economy’: China’s Path to Sustainability

About the Project

Our goal is to understand the context of China’s energy economy, decision-making process and (even) social mores. This understanding will enable the collection of relevant and accurate data both to feed analysis and drive the interpretation of model outputs. The project aims to analyze and assess information to obtain policy relevant insights. Its focus is on investigating the global consequences of changes to energy markets within China.

The overall objective is to combine an understanding of the fundamentals of China’s energy economy, derived from KAPSARC’s Energy Model for China, and of the policy landscape, through the construction of the KAPSARC Energy Policy Database. The two platforms and the associated knowledge can then be used to answer a range of questions around the reform of China’s energy sector, ultimately leading to an informed view on the future of China’s energy mix.

In line with KAPSARC’s overall objectives, the aim is to produce policy relevant insights that may assist actors outside China to understand the consequences of decisions taken by actors in China.

The Energy Workshop Series supports the overall project by providing a space for a continuing dialogue that raises the key issues, provides feedback on current work and can set future directions. In addition, the workshops are an open collaborative forum that enables the discussion of particular questions that feed into the overarching research agenda.

Key Points

While developed economies plan their transition from a ‘brown economy’ to a ‘green economy’, China is embarking on its journey directly to the ‘golden economy’—a future in which energy, water and land use are harmonized with social and economic needs, including meaningful employment in areas with good housing and services.

It is an ambitious vision and success will likely depend on:

- understanding how transitions take place in practice;

- making the right trade-off between greater wealth and greater equality;

- internalizing the many market externalities that currently challenge China’s development; and

- being prepared to learn lessons from both the East and the West.

Success seems more likely if ‘eco-concepts’ can be incorporated into daily life, through people’s jobs, houses, and their relationship with energy.

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