Environment and Development Economics



Theory and Applications

An economic analysis of using crop residues for energy in China 1


Xiaoping Wang a1 and Robert Mendelsohn a2
a1 Robertson Hall, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA. E-mail: xwang@princeton.edu
a2 Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven CT 06511.

Article author query
wang x   [Google Scholar] 
mendelsohn r   [Google Scholar] 
 

Abstract

This study examines the economics of using crop residues to replace coal burning for energy in China in order to mitigate carbon emissions. About 60 per cent of the available crop residues are now used by rural households in China to replace coal so that the residues are already making a major contribution to controlling China's potential carbon emissions. Using the crop residues more efficiently in village or centralized facilities, shifting to crops with more residues, or growing energy crops can all further reduce carbon emissions. However, accounting for the costs of collecting, transporting, drying and storing crop residues and the foregone crop revenue, the study estimates that the marginal cost to remove more carbon emissions with crop residues will be high.



Footnotes

1 We thank three anonymous reviewers and the managing editor for their helpful comments and citations, and Dr Eric D. Larson of Princeton Environmental Institute for his comments on the earlier draft. In addition, we would like to thank Dr Jim Bryan of Yale Tropical Research Institute for his support throughout the development process of the field project; Mr Li Junfeng and Mr Zhu Junsheng of Energy Research Institute and Mr Liu Hongpeng of the State Economic and Trade Commission in China for their comments on the project proposal and massive help in arranging the field trip. The Yale Tropical Research Institute, The Yale-Coca Cola Fund and Dr Gordon Geballe at the Yale School of Forestry and Environment Studies are gratefully acknowledged for their generous financial support to Xiaoping Wang for the field work.