Lifestyles, technology and CO2 emissions in China:A regional comparative analysis

Feng, Kuishuang, Hubacek, Klaus and Guan, Dabo (2009) Lifestyles, technology and CO2 emissions in China:A regional comparative analysis. Ecological Economics, 69 (1). pp. 145-154. ISSN 0921-8009

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With rapid economic development, higher income levels, urbanization and other socio-economic drivers, people's lifestyles in China have changed remarkably over the last 50 years. This paper uses the IPAT model (where I = Impact representing CO2 emissions, P = Population, A = Affluence, and T = emission intensity) to analyze how these main drivers contributed to the growth of CO2 emissions over this time period. Affluence or lifestyle change has been variously recognized as one of the key factors contributing to CO2 emissions. Through comparative analysis of the development of five regions in China, we trace lifestyle changes since the foundation of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 until 2002. We find that household consumption across the five regions follows similar trajectories, driven by changes in income and the increasing availability of goods and services, although significant differences still exist between and within regions due to differential policies in China and different possibilities for social mobility. There are considerable differences between the southeast and northwest and between urban and rural areas. We also found that technological improvements have not been able to fully compensate for the increase of emissions due to population growth and increasing wealth, which is also in line with results from other studies. Finally, this paper emphasizes that developing countries such as China, which is home to 22% of the world population and a growing middle class, and which is on a fast track to modernization, need to ensure that people's lifestyles are changing towards more sustainable ways of living. China has been investing heavily in infrastructure and thus creating the emissions of tomorrow. Thus investing, for example, in public transport and low energy building today will help reduce emissions in the future and will support more sustainable lifestyles.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: china,climate change,emission intensity,energy,ipat,lifestyle change,sustainable consumption and production,economics and econometrics,environmental science(all),sdg 8 - decent work and economic growth,sdg 11 - sustainable cities and communities,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2000/2002
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Water Security Research Centre
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 23:09
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 01:21
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.08.007

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