Frontiers Journals


Post-Paris Agreement climate change mitigation in developing world

Post-Paris Agreement climate change mitigation in developing world

1. Call for papers for a Special Issue of Frontiers in Energy
The Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus in December 2015 at the Paris climate summit. This represents a global effort under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to negotiate a new legally binding climate agreement (UNFCCC, 2015). The essential element of the Paris Agreement is the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which specify the long-term Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction targets beyond 2020. Unlike the different legal obligations of developed and developing countries specified in the precedent Kyoto Protocol, the NDCs under the Paris Agreement apply equally to all countries. All countries were asked to submit the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) before the 2015 Paris climate summit, which serve, unless otherwise provided, as the initial NDCs after the ratification of the agreement. Till May 2016, 176 countries, with many developing countries included, have signed the agreement.

For instance, China was responsible for around 28% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions in 2013, topping any other single country (IEA, 2015). In June 2015, China announced its INDCs (Chinese government, 2015). Besides the already-announced target of peaking total CO2 emissions before 2030, which was initiated in the U.S.-China joint announcement on climate change (Chinese government, 2014), the document further specifies that the CO2 intensity, measured in CO2 emissions per unit of GDP, should be decreased by 60%-65% in 2030 from the 2005 level; the share of non-fossil energy consumption out of total primary energy consumption should be increased to 20% in 2030; forest stock in 2030 should be increased by 4.5 billion m3 from the 2005 level. A comprehensive package of policies and measures were attached in the document as the support to achieve the mitigation targets.

The discussions on climate change mitigation are enormous. Many national governments in the developing world have initiated their great efforts in reducing GHG emissions. The promoted strategies include but are not limited to deploying energy-efficient technologies, promoting the use of low-carbon fuels, optimizing grid mix, incorporating carbon trade mechanism, developing low-carbon supply chain, advocating low-carbon lifestyles, etc (Somanathan et al., 2014). These efforts are critical in preventing an unconstrained growth of GHG emissions. Taking China as one example, the CO2 intensity in 2014 was decreased by 34% from the 2005 level.

However, existing mitigation policies have been developed in a way with not enough focus on the synergy between the overall mitigation target and the impacts from individual policies. It is currently unclear whether existing policy instruments are effective enough to realize the climate target, and if not, how much further efforts are needed; what the co-benefits, risks and spillovers of individual policies are, and how the diversified policies can be combined in an effective way. Besides, there is also a lack in the synergy between climate policies and policies aiming at solving other socio-economic issues, such as energy security, air pollutions, etc. Most policies are designed with a narrow focus on solving the target issue, while ignoring co-benefits on wider dimensions (Geng et al., 2013; Jiang et al., 2013). Such narrowly-focused policies are inherently inefficient due to the miscounting of social costs and benefits, and lead to the discount of overall effect.

The post-Paris Agreement climate change mitigation in the developing world, with the binding NDCs targets as the major constraints, calls for a target-oriented mitigation policy framework. Preliminary researches have been conducted with efforts to reconcile the top-down targets with the bottom-up strategies (Elzen et al., 2016; Zheng et al., 2015). Such studies are extremely important in informing the government how the national overall mitigation targets can be decomposed to the regional and sectoral levels; what strategies are needed to guarantee the realization of the NDCs targets; how these strategies can be framed in a synergized way. However, such studies are currently rare, which limits the establishment of a more effective and efficient policy framework. Under such a circumstance, the research community needs to play a critical role in laying the foundation for target-oriented mitigation strategies.
2. Topic areas
The Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Frontiers in Energy provides an opportunity for researchers, policy makers, entrepreneurs and the public to work together for a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities the developing world faces in the post-Paris Agreement era. Authors are invited to submit papers documenting the strategy, policy, method, technology and behavior aspects of climate change mitigation in the developing world’s context.

The Editorial Team encourages submissions with target-oriented research framework, which discuss climate change mitigation and low-carbon development in the context of how NDCs targets can be achieved. This Special Issue is designed to further the understanding of the optimal mitigation pathway for the developing world to achieve the NDCs targets, and the associated policy instruments and technology improvements needed to facilitate the realization of the optimal pathway. The Editorial Team welcomes review papers, research papers, and case studies that include but are not restricted to the following topics:

●  Comprehensive and integrative review papers on climate change mitigation in the developing world
One to three review papers, with comprehensive and integrative focus on the progress of climate change mitigation in the developing world, such as the history, current status and future trend of GHG emissions, mitigation policies, real-world implementations, technology improvements, research methods, etc., are welcomed. Particularly, we welcome review papers with efforts to reconcile the top-down national mitigation targets with the bottom-up national, regional and sectoral mitigation strategies.

●  NDCs targets-oriented mitigation scenarios
Scenario analysis is the essential tool in justifying the feasibility, identifying the optimal pathway, and quantifying the efforts needed to achieve the NDCs targets. Submissions may focus on designing national, regional and sectoral mitigation scenarios that comply with the NDCs targets; shaping the framework for decomposing national NDCs targets to the sectoral and regional levels. Top-down, bottom-up, and hybrid approached models are all welcomed. Especially, we encourage submissions that aim at identifying the optimal mitigation pathway based on multi-objective optimizations.

