Local strategies for China's carbon mitigation: An investigation of Chinese city-level CO2 emissions

Bofeng Cai, Huanxiu Guo, Libin Cao, Dabo Guan, Hongtao Bai

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This paper provides a systematic analysis that identifies the driving forces of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 286 Chinese prefecture-level cities in 2012. The regression analysis confirms the economic scale and structure effects on cities' CO2 emissions in China. If China's annual economic growth continues at the rate of 7%, CO2 emissions will increase by about 6% annually. In addition, climate conditions, urbanization and public investment in R&D are identified as important driving forces to increase the CO2 emissions of Chinese cities. While an increment of the urbanization rate by 1% increases the CO2 emissions by about 0.9%; An increase in R&D investment by 1% can help reduce CO2 emissions by 0.21%. As cities in our study vary greatly based on their industry composition, development stage and geographical location, the patterns of their CO2 emissions are also variable. Our study improves the comprehensiveness and accuracy of previous carbon accounting method by distinguishing the scope 1 and scope 2 CO2 emissions and establishing a high spatial resolution dataset of CO2 emissions (CHRED). The analysis covers almost all Chinese prefectural cities and derives useful implications for China's low carbon development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-902
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date5 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018


  • CO2 emissions
  • Carbon accounting
  • Local strategy
  • Urban development
  • China

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