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Examining the effects of socioeconomic development on China's carbon productivity: A panel data analysis

Li, Shijie, Wang, Shaojian
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.659 pp. 681-690
carbon, developing countries, energy, energy conservation, foreign direct investment, issues and policy, models, socioeconomic development, socioeconomic factors, trade, urbanization, China
China, which is the largest carbon emitter and the largest developing country in the world, faces the challenge of achieving energy conservation and emission reduction without sacrificing economic development. Improving carbon productivity consists a possible way to seek a coordination between economic development and carbon emission reduction. Therefore, it is of great significance to examine the effects of socioeconomic development on China's carbon productivity and accordingly provide policy suggestions for China's low-carbon economic development. However, this topic has not been adequately addressed in previous studies. In order to fill this gap, this study detailed an empirical investigation into the impacts of socioeconomic development on China's carbon productivity. First, aided by spatial analysis methods, a detailed analysis of the spatiotemporal patterns and dynamics of China's province-level carbon productivity was conducted. Moreover, using an extended STIRPAT model and panel data modeling technique, the effects of a range of socioeconomic factors on China's carbon productivity were quantitatively examined. The results indicated that China's carbon productivity increased gradually between 1997 and 2016, and carbon productivity in East China was much higher than that of their counterparts in Central China and West China. Provincial administrative units with highly developed economies witnessed spectacular increases in carbon productivity. Panel data analysis demonstrated that GDP per capita, technology level, trade openness, and foreign direct investment exerted positive effects, while energy consumption structure, industrial proportion, and urbanization level exerted negative effects, on China's carbon productivity. Based on the findings of this study, a series of policy suggestions with respect to improving China's carbon productivity were proposed.