Upgrading or downgrading: China's regional carbon emission intensity evolution and its determinants

Kailan Tian, Erik Dietzenbacher, Bingqian Yan, Yuwan Duan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

One of China's major national targets is to environmentally upgrade its economy. In this paper, we define environmental upgrading as lowering the carbon intensity. The disparities among China's regions suggest to examine China's carbon emission performance at the regional level. For this purpose, we use inter-regional input-output tables (for 2002, 2007, and 2012) that distinguish processing exports from ordinary exports. The regional emission intensities (EIs) show environmental downgrading in the period 2002-2007 and upgrading during 2007-2012. To identify the determinants of the evolution of regional EIs, we have employed a multiplicative structural decomposition analysis. Changes in direct emission coefficients and changes in production technology are found to be the major determinants. However, next to these standard determinants, we also evaluate the effects on the changes in regional EIs of changes in inter-regional trade and changes in inter-regional spillovers. Changing inter-regional trade is found to have increased the EI significantly in western and central regions. This suggests that more "dirty" production was shifted from coastal to inland regions. Our study yields clear policy recommendations for achieving China's transformation to a low-carbon economy. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104891
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Economics
Volume91
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2020

Keywords

  • Emission intensity
  • Regional heterogeneity
  • Processing trade
  • Multiplicative structural decomposition analysis
  • Inter-regional input-output model
  • STRUCTURAL DECOMPOSITION ANALYSIS
  • AGGREGATE EMBODIED ENERGY
  • DRIVING FORCES
  • CO2 EMISSIONS
  • INTERNATIONAL-TRADE
  • GROWTH
  • ATTRIBUTION
  • INDUSTRIAL
  • SPILLOVER
  • EXPORTS

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