Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2023, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (6): 1245-1270.doi: 10.1007/s11442-023-2128-4

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatio-temporal differences and influencing factors of carbon emission equity in the Loess Plateau based on major function-oriented zones

SONG Yongyong1(), XIA Siyou2,3,*(), XUE Dongqian1, MA Beibei1, LIU Xianfeng1   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-06-29 Accepted:2023-03-03 Online:2023-06-25 Published:2023-06-26
  • Contact: *Xia Siyou (1991-), PhD, specialized in energy geography and sustainable development. E-mail:
  • About author:Song Yongyong (1990-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in regional geography and sustainable development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42001251);The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(GK202201008)


In this paper, we firstly constructed a theoretical framework based on major function-oriented zones (MFOZs). Then taking the Loess Plateau (LP) as the study area, we revealed the spatio-temporal differences and influencing factors of carbon emission equity by using the carbon equity model, Theil index, and Geo-detector. The results showed that: (1) From 2000 to 2017, the carbon equity of the Loess Plateau showed a downward trend, but the ecological carbon equity remained above 2.3, which was significantly higher than the economic carbon equity. (2) The ecological carbon equity in the Loess Plateau increased from the core of urban agglomeration to the periphery. The spatial pattern of economic carbon equity changed from low in the northeast and high in the southwest to low in the north and high in the south. The ecological support coefficient and economic contribution coefficient of provincial capital cities and their surrounding districts remained low since 2000. (3) The equity of carbon emissions in each function-oriented zone in the Loess Plateau was compatible with its orientation. The ecological carbon equity of the key ecological functional zones (KEFZs) was significantly higher than that of the key development zones (KDZs) and the major agricultural production zones (MAPZs), while the economic carbon equity of the KDZs was significantly higher than that of the MAPZs and the KEFZs. (4) The formation and evolution of the spatial differentiation pattern of carbon equity in the Loess Plateau was the result of the long-term interaction effects of geographic location, social economy, science and technology level, and policy system. Among them, eco-environmental protection policy, government financial support, and geographical location are the key driving factors for the spatial pattern of ecological carbon equity. Geographical location, social economic level, and science and technology level are the key factors driving the spatial pattern of economic carbon equity. According to this study, to achieving carbon equity on the Loess Plateau region, what the key approaches are to fully implement the planning of MFOZs, design differentiated regional carbon compensation mechanisms, improve energy efficiency and ecological environment capacity, and build a collaborative regional carbon emission governance system. This research can not only provide an effective framework for analysing the carbon equity, but also offer policy implication for promoting carbon emission reduction and achieving high-quality development goals in the ecologically fragile areas.

Key words: major function-oriented zones (MFOZs), equity of carbon emissions, spatio-temporal differences, influencing factors, Geo-detector, Loess Plateau