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CO2 emissions from household consumption at the provincial level and interprovincial transfer in China

Wu, Sanmang, Lei, Yalin, Li, Shantong
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.210 pp. 93-104
capital, carbon dioxide, emissions factor, greenhouse gas emissions, household consumption, households, issues and policy, lifestyle, models, per-capita income, river deltas, rivers, urbanization, China, Yangtze River
China is under great pressure to reduce CO2 emissions (CEs). Meanwhile, China's economy is more reliant on domestic consumption (particularly household consumption) than on exports. So, to achieve large-scale CEs' reduction for China, there is urgent need to study the CO2 emissions from household consumption (CEsHC). Based on the environmentally extended Multiregional Input-Output model, this paper not only calculates both the direct CO2 emissions from household consumption (DCEs-CH) and the indirect CO2 emissions from household consumption (ICEsCH)at the provincial level in China, but also splits ICEsCH into domestic and foreign CEs. The findings of this paper are as follows: (1) between 2002 and 2012, CEsHC in China increased significantly, by 2.27 times, from 1306.17 Mt in 2002 to 2971.01 Mt in 2012. The CO2 emissions from urban household consumption (CEsUHC) in China accounted for 75% of the total CEsHC in 2012. (2) The per capita CEsHC in China increased from 1.02 t/person in 2002 to 2.19 t/person in 2012. There was a prominent disparity in the total CEs and per capital CEsHC among the provinces in China. The per capita CEsHC were larger in provinces with a higher level of urbanization and higher per capita income. (3) The large-scale interprovincial transfer of ICEs caused by household consumption mainly occurred either within the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, and the Jing-Jin-Ji region or among these three regions. In addition, to service the household consumption, the energy-abundant provinces transferred a considerable amount of CEs to eastern coastal provinces. To achieve CEs' reduction, consumption-based strategies, such as lifestyle changes, should be required in parallel with strategies to reduce emission intensities on the producer side in China. Urban households should take more responsibility for the reduction of CEs in China. The interprovincial “Carbon leakage” should be taken into account when making policies for CEs' reduction in China.