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Title: Success factors of the emission trading scheme to reduce emission in China's buildings
Authors: Ni, Danfei
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: An emissions trading scheme (ETS) is designed to integrate economic development with sustainable environmental planning, and to do so efficiently. In practice, ETSs have been consistently criticized for such deficiencies as the uncertainty of emissions-reduction volume and the cost distribution of emission abatement. Nevertheless, many city and regional ETSs have been established around the world; one of the most well-known and representative is the EU ETS. China initiated seven cap and trade pilots in 2013: in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Hubei and Chongqing. The second compliance year for these schemes expired in June 2015, with several limitations emerging; for instance, the trading volume was not as expected, which delayed the establishment of the national cap and trade scheme previously scheduled for 2015. It thus becomes important to discuss ways of improving the ETS in the Chinese context. Some public, government and commercial buildings exceeding a certain volume of emissions are included in China's ETS pilots to abate emissions. Unlike other industries, such as power plants and the manufacturing industry, the building industry is rarely covered by ETSs, and there are thus limited precedents from which to borrow. China's pilot ETSs are designed to adapt to all entities covered, without specific consideration of the characteristics of buildings. For this reason, the purpose of the present study was to identify the factors responsible for the success of the ETSs in reducing emissions in China's buildings. To achieve this aim, the following objectives were identified. - First, to clarify the work of the ETS and understand why the ETS is used as a policy instrument to reduce emissions, conceptualizing ETS by the process and duties of different sectors; - second, to examine the two-year experience of China's ETSs and identify their characteristics, limitations, strengths and effects; - third, to consider how the ETS conveys the idea of sustainable development, to establish a model to evaluate whether a certain ETS is sustainable, and to identify criteria to assess the effectiveness and success of an ETS in particular scenarios; - fourth, to use the model to identify the most important factors responsible for the success of ETSs in reducing emissions in China's buildings; and - fifth, to validate the highlighted factors and make recommendations to correct existing limitations. Following these objectives, the ETS was conceptualized in the form of a process flowchart, a sectoral-duty chart, and a table linking sustainability considerations with the ETS. With this knowledge, a case study of China's pilots is carried out. The findings indicate that the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and local Development and Reform Commissions (DRCs) manage China's pilot ETSs strictly, and that the authorities invest considerable effort in designing schemes adapted to local economic and social circumstances. Nevertheless, little industry awareness of carbon asset management and a weak monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system are critical limitations emerging over the first two-year compliance period.
Next, the driving force-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR) framework was borrowed to organize the findings of the literature review and case study, which linked the ETS with influential and influenced factors in an analytical framework. Delphi interviews were then conducted to identify success factors. The framework was revised to give an Indicator Assessment Model for the ETS (IAMETS) based on the driving force-state-response (DSR) framework, according to the results of the first round of open-ended questionnaires, which yielded 5 parameters and 15 corresponding indicators. Experts were asked to rate the importance of the 5 parameters; it emerged that volume of emissions reduction and quality of emissions reduction was the two most important. Subsequently, 103 questionnaires were collected from experts asked to rate the 15 indicators. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to process the questionnaire data. By comparing these two sets of weightings, the consistency of the model was affirmed, and the key success factors were identified as an accurate verification system and a comprehensive MRV system for buildings. In addition, literature on the ETSs in China's building sector was reviewed and the case of Tokyo's cap and trade program was explored to confirm that an effective MRV system is indeed a success factor in reducing building emissions by the ETS. Further exploration of these two success factors was conducted. It was found that the current verification system for China's ETSs does not consider buildings' characteristics. By analyzing and comparing China's representative standards and guidelines for building energy efficiency, a verification system on buildings for China's ETSs was proposed. Experts were invited to validate the findings via the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). To ensure an accurate building emissions verification system, it was recommended to use energy record and bill analysis, combining the use of a simulated calibration method that includes the assessment of external factors such as weather in the context of China's ETSs. This study contributes to knowledge of methods of assessing the sustainability and success of ETSs. The indicator assessment model was proved to be consistent and logical, and was successfully used to identify the factors responsible for the success of the ETSs in China's building sector. The model is also available for use in other scenarios to assess the performance of ETS in different industries and identify problems requiring attention. This will help authorities to identify policy inefficiencies and provide solutions.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Emissions trading -- China
Environmental policy -- China
Construction industry -- Environmental aspects -- China
Pages: xviii, 239 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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