China can achieve low carbon growth, say Sussex researchers

China's economy could grow more than 10 times by 2050 yet its emission growth can stay consistent with intergovernmental targets, according to University of Sussex researchers.

China can also reverse its emissions growth as early as 2020, conclude Dr Tao Wang and Dr Jim Watson from the Sussex Energy Group (SEN) in their latest report on China's energy transition.

The report, a joint project between the SEN at Spru, University of Sussex, and the Tyndall Centre For Climate Change Research, was launched in Beijing on 29 April.

Drs Watson's and Tang's analysis shows that decoupling the growth of carbon emissions from economic development is challenging but achievable in China. It reveals the various pathways that will lead to low carbon development in China.

The report comes at a time when the world is trying to reconcile the twin imperatives of both fighting against global recession and climate change. As world leaders are talking up the possibility of investing in low carbon industries to create jobs and pull the global economy out of recession, this research shows how to connect these two targets into an integrated strategy for the energy and economic development of China.

"There are some common conclusions arising from the analysis," said Dr Wang.  "For example, it is vital for China to start slowing its emissions growth immediately."

Far-reaching changes in economic structure towards more innovative and higher value sectors is critical to halt China's energy-intensive economic growth.

Dr Wang said: "Given the unsustainable growth that China is having now, the transition to low carbon development is an imperative and our research shows it is also possible. It also offers the green opportunity for Chinese economy to recover and boom again by investing in a low carbon future."


Notes to Editors

The full report, 'China's energy transition. Pathways for Low Carbon Development' ,  is available online

To speak with Dr Jim Watson , Director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex and the Tyndall Centre ph UK: 01273 873539 or mob: 07866 724777

To speak with Dr Tao Wang of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex and the Tyndall Centre 01273 877364 mob: 07886234007

 University of Sussex Press Office, Jacqui Bealing, Maggie Clune, Danielle Treanor,, 01273 678888

The Tyndall Centre project aims to assess alternative energy futures for China, examining the potentials for China to make the transition to less carbon-intensive, more sustainable development paths.

For further information about the Tyndall Centre please contact its Communication Manager Mr Asher Minns ph 07880 547843 / 01865 275867


By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Friday, 11 December 2009