The consumption-based black carbon emissions of China's megacities

Jing Meng, Zhifu Mi, Haozhe Yang, Yuli Shan, Dabo Guan, Junfeng Liu

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A growing body of literature discusses the CO2 emissions of cities. Still, little is known about black carbon (BC), a short-lived warming agent. Identifying the drivers of urban BC emissions is crucial for targeting cleanup efforts. A consumption-based approach enables all emissions to be allocated along the production chain to the product and place of final consumption, whereas a production approach attributes emissions to the place where goods and services are produced. In this study, we calculate the production-based and consumption-based emissions in 2012 in four Chinese megacities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing. The results show that capital formation is the largest contributor, accounting for 37%–69% of consumption-based emissions. Approximately 44% of BC emissions related to goods consumed in Chongqing and more than 60% for Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin occur outside of the city boundary. The large gap between consumption and production-based emissions can be attributed to the great difference in embodied emission intensities. Therefore, collaborative efforts to reduce emission intensity can be effective in mitigating climate change for megacities as either producers or consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275-1282
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date27 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2017


  • Black carbon
  • Megacities
  • Input-output analysis
  • Decomposition analysis

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