Can an Emission Trading Scheme Promote the Withdrawal of Outdated Capacity in Energy-Intensive Sectors? A Case Study on China's Iron and Steel Industry

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2017

Outdated capacity and substantial potential for energy conservation are the two main features of energy-intensive sectors in developing countries. Such countries also seek to implement market-based options to further control domestic carbon emissions as well as to promote the withdrawal of outdated capacity and upgrade production level. This paper presents a quantitative assessment of the emission trading scheme (ETS) for China's iron and steel industry. The diverse array of normal and outdated capacities was modeled in a two-country, three-good partial equilibrium model. Simulation results show that the abatement potential can be underestimated if the energy-saving effects that result from emission abatement are not considered. In the scenario analysis, we demonstrated that the free allocation of allowances can cause a competitiveness distortion among domestic normal and outdated capacities. Given the government's intention to promote outdated capacity withdrawal and production-level upgrading, an output-based allocation approach is strongly suggested for China's iron and steel sector.

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Publication | 11 June 2017