Towards a new climate economics: Research areas and prospects

Jiankun He*, Fei Teng, Ye Qi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


International cooperation to address climate change now stands at a crossroads. With a new international regime for emissions reduction established by the Durban Platform, “New Climate Economics (NCE)” has become a research hotspot. The need for urgent action to combat climate change has prompted discussion on reforms of economic growth patterns and the energy system. The industrial civilization, therefore, now faces a transition towards a new pathway for ecological sustainability. NCE explores new economic concepts, theories, and analytical methods to design a balanced pathway for sustainable growth and emission reduction. Instead of getting trapped in discussions on allocation of emission reduction responsibilities and obligations among countries, NCE pays more attention to developing win-win multilateral cooperation mechanisms that facilitate collaborative R&D and knowledge sharing. In addition, NCE studies incentives for low-carbon transition, turning carbon emission reduction into a domestic need for countries to increase their international competitiveness. To achieve the 2°C target, most countries around the world face challenges of insufficient emission allowances to cover expected emissions associated with their projected economic growth. As carbon emissions rights becomes an increasingly scarce resource, increasing the carbon productivity of the economy turns to be the critical path to address the dilemma of green or growth. NCE studies the historical evolution of carbon productivity for countries at different development stages as well as ways to enhance such carbon productivity. This type of study provides invaluable lessons for emerging economies to reach their own emission peaks without losing the momentum of growth. Replacing fossil fuels with new and renewable energy has proven to be an inevitable choice for reshaping the energy system and addressing climate change – it has already become a global trend. NCE studies incentives for new energy technology innovation and deployment provided by carbon pricing, and sheds light on the co-benefits of climate change mitigation, such as resource conservation, environmental protection, and energy security. The role of carbon pricing in promoting international R&D cooperation and technical transfer will also be studied. The shift in consumption patterns is another key factor enabling a low-carbon transformation. Therefore, NCE also explores the theoretical work on new values of wealth, welfare and consumption, new lifestyles in the context of ecological civilization, concepts and implementation of low-carbon urban planning in developing countries, and the impacts of consumption pattern changes on social development, material production, and urban infrastructure construction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalChinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon productivity
  • Energy transformation
  • Low-carbon development
  • New climate economics


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