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  • Author: Dong-Hyeok Kwon, Alistair Ritchie
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Emissions trading systems (ETS) are increasingly being introduced as a way of cost-effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet ambitious national climate change targets, including Nationally Determined Contributions and net-zero long-term goals under the Paris Agreement. A key concern for governments and industry, however, is how to protect industry’s global competitiveness and prevent “carbon leakage”, that is, the transfer of production to world regions with less ambitious climate policies that would lead to an increase in total emissions. To address this concern, ETS allowances are typically allocated for free to greenhouse gas (GHG)-intensive or trade-intensive industries at risk of carbon leakage. The type of free allocation design is important because it directly impacts on the financial performance of companies. It also determines how companies are rewarded. Those that have invested more in GHG reduction technologies will be rewarded better under a benchmark (BM)-based allocation approach, where allocation is based on the level of production multiplied by an emissions intensity benchmark. Those that have invested less in such technologies will be rewarded better under a grandfathered approach, where allocation is based on historic emissions. However, while BM-based allocation is generally regarded as a fairer method, it is also considered more difficult to design and implement. This Asia Society Policy Institute issue paper, Developing Effective Benchmark-Based Allocation for Industrial Sectors: The Case of the Korean ETS, shows how BM-based allocation has been successfully implemented for some of Korea’s most important industrial sectors, steel and petrochemicals. It provides valuable insights and recommendations for other countries to develop an effective allocation system in a timely and efficient way.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Trade, Carbon Emissions, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: David B. Sandalow
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: China is the world’s leading emitter of heat-trapping gases, by far. In 2019, Chinese emissions were greater than emissions from the United States, the European Union, and Japan combined. There is no solution to climate change without China. China’s response to climate change is a study in contrasts. China leads the world in solar power, wind power, and electric vehicle deployment, but also in coal consumption. The Chinese government has adopted some of the world’s most ambitious energy efficiency and forest conservation policies, but is financing a significant expansion of coal-fired power plant capacity at home and abroad. China’s leaders are strongly committed to the Paris Agreement, but appear to attach less priority to climate change than in years past. This Issue Paper explores these contrasts. It does so at an important time in Chinese climate change policy. During the next 18 months, the Chinese government will spend heavily on economic stimulus measures, release its 14th Five-Year Plan (for 2021–2025), and develop short- and long-term climate action plans (known as its “updated nationally-determined contributions” and “mid-century strategy” in the terminology of the global U.N. climate process). Decisions by the Chinese government will reverberate globally, including in the United States. A Biden administration’s ambition in addressing climate change would be reinforced by ambition in China. This Issue Paper provides an up-to-date snapshot of China’s climate policies, drawing on data from 2019 and the beginning of 2020 (during the height of the COVID-19 economic lockdown), as well as recent remarks by Chinese leaders. It starts by examining Chinese emissions of heat-trapping gases. It then discusses China’s principal climate policies, explaining the main tools the Chinese government uses to address climate change and related topics. The Issue Paper concludes with a discussion of processes that will shape Chinese climate change policy in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Economy, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Asia, United States of America