Economy and Policy

Xiaolin Guo, Mun Sing Ho, Liangzhi You, Jing Cao, Yu Fang, Taotao Tu, and Yang Hong. 2018. “Industrial Water Pollution Discharge Taxes in China: A Multi-Sector Dynamic Analysis.” Water, 10, 12, Pp. 1742. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We explore how water pollution policy reforms in China could reduce industrial wastewater pollution with minimum adverse impact on GDP growth. We use a multi-sector dynamic Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model, jointly developed by Harvard University and Tsinghua University, to examine the long-term impact of pollution taxes. A firm-level dataset of wastewater and COD discharge is compiled and aggregated to provide COD-intensities for 22 industrial sectors. We simulated the impact of 4 different sets of Pigovian taxes on the output of these industrial sectors, where the tax rate depends on the COD-output intensity. In the baseline low rate of COD tax, COD discharge is projected to rise from 36 million tons in 2018 to 48 million in 2030, while GDP grows at 6.9% per year. We find that raising the COD tax by 8 times will lower COD discharge by 1.6% by 2030, while a high 20-times tax will cut it by 4.0%. The most COD-intensive sectors—textile goods, apparel, and food products—have the biggest reduction in output and emissions. The additional tax revenue is recycled by cutting existing taxes, including taxes on profits, leading to higher investment. This shift from consumption to investment leads to a slightly higher GDP over time.
Summer RA


September 26, 2018

A Harvard Gazette article by Al Powell



Read more about 哈佛中国项目组织本科生暑期赴中国参与环境问题研究


August 14, 2018

由于在真实世界里人们几乎无法通过控制数目庞大的变量来创造理想的实验条件,因此想要在社会科学领域进行对照实验几乎是不可能的。然而,在一些偶然情况下,某些政策效果却无心插柳地创造出了一个类实验情境,这种情况被称为自然实验。当北京的车辆限行政策遇上中国人对数字4不吉利寓意的忌讳心理时,自然实验的条件就产生了 — — 哈佛大学中国项目的曹静教授和她的团队抓住了这一千载难逢的机会,顺势就北京空气污染对健康的影响这一课题展开研究。他们已将研究结论整理成论文发表于 Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resources Economists (JAERE)... Read more about 评论:其实4也可以是个幸运数字?中国人对数字4的忌讳心理居然可以用来研究北京空气污染对健康的影响

Xinyu Chen, Jiajun Lv, Michael B. McElroy, Xingning Han, Chris Nielsen, and Jinyu Wen. 2018. “Power system capacity expansion under higher penetration of renewables considering flexibility constraints and low carbon policies.” IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 33, 6, Pp. 6240-6253. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Deploying high penetration of variable renewables represents a critical pathway for deep decarbonizing the power sector. The conflict between their temporal variability and limited system flexibility has been largely ignored currently at planning stage. Here we present a novel capacity expansion model optimizing investment decisions and full-year, hourly power balances simultaneously, with considerations of storage technologies and policy constraints, such as carbon tax and renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Based on a computational efficient modeling formulation, all flexibility constrains (ramping, reserve, minimum output, minimal online/offline time) for the 8760-hour duration are incorporated. The proposed model is applied to the northwestern grid of China to examine the optimal composition and distribution of power investments with a wide range of renewable targets. Results indicate that the cost can increase moderately towards 45% of RPS, when properly designing the generation portfolio: prioritizing wind investments, distributing renewable investments more evenly and deploying more flexible mid-size coal and gas units. Reaching higher penetrations of renewables is expensive and the reductions of storage costs are critically important for an affordable low-carbon future. RPS or carbon taxes to reach a same target of emission reduction in China will result in similar overall costs but different generation mixes.
China ev


May 23, 2018

《金融时报》一篇文章详细探讨了电动汽车是否对中国环境有积极影响。文章认为,中国的能源市场目前依然由矿物燃料主导,尚未完成转型,电动汽车对环境会有哪些影响尚未有定论。文章引述了多篇相关领域的研究论文,包括中国项目最近发表于《自然·能源》期刊的一篇研究。这项研究由来自哈佛大学和清华大学的团队共同合作完成,成员包括哈佛大学中国项目主席Michael B. MCELROY教授、项目执行总监Chris P. NIELSEN先生、博士后研究员陈新宇,以及访问博士生吕家君。此外,哈佛大学Paulson工程与应用科学学院也就该项研究发布了...

