Examining Economic Development and Carbon Emissions in China’s Low-Carbon Pilot Provinces
Chen Li1, Xiaohu Li1, Xigang Zhu2
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1School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210023, China
2School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093, China
Submission date: 2016-10-30
Final revision date: 2017-04-16
Acceptance date: 2017-04-16
Online publication date: 2017-09-11
Publication date: 2017-11-07
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2017;26(6):2619–2631
Taking small-scale areas as research units, this paper empirically explores the dynamic relationship between economic development and carbon emissions from 1995 to 2013 in China’s low-carbon pilot provinces. This subject has been neglected in the literature. We first apply decoupling theory to analyse the decoupling of economic development and carbon emissions. We then apply a STIRPAT model and ridge regression to deconstruct the mechanism whereby economic development influences carbon emissions in China’s low-carbon provinces. Empirical results show a positive linear correlation between economic development and carbon emissions in the examined provinces. We find that population size and industrial structure most prominently affect carbon emissions; however, per capita wealth, technological progress, and policy factors do not show the expected significance. Our results allow policymakers to formulate lowcarbon policies on the basis of empirically verified situations in the examined regions. They suggest that restricting population growth and transforming industrial structures are the keys to reducing China’s carbon emissions.