Carbon emissions of cities from a consumption-based perspective

Zhifu Mi, Jiali Zheng, Jing Meng, Heran Zheng, Xian Li, D'Maris Coffman, Johan Woltjer, Shouyang Wang, Dabo Guan

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Carbon emission inventories are the foundations of climate change mitigation and adaptation in cities. In this study, we estimated production-based CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes in eleven cities in Hebei Province of China in 2012 and used input-output theory to measure their consumption-based CO2 emissions. By comprehensively comparing production- and consumption-based emissions, we found that six developed cities were consumers with import-depended trade patterns, while the five other cities were producers, mostly medium in size, with the potential to transform into consumer cities with socioeconomic development. Emissions embodied in imports accounted for more than half of the consumption-based emissions in most cities, which shows the significance of interregional cooperation in tackling climate change. International cooperation is also important at the city level, as international imports also impact consumption-based emissions. From the perspective of final use, emissions caused by fixed capital formation predominated in most cities and were determined by their economic development models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-518
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date9 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Consumption-based accounting
  • Production-based accounting
  • Embodied CO2 emissions
  • City
  • Input-output model

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