Carbon emissions accounting for China’s coal mining sector: invisible sources of climate change

  • Bing WangEmail author
  • Chao-Qun Cui
  • Yi-Xin ZhaoEmail author
  • Bo Yang
  • Qing-Zhou Yang
Original Paper


Coal is the primary source of China’s carbon emissions due to the energy structure and its resource endowment. This reality creates enormous pressure and impetus for low-carbon pathways of coal production and consumption. Based on a literature review on carbon emissions accounting methods, this paper builds a source-driven CO2 emissions accounting model for the coal development sector using the emissions factor method. Scenario analysis is employed to predict future carbon emission equivalents and to indicate possible implications for climate change mitigation in this sector. Carbon emissions from coal development are mainly derived from coal mine gas emissions, which yield 62% of the sector’s total carbon emissions, followed by energy consumption. The recent decline in coal mining-driven CO2 emissions is mainly due to the strict deployment of coal mine gas and the changing structure of coal mines. The results from the scenarios suggest that the carbon emissions reduction potential will largely be determined by technology innovation in the coal mine gas industry. Policy implications for further addressing carbon emissions from the supply side of the coal industry include improvements in energy efficiency and coal mine gas extraction and utilization.


Mining sector Carbon emissions accounting Coal development Emissions factor Coal mine gas 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71704178), Beijing Municipal Excellent Talents Foundation (No. 2017000020124G133), Yue Qi Distinguished Scholar Project of China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), National Statistical Science Research Project by National Bureau of Statistics of China (No. 2017LY10), and Major Consulting Project of Chinese Academy of Engineering (Nos. 2016-ZD-07, 2017-ZD-03). We also greatly appreciate the comments from the seminar participants in workshop organized by Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Supplementary material

11069_2018_3526_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory for Precise Mining of Intergrown Energy and ResourcesChina University of Mining and Technology (Beijing)BeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and Safety EngineeringChina University of Mining and Technology (Beijing)BeijingChina
  3. 3.School of ManagementChina University of Mining and Technology (Beijing)BeijingChina

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