Spatial econometric analysis of carbon emission intensity and its driving factors from energy consumption in China

Yeqing Cheng, Zheye Wang, Shouzhi Zhang, Xinyue Ye, Huiming Jiang

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71 Scopus citations


The economic and social development has been facing with serious challenge brought by global climate change due to carbon emissions. As a responsible developing country, China pledged to reduce its carbon emission intensity by 40%-45% below 2005 levels by 2020. The realization of this target depends on not only the substantive transition of society, economy and industrial structure in national scale, but also the specific action and share of energy saving and emissions reduction in provincial scale. Based on the method provided by the IPCC, this paper examines the spatio-temporal dynamic patterns and domain factors of China's carbon emission intensity from energy consumption in 1997-2010 using spatial autocorrelation analysis and spatial panel econometric model. The aim is to provide scientific basis for making different policies on energy conservation and carbon emission reduction in China. The results are shown as follows. Firstly, China's carbon emissions increased from 4.16 Gt to 11.29 Gt in 1997-2010, with an annual rate of 7.15%, which was much slower than that of annual growth rate of GDP (11.72%); therefore, China's carbon emission intensity tended to decline. Secondly, the changing curve of Moran's I indicated that China's carbon emission intensity from energy consumption has a continued strengthening tendency of spatial agglomeration at provincial scale. The provinces with higher and lower values appeared to be path-dependent or space-locked to some extent. Third, according to the analysis of spatial panel econometric model, it can be found that energy intensity, energy structure, industrial structure and urbanization rate were the domain factors that have impact on the spatio-temporal patterns of China's carbon emission intensity from energy consumption. Therefore, in order to realize the targets of energy conservation and emission reduction, we should improve the utilizing efficiency of energy, and optimize energy and industrial structure, and choose the low-carbon urbanization way and implement regional cooperation strategy of energy conservation and emissions reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1418-1431
Number of pages14
JournalDili Xuebao/Acta Geographica Sinica
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Carbon emission intensity
  • China
  • Spatial autocorrelation
  • Spatial panel econometric model


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