Decarbonizing China’s Urban Agglomerations

Shaojian Wang*, Chuanglin Fang, Laixiang Sun, Yongxian Su, Xiuzhi Chen, Chunshan Zhou, Kuishuang Feng, Klaus Hubacek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


China’s urban agglomerations contribute 64 percent to China’s energy-related CO 2 emissions and thus play a vital role in determining the future of climate change. There is little information available about city-level energy consumption and CO 2 emissions; thus, we employ spatiotemporal modeling using Defense Meteorological Satellite Program/Operational Line-scan System (DMSP/OLS) nighttime light imagery. Our findings show that such agglomerations have in fact experienced a remarkable decline in CO 2 emission intensity—from 0.43 t/thousand yuan to 0.20 t/thousand yuan between 1995 and 2013, which constitutes an average annual decline of 4.34 percent. Despite still very high CO 2 intensities in western China, a convergence of CO 2 intensities across the country has occurred over the last few decades. Using panel regression modeling, we analyze differences in the decline of CO 2 emission intensities due to regional differences in socioeconomic variables such as economic growth, population, economic structure, population density, and characteristics of urbanization. Factors that have hampered the decline of CO 2 intensities are the ongoing industrialization that demands the increase in the production of heavy industry, in infrastructure investment, and in housing stock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-285
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2-Jan-2019
Externally publishedYes


  • aglomeraciones urbanas
  • imágenes de luminosidad nocturna
  • intensidad de la emisión de CO
  • modelado espaciotemporal

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