Disaggregating the electricity sector of China's input-output table for improved environmental life-cycle assessment

S. Lindner, J. Legault, D. Guan

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66 Citations (Scopus)


Missing process detail of sectors in Input-Output (I-O) tables has been pointed out as a limitation of I-O analysis in environmental-economic life cycle assessment. Aggregation of resource-intensive sectors decreases the accuracy of the results. Often, economic sectors are compiled in a more aggregated form than environmental satellite accounts, and as [Lenzen, M. (2011) Aggregation Versus Disaggregation in Input-Output Analysis of the Environment. Economic Systems Research, 23, 73-89] asserts, it is superior for environmental analysis to disaggregate the I-O table, even if only partial information exists for the disaggregation. In this paper we present a methodology to disaggregate the electricity sector of the Chinese national I-O table by using regional information and cost data for operation and maintenance of power plants. The electricity sector is disaggregated into a transmission and distribution sector as well as eight sub-sectors representing different types of technology in power plants (subcritical coal, hydro, etc.). The electricity consumption mix of each industry is determined by using regional industry presence and regional electricity power mixes. The disaggregated I-O table offers refined results for calculating emissions embodied in international exports from China, a valuable contribution for estimating national greenhouse gases emissions inventories under the consumption-based approach for countries that rely heavily on imports of goods from China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-320
Number of pages21
JournalEconomic Systems Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • Disaggregation
  • Electricity sector
  • Environmental-economic life-cycle assessment

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