In this paper, we assess the effectiveness of early climate policy in emerging economies by causally evaluating the impact of China’s Low-carbon City Pilot (LCCP) on city-level per-capita CO2 emissions and CO2 intensity of GDP over the period 2003-2017. The idiosyncrasies of the policy design pose significant challenges for causal identification, which we overcome within a synthetic control framework. Contrary to previous contributions, our results suggest that the LCCP had no significant impact on either carbon emissions or intensity. The main takeaway of our empirical investigation is that even in emerging economies, effective environmental policy requires transparent, quantifiable targets, and credible enforcement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Early online date17 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Feb 2024

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