Spatiotemporal Evolution and Driving Forces of the Carbon Emissions of the Yangtze River Delta Urban Agglomeration
Lei Ye 1,2
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School of Geographic Science, Nantong University, Nantong 226007, China
Jiangsu Yangtze River Economic Belt Research Institute, Nantong University, Nantong 226007, China
Guiling Wang   

School of Geographic Science; Jiangsu Yangtze River Economic Belt Research Institute, Nantong University, China
Submission date: 2022-09-05
Final revision date: 2022-11-02
Acceptance date: 2022-12-12
Online publication date: 2023-02-14
Publication date: 2023-04-14
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2023;32(3):2417–2428
International hot topics such as carbon emission reduction and carbon neutrality and the growing regional ecological problems highlight the importance of low carbon development, and strengthening regional carbon emission research is increasingly important for exploring the path of global sustainable development in the new era. This study uses global and local spatial autocorrelation, geographic Detectors and Gini coefficients to carry out a dynamic comparative analysis of the spatial and temporal patterns of carbon emissions per capita of 41 cities in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) urban agglomeration from 2006-2018 and to explore the driving forces. The results indicate that:
1) Over the study period, the per capita carbon emissions of the entire YRD urban agglomeration exhibited a “slow and subsequently sharp” continuous increase, while the corresponding Gini coefficient exhibited a “decreasing and subsequently increasing” trend.
2) Per capita carbon emissions at the city scale were spatially divergent from north to south, with the Yangtze River being the dividing line. Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou and other municipalities or provincial capitals had much higher per capita carbon emissions than those of other cities, with the spatial “Matthew effect” being more obvious.
3) Per capita carbon emissions of the YRD urban agglomeration exhibited significant positive spatial correlations during the study period, with the high–high agglomeration cities gradually moving to the northwest and the low–low agglomeration cities remaining basically unchanged and but away from steady states slowly.
4) The gross industrial product, urbanization rate, and road length were the main drivers of increased per capita carbon emissions in this region; therefore, carbon reduction initiatives of local governments should fully consider any urban differences and play exemplary leading roles in developed cities and provincial capitals.