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A regional-scale decomposition of energy-related carbon emission and its decoupling from economic growth in China

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Abstract

China, known as the largest carbon emitter and the second largest economy worldwide, has continued to put effort into the understandings of the main drivers of carbon emission and their decoupling statuses from its economic growth. Considering the significant differences of natural and social environments in different regions of China, this paper presents a regional-scale decomposition of energy-related carbon emission and its decoupling from economic growth by using the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) and the Tapio decoupling method. The decoupling results indicate that carbon emissions in all regions show a stable decoupling trend from their economic development, which means that China is now on the right road for achieving a low-carbon economy. However, the decoupling status by the end of 2016 also indicates that most of the regions are still in the states of expansive coupling or weak decoupling, especially in Northwest (NW), which implies that the speed of decarbonization process is still not high enough. The decomposition results show that in all regions except NW, GDP per capita is the most influential factor leading to increasing carbon emissions, while energy intensity is the largest factor in reducing carbon emissions. In NW, both GDP per capita and energy intensity drive the increase in carbon emissions. The results in this paper could benefit China’s regional policy-making and national strategies.

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Funding

This research has been financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 71874201, 71503264, 71673297, and 71874202) and the Humanities and Social Sciences Youth Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 19YJCZH106). The authors would also like to thank Mike Jones at SLU Swedish Biodiversity Centre for his advice on language modifications.

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Correspondence to Jianliang Wang.

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Wang, J., Yang, Y. A regional-scale decomposition of energy-related carbon emission and its decoupling from economic growth in China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 20889–20903 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-08567-w

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