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Structural Changes in Provincial Emission Transfers within China

Chen Pan, Glen Peters, Robbie Andrew, Jan Ivar Korsbakken, Shantong Li, Peng Zhou, Dequn Zhou

Chinese provinces ultimately implement China’s national climate policies. In the 2000s, there were unbalanced emission transfers (emissions produced in one region but consumed in other regions) between China’s well- and less-developed regions, mainly related to demand in the well-developed eastern provinces. In the past decade, the plateau in China’s exported emissions and changes in its industrial structure suggest that the features of the provincial emission transfers could have changed. We construct a Chinese provincial multiyear, multisector model (multi-regional input–output model) to investigate the structural changes in China’s provincial emission transfers from 2002 to 2012. We find that from 2007 to 2012, the international-export-associated emission transfers driven by eastern provinces decreased by 17% after the 262% increase in 2002–07, while investment dominated 99% of the increase in emission transfers. At the sector level, emissions caused by construction in the east and west, and technology-intensive manufacturing in the center that largely related to investment were the major components of the increasing emission transfers in 2007–12, accounting for 23%, 21%, and 10% of the increase, respectively. Our findings indicate that attention should be given to committed emissions from investment and the interaction between non-uniform provincial climate policies and economic relationships between provinces.

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