IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Managing the mitigation: Analysis of the effectiveness of target-based policies on China's provincial carbon emission and transfer


  • Li, Meng
  • Gao, Yuning
  • Meng, Bo
  • Yang, Zhusong


As the world's largest carbon emitter, China has set stringent mitigation targets. The Five-Year-Plans have been an important administrative tool for China in climate change mitigation. However, the emissions transfer inside China has raised the problem of pollution haven affect and challenges to the effectiveness of the mitigation policies. This study examines whether mitigation policies can promote emissions reduction and whether it causes the pollution haven effect in China. It establishes an Extended Provincial Input-Output Model to calculate province production-based emissions, consumption-based emissions, and emissions transfer from 2005 to 2015. The results show that: (1) The mitigation policy is effective as a 1% increase of the completeness of the mitigation target is related to a 0.118% decrease of production-based emissions. (2) Stringent mitigation policies increase net emissions outflow as a 1% increase of the completeness of the target is related to an 18.5% increase of the net emissions transfer. (3) Subsequent policy enforcement will weaken once the mitigation goal is accomplished. This study reputes that the mitigation policy effectively controls emissions, especially production-based emissions, while it still needs refined policy designing considering the pollution haven effect inside China.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Meng & Gao, Yuning & Meng, Bo & Yang, Zhusong, 2021. "Managing the mitigation: Analysis of the effectiveness of target-based policies on China's provincial carbon emission and transfer," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:151:y:2021:i:c:s0301421521000586
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112189

