Frequent interactions of Tibet's CO2 emissions with those of other regions in China

Jiamin Ou, Jing Meng, Heran Zheng, Zhifu Mi, Yuli Shan, Dabo Guan

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Tibet is usually missing from China's emission accounts, especially from those of consumption‐based emissions. In this study, we developed a multi‐regional input‐output (MRIO) table for 31 provinces in China and examined the production‐ and consumption‐based characteristics of Tibet's CO2 emissions in 2012. Results show that the consumption‐based CO2 emissions in Tibet (18.8 Mt, similar to Guinea's emissions in 2015) were three times as high as the production‐based estimate (6.2 Mt). Tibet displays unique emission patterns with the highest ratio of consumption‐ to production‐based emissions in China, which are more similar with the east developed provinces rather than its counterparts in west China. More than half of Tibet's consumption‐based emissions are supported by Qinghai, Hebei, Sichuan and others, enabled by the Qinghai‐Tibet railway that connected Tibet to China's national railway system. High carbon footprint but low life expectancy is found in Tibet, suggesting the emerging need of a more sustainable consumption pathway under the intensifying interregional connections by Belt and Road Initiative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-502
JournalEarth's Future
Issue number4
Early online date28 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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