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Study of the nonlinear relations between economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions in the Eastern, Central and Western regions of China

Nie, Yongyou, Li, Qucheng, Wang, Enci, Zhang, Tsangyao
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.219 pp. 713-722
adverse effects, carbon dioxide, economic impact, energy, energy conservation, environmental impact, greenhouse effect, greenhouse gas emissions, models, sustainable development, China
People's lives have been improved during the past three decades due to rapid economic development in China, which has also resulted in ecological destruction and many side effects, especially the greenhouse effect caused by the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2). This study first uses the method of the IPCC to estimate the CO2 emissions of provinces and municipalities in the eastern, central and western regions of China from 1995 to 2014. Based on these estimations, the study uses the PSTR model to represent the features of non-linear mechanisms to analyze the relationship between CO2 emissions and per capita GDP in the three regions during this period. Thus, this model derives the influences of population elasticity and the energy consumption on CO2 emissions in the three regions. The effect of economic development on CO2 emissions was heterogeneous across the regions. We found that in the eastern region, the correlation between CO2 emissions and per capita GDP is positive. As the economic mechanism transitions rapidly in the eastern region and the economic scale reaches the threshold value (after 1995), every 1% increase in per capita GDP causes a 0.28% rise in CO2 emissions; in the central and western regions, the transformation of the economic mechanism occurred in approximately 2005, and the correlation between CO2 emissions and per capita GDP turns out to be weakly negative. The population elasticity is −0.0948 in the central region and −0.2283 in the western region. Because of the regional disparities in economic impact on the environment, specific region-tailored energy saving and emission reduction strategies are of great importance so as to provide a more effective approach to achieving sustainable development in China.