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xuedi Li & Jie Ma & Zhu Chen & Haitao Zheng, 2018. "Linkage Analysis among China’s Seven Emissions Trading Scheme Pilots," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(10), pages 1-13, September.
    2. Su, Bin & Huang, H.C. & Ang, B.W. & Zhou, P., 2010. "Input-output analysis of CO2 emissions embodied in trade: The effects of sector aggregation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 166-175, January.
    3. Lenzen, Manfred & Murray, Joy & Sack, Fabian & Wiedmann, Thomas, 2007. "Shared producer and consumer responsibility -- Theory and practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 27-42, February.
    4. Tian, Xin & Chang, Miao & Lin, Chen & Tanikawa, Hiroki, 2014. "China’s carbon footprint: A regional perspective on the effect of transitions in consumption and production patterns," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 19-28.
    5. 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.
    6. Grossman, G.M & Krueger, A.B., 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," Papers 158, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    7. Michael Jakob & Jan Christoph Steckel & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2014. "Consumption- Versus Production-Based Emission Policies," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 297-318, October.
    8. Duan, Cuncun & Chen, Bin & Feng, Kuishuang & Liu, Zhu & Hayat, Tasawar & Alsaedi, Ahmed & Ahmad, Bashir, 2018. "Interregional carbon flows of China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 227(C), pages 342-352.
    9. Felder Stefan & Rutherford Thomas F., 1993. "Unilateral CO2 Reductions and Carbon Leakage: The Consequences of International Trade in Oil and Basic Materials," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 162-176, September.
    10. Michael Hoel, 1991. "Efficient International Agreements for Reducing Emissions of CO2," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 93-108.
    11. Song, Feng & Zheng, Xinye, 2012. "What drives the change in China's energy intensity: Combining decomposition analysis and econometric analysis at the provincial level," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 445-453.
    12. Xuecheng Wang & Xu Tang & Baosheng Zhang & Benjamin C. McLellan & Yang Lv, 2018. "Provincial Carbon Emissions Reduction Allocation Plan in China Based on Consumption Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(5), pages 1-23, April.
    13. Lele Zou & Jinjun Xue & Alan Fox & Bo Meng, 2018. "The Emissions Reduction Effect And Economic Impact Of An Energy Tax Vs. A Carbon Tax In China: A Dynamic Cge Model Analysis," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 63(02), pages 339-387, March.
    14. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and the Environment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 7-71, March.
    15. Su, Bin & Ang, B.W., 2014. "Input–output analysis of CO2 emissions embodied in trade: A multi-region model for China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 377-384.
    16. Yue Dai & Nan Li & Rongrong Gu & Xiaodong Zhu, 2018. "Can China’s Carbon Emissions Trading Rights Mechanism Transform its Manufacturing Industry? Based on the Perspective of Enterprise Behavior," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(7), pages 1-16, July.
    17. Cong, Rong-Gang & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2010. "Potential impact of (CET) carbon emissions trading on China’s power sector: A perspective from different allowance allocation options," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 3921-3931.
    18. Li, Hongbin & Zhou, Li-An, 2005. "Political turnover and economic performance: the incentive role of personnel control in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1743-1762, September.
    19. Wiedmann, Thomas & Wilting, Harry C. & Lenzen, Manfred & Lutter, Stephan & Palm, Viveka, 2011. "Quo Vadis MRIO? Methodological, data and institutional requirements for multi-region input-output analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1937-1945, September.
    20. Hongguang Liu & Xiaomei Fan, 2017. "Value-Added-Based Accounting of CO 2 Emissions: A Multi-Regional Input-Output Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(12), pages 1-18, December.
    21. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 1997. "A Simple Model of Trade, Capital Mobility, and the Environment," NBER Working Papers 5898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Rui Huang & Klaus Hubacek & Kuishuang Feng & Xiaojie Li & Chao Zhang, 2018. "Re-Examining Embodied SO 2 and CO 2 Emissions in China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(5), pages 1-17, May.
    23. Peters, Glen P., 2008. "From production-based to consumption-based national emission inventories," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 13-23, March.
    24. Wiedmann, Thomas, 2009. "A review of recent multi-region input-output models used for consumption-based emission and resource accounting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 211-222, December.
    25. Liang, Qiao-Mei & Fan, Ying & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2007. "Multi-regional input-output model for regional energy requirements and CO2 emissions in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1685-1700, March.
    26. 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.
    27. Wiedmann, Thomas & Lenzen, Manfred & Turner, Karen & Barrett, John, 2007. "Examining the global environmental impact of regional consumption activities -- Part 2: Review of input-output models for the assessment of environmental impacts embodied in trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 15-26, February.
    28. Li, Huimin & Zhao, Xiaofan & Yu, Yuqing & Wu, Tong & Qi, Ye, 2016. "China's numerical management system for reducing national energy intensity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 64-76.
    29. Weiguang Chen & Qing Guo, 2017. "Assessing the Effect of Carbon Tariffs on International Trade and Emission Reduction of China’s Industrial Products under the Background of Global Climate Governance," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(6), pages 1-17, June.
    30. Cole, Matthew A., 2004. "Trade, the pollution haven hypothesis and the environmental Kuznets curve: examining the linkages," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 71-81, January.
    31. Zhang, Ping & Shi, XunPeng & Sun, YongPing & Cui, Jingbo & Shao, Shuai, 2019. "Have China's provinces achieved their targets of energy intensity reduction? Reassessment based on nighttime lighting data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 276-283.
    32. Guo, Ju’e & Zhang, Zengkai & Meng, Lei, 2012. "China’s provincial CO2 emissions embodied in international and interprovincial trade," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 486-497.
    33. Weiguo Fan & Zhicheng Gao & Nan Chen & Hejie Wei & Zihan Xu & Nachuan Lu & Xuechao Wang & Peng Zhang & Jiahui Ren & Sergio Ulgiati & Xiaobin Dong, 2018. "It is Worth Pondering Whether a Carbon Tax is Suitable for China’s Agricultural-Related Sectors," Energies, MDPI, vol. 11(9), pages 1-26, August.
    34. Meng, Bo & Peters, Glen P. & Wang, Zhi & Li, Meng, 2018. "Tracing CO2 emissions in global value chains," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 24-42.
    35. Jiansuo Pei & Bo Meng & Fei Wang & Jinjun Xue & Zhongxiu Zhao, 2018. "Production Sharing, Demand Spillovers And Co2 Emissions: The Case Of Chinese Regions In Global Value Chains," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 63(02), pages 275-293, March.
    36. Gao, Yuning & Li, Meng & Xue, Jinjun & Liu, Yu, 2020. "Evaluation of effectiveness of China's carbon emissions trading scheme in carbon mitigation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    37. Yuan, Xueliang & Zuo, Jian, 2011. "Transition to low carbon energy policies in China--from the Five-Year Plan perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3855-3859, June.
