Climate change, the UN and China

17 September 2014

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Frank Jotzo is Director of The Centre for Climate and Energy Policy at Crawford School, and director of the School’s Resources, Environment and Development program. He currently teaches the graduate courses Domestic Climate Change Economics and Policy and Issues in Development and Environment.

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September is a big month in global climate change policy. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is calling world leaders for a special summit on climate change, several major reports are being released including the New Climate Economy report released today in Beijing, and many governments are preparing their pledges about post-2020 emissions targets. And research at Crawford School is contributing to many of these major initiatives.

At the UN summit, a UN-led study will be presented that shows how 15 major countries can cut carbon to very low levels while growing their economies. ANU co-leads the Australian contribution to the Deep Decarbonization Pathways project, together with ClimateWorks Australia.

“Our analysis shows how Australia can cut fossil fuel emissions per person by a factor of more than five by 2050, using known technologies, and how net emissions could go to zero with the help of carbon forestry,” said Associate Professor Frank Jotzo, who runs Crawford School’s Centre for Climate Economics and Policy.

“We draw on specially commissioned modelling by the CSIRO as well as the Centre of Policy Studies at Victoria University. The scenarios modelled show much deeper reductions at similar costs to previous studies, because technology costs have come down.”

A detailed report will be released around the time of the New York summit on 23 September, which Jotzo will attend. The global project’s leader, Professor Jeff Sachs, gave a lecture on decarbonisation at ANU earlier this year.

Crawford School is also involved in research about how China can cut its carbon emissions. A collaborative project with leading Chinese universities is underway, with research papers discussed at the Tsinghua-ANU forum on climate and energy policy this week in Beijing.

“China is planning to introduce a national emissions trading scheme well before 2020. Our colleagues are evaluating the operation of China’s pilot emissions trading schemes to see what worked and what did not, and why,” said Jotzo.

“Ongoing research also shows that Chinese demand for coal has become gradually more responsive to price, but that comprehensive market reform of the energy sector is needed to accompany the introduction of carbon pricing.”

Keynote speakers at the Tsinghua-ANU forum include Professors Jiankun He, deputy chairman of China’s National Experts Panel on Climate Change, and Professor Ross Garnaut.

Many of these topics are covered in courses Frank Jotzo teaches at Crawford School including Domestic Climate Change Policy and Economics (EMDV8081) and Issues in Development and Environment (EMDV8013). You can also find out more about the Master of Climate Change at

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