Environment & Climate Change

119 Items

A prototype Tesla Semi truck at Tesla HQ in California, April 22, 2019.

Flickr/Steve Jurveston

Paper - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Environmental Implications and Policy Challenges for Bringing Long-Haul Electric Trucks into China: The Case of the Tesla Semi

    Author:
  • Jonathan M. Moch
| July 2019

The Tesla Semi is a battery powered electric long haul truck currently in the prototype phase. Since cost and technological barriers have prevented electric vehicles from making significant inroads into the market for long haul trucks, the announcement of the Tesla Semi marks one of the first major attempts to bring electrification to on-road long haul freight transport. China, as the world’s largest carbon emitter, is an important market for truck electrification. China has a bourgeoning passenger electric vehicle market but, like the rest of the world, is reliant on heavily polluting diesel trucks for on-road freight transport. 

This paper addresses two main questions:

  1. What are the potential impacts on carbon emissions of electric long haul trucks in China? 
  2. What are the barriers to the adoption of electric long haul trucks in China? 

Workers shovel waste from a wheat farm into a prototype for a biomass machine

AP/Andy Wong

Journal Article - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Gasification of Coal and Biomass: A Net Carbon-Negative Power Source for Environment-Friendly Electricity Generation in China

    Authors:
  • Xi Lu
  • Liang Cao
  • Haikun Wang
  • Jia Xing
  • Shuxiao Wang
  • Siyi Cai
  • Bo Shen
  • Qing Yang
  • Chris P. Nielsen
  • Michael B. McElroy
| 2019

Deploying coal-bioenergy gasification systems with carbon capture and storage (CBECCS) provides a promising opportunity for China to realize its carbon mitigation and air pollution abatement goals simultaneously. The authors conducted a comprehensive assessment of CBECCS technology for China, with a focus on plant and fuel configurations (e.g., biomass ratios) and economics, as well as CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions and cobenefits for air quality.

an operator inspects a photolithography tool used to manufacture these solar cells.

Daniel Derkacs/SolarJunction

Journal Article - Research Policy

Governments as Partners: The Role of Alliances in U.S. Cleantech Startup Innovation

Accelerating innovation in clean energy technologies is a policy priority for governments around the world aiming to mitigate climate change and to provide affordable energy. Most research has focused on the role of governments financing R&D and steering market demand, but there is a more limited understanding of the role of direct government interactions with startups across all sectors. The authors  propose and evaluate the value-creation mechanisms of network resources from different types of partners for startups, highlighting the unique resources of government partners for cleantech startups. 

Book - Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.

Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings

| 2019

Now in its seventh edition, Economics of the Environment serves as a valuable supplement to environmental economics text books and as a stand-alone reference book of key, up-to-date readings from the field. Edited by Robert N. Stavins, the book covers the core areas of environmental economics courses as taught around the world; and the included authors are the top scholars in the field. Overall, more than half of the chapters are new to this edition while the rest have remained seminal works.

Charging electric Vehicle

Flickr/Sino-German Urbanization Partnership

Journal Article - Elsevier Inc.

Electric Vehicle Recycling in China: Economic and Environmental Benefits

    Authors:
  • Fuquan Zhao
  • Zongwei Liu
  • Han Hao
| January 2019

With the rapid growth of electric vehicles in China, their benefits should be scientifically identified to support the industry development. Although the life cycle benefits of electric vehicles have been analyzed worldwide, the recycling phase has not been fully studied yet, especially in China. Therefore, this study focuses on the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicle recycling in China. Based on the technology adopted by leading enterprises, the gross income and reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are calculated to reveal the benefits.

A satellite view of the Gansu Dunhuang Solar Park, a photovoltaic power station under construction in Gansu Provence, as seen on June 9, 2018.

DigitalGlobe, CNES/Airbus, Google Earth, used with permission

Report - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Harvard-Tsinghua Workshop on Low-Carbon Development and Public Policy

| September 2018

The Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Center for Science, Technology, and Education Policy at Tsinghua University held the fifth annual Tsinghua-Harvard Workshop on Low-Carbon Development and Public Policy. This event brought together leading experts on climate and energy from academic, business, and government communities in both the United States and China. This year’s workshop focused on electricity systems and renewable energy penetration.

solar panels are seen near the power grid in northwestern China

AP/Ng Han Guan, File

Journal Article - Environmental Research Letters

Climate, Air Quality and Human Health Benefits of Various Solar Photovoltaic Deployment Scenarios in China in 2030

    Authors:
  • Junnan Yang
  • Xiaoyuan Li
  • Fabian Wagner
  • Denise L. Mauzerall
| 2018

Solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation can greatly reduce both air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuel electricity generation. The Chinese government plans to greatly scale up solar PV installation between now and 2030. However, different PV development pathways will influence the range of air quality and climate benefits. Benefits depend on how much electricity generated from PV is integrated into power grids and the type of power plant displaced. Using a coal-intensive power sector projection as the base case, the authors estimate the climate, air quality, and related human health benefits of various 2030 PV deployment scenarios.

visitors tours the BYD Co. booth displaying an electric vehicle with a charger at the Shanghai International Auto Show

AP/Andy Wong

Paper - SAE International

Recycling-Based Reduction of Energy Consumption and Carbon Emission of China's Electric Vehicles: Overview and Policy Analysis

    Authors:
  • Fuquan Zhao
  • Zongwei Liu
  • Han Hao
| Apr. 03, 2018

Electric vehicles maintain the fastest development in China and undertake the responsibility of optimizing energy consumption and carbon emission in the transportation field. However, from the entire life cycle point of view, although electric vehicles have a certain degree of energy consumption and carbon emission reduction in the use phase, they cause extra energy consumption and carbon emission in the manufacturing phase, which weakens the due environmental benefits to some extent. The recycling of electric vehicles can effectively address the issue and indirectly reduce the energy consumption and carbon emission in the manufacturing phase. China is setting up the recycling system and strengthening regulation force to achieve proper energy consumption and carbon emission reduction benefits of electric vehicles.

A woman wears a face mask as she looks at her smartphone while walking along a street in Beijing

AP

Journal Article - Applied Energy

Potential Co-benefits of Electrification for Air Quality, Health, and CO2 Mitigation in 2030 China

    Authors:
  • Junnan Yang
  • Xi Lu
  • Denise L. Mauzerall
| May 15, 2018

Electrification with decarbonized electricity is a central strategy for carbon mitigation. End-use electrification can also reduce air pollutant emissions from the demand sectors, which brings public health co-benefits. In this article, the authors focus on electrification strategies for China, a country committed to both reducing air pollution and peaking carbon emissions before 2030. Considering both coal-intensive and decarbonized power system scenarios for 2030, they assess the air quality, health, and climate co-benefits of various end-use electrification scenarios for the vehicle and residential sectors relative to a non-electrified coal-intensive business-as-usual scenario.