Read more about 《金融时报》报道中国项目关于电动汽车充电方式对中国环境影响的最新研究
liu zhenya headshot


April 17, 2018

2018年4月17日,中国国家电网公司(SGCC)前董事长、现全球能源互联网发展合作组织(GEIDCO)主席刘振亚先生在哈佛大学法学院发表题为“能源创新之道:从特高压电网到全球能源互联网”的公开演讲。演讲探讨了建立全球智能电网的需求与潜力,通过全球能源互联网,用可再生资源生产的能源能够以更低的成本进入千家万户。本次活动由哈佛大学中国能源、经济与环境项目,哈佛法学院东亚法律研究项目,哈佛John A. Paulson工程与应用科学学院,以及哈佛环球学院联合举办。点击此处阅读有关报道。

Read more about 中国国家电网公司前董事长刘振亚就全球能源互联网在哈佛大学发表公开演讲
Jaume Freire-González and Mun S. Ho. 2018. “Environmental fiscal reform and the double dividend: evidence from a dynamic general equilibrium model.” Sustainability, 10, 2. Publisher's VersionAbstract
An environmental fiscal reform (EFR) represents a transition of a taxation system toward one based in environmental taxation, rather than on taxation of capital, labor, or consumption. It differs from an environmental tax reform (ETR) in that an EFR also includes a reform of subsidies which counteract environmental policy. This research details different ways in which an EFR is not only possible but also a good option that provides economic and environmental benefits. We have developed a detailed dynamic CGE model examining 101 industries and commodities in Spain, with an energy and an environmental extension comprising 31 pollutant emissions, in order to simulate the economic and environmental effects of an EFR. The reform focuses on 39 industries related to the energy, water, transport and waste sectors. We simulate an increase in taxes and a reduction on subsidies for these industries and at the same time we use new revenues to reduce labor, capital and consumption taxes. All revenue recycling options provide both economic and environmental benefits, suggesting that the “double dividend” hypothesis can be achieved. After three to four years after implementing an EFR, GDP is higher than the base case, hydrocarbons consumption declines and all analyzed pollutants show a reduction.
Bo Zhang, Yaowen Zhang, Xueli Zhao, and Jing Meng. 2018. “Non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions in China 2012: Inventory and supply chain analysis.” Earth's Future, 6, 1. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Reliable inventory information is critical in informing emission mitigation efforts. Using the latest officially released emission data, which is production based, we take a consumption perspective to estimate the non-CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for China in 2012. The non-CO2 GHG emissions, which cover CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6, amounted to 2003.0 Mt. CO2-eq (including 1871.9 Mt. CO2-eq from economic activities), much larger than the total CO2 emissions in some developed countries. Urban consumption (30.1%), capital formation (28.2%), and exports (20.6%) derived approximately four fifths of the total embodied emissions in final demand. Furthermore, the results from structural path analysis help identify critical embodied emission paths and key economic sectors in supply chains for mitigating non-CO2 GHG emissions in Chinese economic systems. The top 20 paths were responsible for half of the national total embodied emissions. Several industrial sectors such as Construction, Production and Supply of Electricity and SteamManufacture of Food and Tobacco and Manufacture of Chemicalsand Chemical Products played as the important transmission channels. Examining both production- and consumption-based non-CO2 GHG emissions will enrich our understanding of the influences of industrial positions, final consumption demands, and trades on national non-CO2 GHG emissions by considering the comprehensive abatement potentials in the supply chains.
2018 Apr 17

2018 University-Wide Public Lecture: "The Art of Energy Revolution: From Ultra High Voltage Power Grids to Global Energy Interconnection"

5:00pm to 6:30pm


Milstein East B/C, Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School, 1585 Mass Ave, Cambridge
2018 Feb 12

Q&A Session: China's Environmental Challenges 2018: Summer Undergraduate Research Assistantships in China

5:00pm to 6:00pm


Pierce Hall 100F, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge

Interested in researching in China this summer? Join Harvard-China Project staff and a participating Tsinghua University professor to learn more about our research assistantships opportunity.

The Harvard-China Project on Energy, Economy and Environment will provide generous financial support for six Harvard undergraduates to spend the summer in China conducting research on China’s energy and environmental future under the guidance of an English-speaking professor at a leading university, from June 15 to August 16, 2018...

Read more about Q&A Session: China's Environmental Challenges 2018: Summer Undergraduate Research Assistantships in China
Bo Zhang, Shihui Guan, Xiaofang Wu, and Xueli Zhao. 2018. “Tracing natural resource uses via China's supply chains.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 196, Pp. 880-888. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper makes an in-depth analysis on demand-driven natural resource requirements in China via the methods of thermodynamic input-output analysis and structural path analysis, in order to reveal the connections between the country's rapid economic development and its intensive use of natural resources. The main natural resources investigated include crops, forestry, rangeland, aquatic products, coal, crude oil & natural gas, ferrous metal ores, nonferrous metal ores, nonmetallic minerals and other primary energy, and exergy is adopted as a common metric for the resource accounting. In 2012, the total domestic resource exergy input into Chinese economic system amounted to 130.1 EJ, of which 44.6% was induced by investment demands. The embodied resource use (ERU) in China's exports was equivalent to over one fifth of its domestic resource supply. The two integrative sectors of Manufacturing and Construction accounted for 44.1% and 28.7% of the national total ERU, respectively. We identified critical supply chain paths starting from resource extraction to final demand, as well as key industrial sectors in driving the extraction, transmission and final use of embodied resources. The top 50 paths were responsible for 30.4 EJ of the ERU. The identification of resource supply chains from a systemic perspective is of great importance when resource and environmental policies are to be applied to concrete industrial sectors and other economic agents. Integrated approaches that take account of consumption-based resource indicators should be developed for resource conservation and cleaner production, particularly for the economic system with a complex supply network.