Urban energy use and carbon emissions from cities in China and policy implications
Urban areas contain 40% of the population and contribute 75% of the Chinese national economy. Thus, a better understanding of urban energy uses is necessary for Chinese decision-makers at various levels to address energy security, climate change mitigation, and local pollution abatement. Therefore, this paper addresses three key questions: What is the urban contribution to China's energy usage and CO2 emissions? What is the contribution of large cities, and what alternate energy-economy pathways are they following? How have energy uses and CO2 emissions transformed in the last two decades in key Chinese cities? This three-tier analysis illustrates the changes in urban energy uses and CO2 emissions in China. The results show that the urban contributions make up 84% of China's commercial energy usage. The 35 largest cities in China, which contain 18% of the population, contribute 40% of China's energy uses and CO2 emissions. In four provincial cities, the per capita energy usage and CO2 emissions have increased several-fold. Rapid progress was made in reducing the carbon intensity of economic activities in cities throughout the 1990s, but alarmingly, such progress has either slowed down or been reversed in the last few years. These results have important policy implications.
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