    38. Yinger Zheng & Haixia Zheng & Xinyue Ye, 2016. "Using Machine Learning in Environmental Tax Reform Assessment for Sustainable Development: A Case Study of Hubei Province, China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 8(11), pages 1-20, November.
    39. Robert Koopman & William Powers & Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: Tracing Value Added in Global Production Chains," NBER Working Papers 16426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    40. Xiao Tang & Zhengwen Liu & Hongtao Yi, 2016. "Mandatory Targets and Environmental Performance: An Analysis Based on Regression Discontinuity Design," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 8(9), pages 1-16, September.
    41. Leontief, Wassily, 1970. "Environmental Repercussions and the Economic Structure: An Input-Output Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(3), pages 262-271, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Yawen Han & Wanli Xing & Hongchang Hao & Xin Du & Chongyang Liu, 2022. "Interprovincial Metal and GHG Transfers Embodied in Electricity Transmission across China: Trends and Driving Factors," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(14), pages 1-19, July.
    2. Yongyu Qu & Hongzhen Ni & Jing Zhao & Genfa Chen & Changshun Liu, 2022. "Quantitative Analysis of the Impact of Ecological Industry and Ecological Investment on the Economy: A Case Study of Beijing, China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(16), pages 1-19, August.
    3. Cui, Lixin & Dong, Ruxue & Mu, Yunguo & Shen, Zhiyang & Xu, Jiatong, 2022. "How policy preferences affect the carbon shadow price in the OECD," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 311(C).
    4. Lin, Boqiang & Wang, Chonghao, 2023. "Does industrial relocation affect regional carbon intensity? Evidence from China's secondary industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 173(C).
    5. Kai Liu & Ziyi Ni & Mei Ren & Xiaoqing Zhang, 2022. "Spatial Differences and Influential Factors of Urban Carbon Emissions in China under the Target of Carbon Neutrality," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(11), pages 1-14, May.
    6. Wang, Jiangquan & Nghiem, Xuan-Hoa & Jabeen, Fauzia & Luqman, Adeel & Song, Malin, 2023. "Integrated development of digital and energy industries: Paving the way for carbon emission reduction," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 187(C).
    7. Zhang, Pan & Wang, Huan, 2022. "Do provincial energy policies and energy intensity targets help reduce CO2 emissions? Evidence from China," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 245(C).
    8. Zhou, Xing & Wu, Hegao & Cheng, Li & Huang, Quanshui & Shi, Changzheng, 2023. "A new draft tube shape optimisation methodology of introducing inclined conical diffuser in hydraulic turbine," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 265(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Zhang, Zengkai & Guo, Ju'e & Hewings, Geoffrey J.D., 2014. "The effects of direct trade within China on regional and national CO2 emissions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 161-175.
    2. Zhang, Bo & Yang, T.R. & Chen, B. & Sun, X.D., 2016. "China’s regional CH4 emissions: Characteristics, interregional transfer and mitigation policies," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 1184-1195.
    3. Xu, Xueliu & Wang, Qian & Ran, Chenyang & Mu, Mingjie, 2021. "Is burden responsibility more effective? A value-added method for tracing worldwide carbon emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 181(C).
    4. Boya Zhang & Shukuan Bai & Yadong Ning & Tao Ding & Yan Zhang, 2020. "Emission Embodied in International Trade and Its Responsibility from the Perspective of Global Value Chain: Progress, Trends, and Challenges," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(8), pages 1-26, April.
    5. Li, Meng & Gao, Yuning & Meng, Bo & Meng, Jing, 2023. "Tracing embodied energy use through global value chains: Channel decomposition and analysis of influential factors," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 208(C).
    6. Chen, Zhan-Ming & Liu, Yu & Qin, Ping & Zhang, Bo & Lester, Leo & Chen, Guanghua & Guo, Yumei & Zheng, Xinye, 2015. "Environmental externality of coal use in China: Welfare effect and tax regulation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 16-31.
    7. Mi, Zhifu & Zhang, Yunkun & Guan, Dabo & Shan, Yuli & Liu, Zhu & Cong, Ronggang & Yuan, Xiao-Chen & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2016. "Consumption-based emission accounting for Chinese cities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 1073-1081.
    8. Liu, Qiaoling & Wang, Qi, 2015. "Reexamine SO2 emissions embodied in China's exports using multiregional input–output analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 39-50.
    9. Zhang, Youguo & Tang, Zhipeng, 2015. "Driving factors of carbon embodied in China's provincial exports," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 445-454.
    10. Xia, Yan & Fan, Ying & Yang, Cuihong, 2015. "Assessing the impact of foreign content in China’s exports on the carbon outsourcing hypothesis," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 296-307.
    11. Zhang, Bo & Qiao, H. & Chen, B., 2015. "Embodied energy uses by China’s four municipalities: A study based on multi-regional input–output model," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 318(C), pages 138-149.
    12. Wu, Sanmang & Li, Shantong & Lei, Yalin & Li, Li, 2020. "Temporal changes in China's production and consumption-based CO2 emissions and the factors contributing to changes," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    13. Yuhuan Zhao & Song Wang & Jiaqin Yang & Zhonghua Zhang & Ya Liu, 2016. "Input-output analysis of carbon emissions embodied in China-Japan trade," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(16), pages 1515-1529, April.
    14. Hehua Zhao & Hongwen Chen & Lei He, 2022. "Embodied Carbon Emissions and Regional Transfer Characteristics—Evidence from China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(4), pages 1-20, February.
    15. 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.
    16. Misato Sato, 2014. "Embodied Carbon In Trade: A Survey Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 831-861, December.
    17. Zhang, Youguo, 2015. "Provincial responsibility for carbon emissions in China under different principles," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 142-153.
    18. Sanmang Wu & Yalin Lei & Shantong Li, 2017. "Provincial carbon footprints and interprovincial transfer of embodied CO2 emissions in China," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 85(1), pages 537-558, January.
    19. Yu, Liu & Meng, Bo & Hubacek, Klaus & Xue, Jinjun & Feng, Kuishuang & Gao, Yuning, 2016. "How does firm heterogeneity information impact the estimation of embodied carbon emissions in Chinese exports?," IDE Discussion Papers 592, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    20. Sun, Licheng & Wang, Qunwei & Zhang, Jijian, 2017. "Inter-industrial Carbon Emission Transfers in China: Economic Effect and Optimization Strategy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 55-62.

    More about this item


    Carbon emission; Carbon transfer; Target based polices; Input-output analysis; Policy evaluation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • C67 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Input-Output Models
    • C54 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Quantitative Policy Modeling


    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:eee:enepol:v:151:y:2021:i:c:s0301421521000586. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.