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Moving to a low carbon economy: Country profiles

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


  • China is a net consumer of oil so the two degree pathway could lead to a net benefit to the financial system of over US$ 1 trillion.
  • China an other net oil consuming countries would benefit from a combination of pricing and innovation policies to reduce demand for oil.
  • China’s public sector owns 75 – 90% of the nation’s fossil fuel assets.
  • 78% of China’s coal fired power plants are above the IEA two degrees threshold.
  • Globally, coal could contribute approximately 80% to carbon savings in the two degree plan and almost half of this would come from China.
  • Natural gas could be an important substitute for coal in China.


  • The EU is a net consumer of oil and could benefit to a similar financial level as China from a low carbon economy.
  • The cost of renewable energy in China is higher than necessary because of the cost of financing the current industry structure.
  • New business and financial models and instruments that are better suited to investor needs can reduce the cost of renewable energy by up to 20%.
  • Government ownership of fossil fuel assets varies wildly across EU member states.
  • As long as there is no incremental investment in existing plants or building of new coal plants, the EU has little to lose from a transition away from coal power.
  • The EU is a net importer of natural gas and thus faces little stranding risk associated with gas production.
  • Globally, natural gas will need to peak around 2030 to minimise value loss in the two degree plan.


  • As a net consumer of oil, the two degree pathway can free up significant financial capacity, which can then be used to support development goals.
  • India’s national and state governments own approximately 45 – 75% of fossil fuel assets.
  • State ownership is highest for oil and lowest for gas fired power plants.
  • Meeting the nation’s growing energy demand as well as maximising financial capacity to meet development goals will require aggressive substitution of coal fired power with lower carbon energy.
  • An all of the above strategy to improve energy efficiency as well as continue to accelerate solar, wind and biofuel energy, will help India achieve both its energy and development goals.
  • India already has ambitious solar and wind plans.


  • The US is a net consumer of oil and the two degree pathway, with the right policies can lead to a net benefit to the financial system of more than US$ 300 billion.
  • The large majority of fossil fuel assets in the US are privately owned.
  • Governments own approximately 20% of coal fired power plants, a slightly smaller share of gas fired power plants and little oil, coal or natural gas assets.
  • In the US, the cost of renewable energy is higher than necessary because of the cost of financing and current industry structure.

Edited from a report by Claira Lloyd

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