●  Innovative climate change mitigation policies
Climate change mitigation calls for properly designed and effectively implemented mitigation policies. Relevant policies include but are not limited to: economy-wide mitigation policies, such as carbon tax, carbon trade, carbon finance, etc.; sector-specific policies, such as, taking the transport sector for example, the fuel economy standards for vehicles; region-specific policies, such as the enhanced mitigation schemes in the low-carbon pilot provinces and cities. We welcome submissions aiming at evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of existing mitigation policies; addressing how the barriers that impede a transition to low-carbon society can be overcome through the implementation of innovative policies; observing the equity and social acceptance issues of policy implementation; shaping the framework for innovative policies to facilitate the realization of the NDCs targets. Empirical survey-based research and in-depth case studies are especially welcomed.

●  Metrics and indicators for low-carbon development
Metrics and indicators are the basis for measuring and facilitating low-carbon development in a practical and policy context (Geng et al., 2014). Authors are invited to address how the metrics and indicators for low-carbon development can be developed, tested and implemented in the developing world’s context. Especially, we welcome studies on innovative indicators to evaluate low-carbon development, such as those based on emergy analysis, co-benefit analysis, material flow analysis, water footprint analysis, input-output analysis, life cycle assessment, etc.

●  Emerging technologies for climate change mitigation
Technology improvement is the essential driver behind climate change mitigation. It is important to address how much contribution the mitigation technologies can make to achieve the NDCs targets, and whether the climate benefits compensate the cost increment associated with technology application. Relevant topics include but are not limited to: the energy, environmental, and economic impacts of the mitigation technologies; potentials for technology improvement and transfer between the developing economies and the developed economies; infrastructural and institutional environment needed to promote technology improvement; projections of the market penetration of emerging mitigation technologies. Special attention is given to submissions on Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) technologies and their application in the developing world.

●  Supply-side reform for low-carbon development
China’s supply-side reform initiative implies huge opportunities for low-carbon development, especially by promoting the development of low-carbon supply chains. This provides valuable implications to other developing countries. Submissions may focus on to what extent supply side reform can contribute to national low-carbon development, and how these potentials can be exploited. Especially, we welcome submissions that focus on low-carbon supply chain, including the strategies and policies needed to promote the development of low-carbon supply chain; low-carbon orientated supply chain optimization from the life cycle perspective, etc.

●  Consumer behaviors and lifestyles
Low-carbon development requires the contribution from the changes of consumer behaviors and lifestyles. We welcome submissions that further our understanding of how low-carbon oriented sustainable consumption can be achieved; identify the factors that drive the changes in consumer behaviors and lifestyles; evaluate the impacts of different kinds of initiatives, such as financial incentives, public education, marketing, etc., on consumer behavior; shape the framework that combines the efforts from the policy makers, social organizations, entrepreneurs, and the public to promote the transition to sustainable consumption.

3. Tentative schedule for this Special Issue
●  Call-for-Papers published during June 2016.
●  Submission of 500 words, extended abstracts to Professor Yong Geng ( by August 31, 2016.
●  Responses from the Special Issue Editorial Team to the prospective authors will be sent to them by September 15, 2016.
●  Authors will be invited to submit their ‘peer-review ready’ documents via the ScholarOne system by December 31, 2016.
●  Peer review/paper revision process during January - April, 2017.
●  Submission of final version of all revised papers by June 30, 2017.
●  Authors informed of decisions and/or about minor changes by July 31, 2017.
●  Deadline for revisions of all papers, including the introductory paper for the Special Issue submitted and in the corrected proof phase by September 1, 2017.
●  Publication of this Special Issue by October 2017.

4. Contributions
Full papers are invited for potential publication in this Special Issue of Frontiers in Energy. Submissions should be between 9000 and 13,000 words for comprehensive reviews, between 7000 and 8500 words for full research/theoretical papers with broad empirical studies and between 4000 and 5000 words for case studies. All should be developed based upon the editorial and formatting guidelines provided in the instructions for authors for Frontiers in Energy, which can be accessed from the website:

Upon receipt of the completed documents, three to six independent reviewers will be selected to provide peer reviews for each document. Upon receipt and acceptance of the author’s revised or re-revised documents, all documents will be published in this Special Issue of Frontiers in Energy titled: ‘Post-Paris Agreement climate change mitigation in the developing world’.

Papers must be written in good English. Authors with limitations in the command of written English are recommended to have their papers edited by a Native English Science Editor before the first submission because poorly written pieces can compromise the decisions during the review process. Similarly, they should have their final document edited by a Native English Science Editor before they submit it to the journal.

Guest Editor Team:
Professor Yong Geng, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, e-mail:;
Professor Tsuyoshi Fujita, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, e-mail:;
Professor Anthony Chiu, De La Salle University, e-mail:;
Dr. Han Hao, Tsing Hua University, e-mail:;
Dr. Hancheng Dai, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, e-mail:

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