Humanities&Social Sciences

BITs Research Result China's Economic Growth and Household Carbon Footprint is Published on Natures Sub-issue Nature Sustainability

  Beijing Institute of Technology, April 2nd, 2020: Research result of team of Professor Wei Yiming of Beijing Institute of Technology, titled China's Economic Growth and Household Carbon Footprint was published on Natures sub-issue Nature Sustainability in the form of Research Article on March 30th. This work is the result of the National Key R & D Project (2016YFA0602600) Research on Comprehensive Assessment Models of Economic Impacts of Climate Change led by Professor Wei Yiming, who is the corresponding author of the article, and Doctor Mi Zhifu, Ph.D. graduate of BIT, Assistant Professor at University College London is the first author of this article. Partners include Nicholas Stern, a well-known author of the Stern Report, Professor of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and several other international scholars.

  Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations, it is clearly stated that we should achieve no poverty, reduce inequality and mitigate climate change. And these sustainable development goals are interrelated. This article explores the role of China's economic growth on these goals and finds that the continuous growth of China's economy has not only increased the level of income of residents, but also promotes the equality of the household carbon footprint. The study calculated the carbon footprint of households in different income groups in 30 provinces in China and explored the links between mitigation in climate change, poverty eradication, and inequality reduction goals, and provides a coordinated governance mechanism to mitigate climate change and reduce inequities.

  The study found that the carbon footprint of households with different incomes in China varies greatly, and the per capita carbon footprint in rich areas is higher. In 2012, based on income, the top 5% of the population contributed 17% of the country's household carbon footprint, while the bottom 50% of the population contributed only 25%. From a perspective of urban and rural areas, in 2012, the urban population accounted for 53% of the total population in 2012, while they contributed 74% of the country's household carbon footprint. There is a huge difference between urban and rural areas in household carbon footprint. The per capita carbon footprint of urban households is 2.8 tons, 2.5 times the per capita carbon footprint of rural households.

  The study also finds that China's economic growth helps promote equity in household carbon footprints. Judging from the time span, China's carbon footprint Gini coefficient (the smaller, the more equal) has dropped from 0.44 in 2007 to 0.37 in 2012. From a spatial perspective, the equity of household carbon footprints in affluent areas is higher. For example, in 2012, the per capita GDP of Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai, and Jiangsu province is 68,000, but their Gini coefficients of carbon footprint were low, 0.19, 0.16, 0.14, and 0.18, respectively. On the contrary, the Gini coefficient of the carbon footprint of the less developed regions is higher. For example, carbon footprint Gini coefficient of Guizhou province is 0.38.

  Previously, Professor Wei Yiming's team has successively published research articles in three sub-issues of Nature, including Nature Energy, Nature Climate Change, and Nature Communications.


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Translator: News Agency of BIT

Editor: News Agency of BIT