Economic development and converging household carbon footprints in China

Zhifu Mi*, Jiali Zheng, Jing Meng, Jiamin Ou, Klaus Hubacek, Zhu Liu, D'Maris Coffman, Nicholas Stern, Sai Liang, Yi-Ming Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    There are substantial differences in carbon footprints across households. This study applied an environmentally extended multiregional input–output approach to estimate household carbon footprints for 12 different income groups of China’s 30 regions. Subsequently, carbon footprint Gini coefficients were calculated to measure carbon inequality for households across provinces. We found that the top 5% of income earners were responsible for 17% of the national household carbon footprint in 2012, while the bottom half of income earners caused only 25%. Carbon inequality declined with economic growth in China across space and time in two ways: first, carbon footprints showed greater convergence in the wealthier coastal regions than in the poorer inland regions; second, China’s national carbon footprint Gini coefficients declined from 0.44 in 2007 to 0.37 in 2012. We argue that economic growth not only increases income levels but also contributes to an overall reduction in carbon inequality in China.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)529–537
    Number of pages12
    JournalNature sustainability
    Volume3
    Issue number7
    Early online date30-Mar-2020
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul-2020

    Keywords

    • INCOME INEQUALITY
    • LATIN-AMERICA
    • CO2 EMISSION
    • POOR
    • IMPACTS
    • TAXES

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