IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Analyzing Drivers of Regional Carbon Dioxide Emissions for China


  • Kuishuang Feng
  • Yim Ling Siu
  • Dabo Guan
  • Klaus Hubacek


China faces the challenge of balancing unprecedented economic growth and environmental sustainability. Rather than a homogenous country that can be analyzed at the national level, China is a vast country with significant regional differences in physical geography, regional economy, demographics, industry structure, and household consumption patterns. There are pronounced differences between the much‐developed Eastern‐Coastal economic zone and the less developed Central and Western economic zones in China. Such variations lead to large regional discrepancies in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Using the 28 regional input‐output tables of China for 2002 and 2007 and structural decomposition analysis (SDA), we analyze how changes in population, technology, economic structure, urbanization, and household consumption patterns drive regional CO2 emissions. The results show a significant gap between the three economic zones in terms of CO2 emission intensity, as the Eastern‐Coastal zone possesses more advanced production technologies compared to the Central and Western zones. The most polluting sectors and largest companies are state‐owned enterprises and thus are potentially able to speed up knowledge transfer between companies and regions. The “greening” of the more developed areas is not only a result of superior technology, but also of externalizing production and pollution to the poorer regions in China. The results also show that urbanization and associated income and lifestyle changes were important driving forces for the growth of CO2 emissions in most regions in China. Therefore, focusing on technology and efficiency alone is not sufficient to curb regional CO2 emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuishuang Feng & Yim Ling Siu & Dabo Guan & Klaus Hubacek, 2012. "Analyzing Drivers of Regional Carbon Dioxide Emissions for China," Journal of Industrial Ecology, Yale University, vol. 16(4), pages 600-611, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:inecol:v:16:y:2012:i:4:p:600-611
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00494.x

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Zhihui Li & Xiangzheng Deng & Xi Chu & Gui Jin & Wei Qi, 2019. "An Outlook on the Biomass Energy Development Out to 2100 in China," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 54(4), pages 1359-1377, December.
    2. Fu, Xue & Lahr, Michael & Yaxiong, Zhang & Meng, Bo, 2017. "Actions on climate change, Intended Reducing carbon emissions in China via optimal industry shifts: Toward hi-tech industries, cleaner resources and higher carbon shares in less-develop regions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 616-638.
    3. Ling Yang & Michael L. Lahr, 2019. "The Drivers of China’s Regional Carbon Emission Change—A Structural Decomposition Analysis from 1997 to 2007," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(12), pages 1-18, June.
    4. Zheng, Hongmei & Li, Aimin & Meng, Fanxin & Liu, Gengyuan, 2020. "Energy flows embodied in China's interregional trade: Case study of Hebei Province," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 428(C).
    5. PU, Zhengning & YUE, Shujing & GAO, Peng, 2020. "The driving factors of China's embodied carbon emissions," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    6. Wang, Xianzhu & Huang, He & Hong, Jingke & Ni, Danfei & He, Rongxiao, 2020. "A spatiotemporal investigation of energy-driven factors in China: A region-based structural decomposition analysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 207(C).
    7. Wu, Haitao & Xu, Lina & Ren, Siyu & Hao, Yu & Yan, Guoyao, 2020. "How do energy consumption and environmental regulation affect carbon emissions in China? New evidence from a dynamic threshold panel model," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    8. Chen, Shaoqing & Zhu, Feiyao, 2019. "Unveiling key drivers of urban embodied and controlled carbon footprints," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 235(C), pages 835-845.
    9. Fang, Delin & Duan, Cuncun & Chen, Bin, 2020. "Average propagation length analysis for carbon emissions in China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 275(C).
    10. Mi, Zhifu & Zheng, Jiali & Meng, Jing & Zheng, Heran & Li, Xian & Coffman, D'Maris & Woltjer, Johan & Wang, Shouyang & Guan, Dabo, 2019. "Carbon emissions of cities from a consumption-based perspective," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 235(C), pages 509-518.
    11. Huang, Rui & Chen, Guangwu & Lv, Guonian & Malik, Arunima & Shi, Xunpeng & Xie, Xiaotian, 2020. "The effect of technology spillover on CO2 emissions embodied in China-Australia trade," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:inecol:v:16:y:2012:i:4:p:600-611. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.