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Lifestyles, technology and CO2 emissions in China: A regional comparative analysis

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  • Feng, Kuishuang
  • Hubacek, Klaus
  • Guan, Dabo

Abstract

With rapid economic development, higher income levels, urbanization and other socio-economic drivers, people's lifestyles in China have changed remarkably over the last 50Â years. This paper uses the IPAT model (where IÂ =Â Impact representing CO2 emissions, PÂ =Â Population, AÂ =Â Affluence, and TÂ =Â emission intensity) to analyze how these main drivers contributed to the growth of CO2 emissions over this time period. Affluence or lifestyle change has been variously recognized as one of the key factors contributing to CO2 emissions. Through comparative analysis of the development of five regions in China, we trace lifestyle changes since the foundation of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 until 2002. We find that household consumption across the five regions follows similar trajectories, driven by changes in income and the increasing availability of goods and services, although significant differences still exist between and within regions due to differential policies in China and different possibilities for social mobility. There are considerable differences between the southeast and northwest and between urban and rural areas. We also found that technological improvements have not been able to fully compensate for the increase of emissions due to population growth and increasing wealth, which is also in line with results from other studies. Finally, this paper emphasizes that developing countries such as China, which is home to 22% of the world population and a growing middle class, and which is on a fast track to modernization, need to ensure that people's lifestyles are changing towards more sustainable ways of living. China has been investing heavily in infrastructure and thus creating the emissions of tomorrow. Thus investing, for example, in public transport and low energy building today will help reduce emissions in the future and will support more sustainable lifestyles.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 69 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (November)
Pages: 145-154

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2009:i:1:p:145-154

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

Related research

Keywords: China IPAT Climate change Energy Lifestyle change Emission intensity Sustainable consumption and production;

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Cited by:
  1. Clarke-Sather, Afton & Qu, Jiansheng & Wang, Qin & Zeng, Jingjing & Li, Yan, 2011. "Carbon inequality at the sub-national scale: A case study of provincial-level inequality in CO2 emissions in China 1997-2007," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5420-5428, September.
  2. George E. Halkos & Nickolaos G. Tzeremes, 2011. "Growth and environmental pollution: empirical evidence from China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Foreign Trade Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 4(3), pages 144-157, October.
  3. Wang, Mingwei & Che, Yue & Yang, Kai & Wang, Min & Xiong, Lijun & Huang, Yuchi, 2011. "A local-scale low-carbon plan based on the STIRPAT model and the scenario method: The case of Minhang District, Shanghai, China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 6981-6990.
  4. Genovaitė Liobikienė & Justina Mandravickaitė, 2013. "Convergence of new members of the EU: changes in household consumption expenditure structure regarding environmental impact during the prosperous period," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 407-427, April.
  5. Zhang, Chuanguo & Nian, Jiang, 2013. "Panel estimation for transport sector CO2 emissions and its affecting factors: A regional analysis in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 918-926.
  6. Duarte, Rosa & Mainar, Alfredo & Sánchez-Chóliz, Julio, 2013. "The role of consumption patterns, demand and technological factors on the recent evolution of CO2 emissions in a group of advanced economies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 1-13.
  7. Shao, Shuai & Yang, Lili & Yu, Mingbo & Yu, Mingliang, 2011. "Estimation, characteristics, and determinants of energy-related industrial CO2 emissions in Shanghai (China), 1994-2009," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6476-6494, October.
  8. Meng, Bo & Xue, Jinjun & Feng, Kuishuang & Guan, Dabo & Fu, Xue, 2013. "China’s inter-regional spillover of carbon emissions and domestic supply chains," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1305-1321.
  9. Halkos, George & Tzeremes, Nickolaos, 2011. "Economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions: Empirical evidence from China," MPRA Paper 32840, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Jacques, David A. & Guan, Dabo & Geng, Yong & Xue, Bing & Wang, Xiaoguang, 2013. "Inter-provincial clean development mechanism in China: A case study of the solar PV sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 454-461.
  11. Paul Harris & Alice Chow & Rasmus Karlsson, 2013. "China and climate justice: moving beyond statism," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 291-305, September.
  12. Zhu, Zhi-Shuang & Liao, Hua & Cao, Huai-Shu & Wang, Lu & Wei, Yi-Ming & Yan, Jinyue, 2014. "The differences of carbon intensity reduction rate across 89 countries in recent three decades," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 808-815.
  13. Sovacool, Benjamin K., 2011. "Conceptualizing urban household energy use: Climbing the "Energy Services Ladder"," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1659-1668, March.
  14. Anderson, Blake & M'Gonigle, Michael, 2012. "Does ecological economics have a future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 37-48.
  15. Meng, Lei & Guo, Ju'e & Chai, Jian & Zhang, Zengkai, 2011. "China's regional CO2 emissions: Characteristics, inter-regional transfer and emission reduction policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6136-6144, October.
  16. Klaus Hubacek & Kuishuang Feng & Bin Chen, 2011. "Changing Lifestyles Towards a Low Carbon Economy: An IPAT Analysis for China," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(1), pages 22-31, December.
  17. Du, Limin & Wei, Chu & Cai, Shenghua, 2012. "Economic development and carbon dioxide emissions in China: Provincial panel data analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 371-384.
  18. Wang, Yafei & Liang, Sai, 2013. "Carbon dioxide mitigation target of China in 2020 and key economic sectors," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 90-96.

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