Research Articles

Urban carbon footprint and carbon cycle pressure:The case study of Nanjing

  • 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. College of Resources and Environment, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou 450045, China;
    3. College of Civil Construction Engineering, Zhengzhou Institute of Aeronautical Industry Management, Zhengzhou 450046, China
Zhao Rongqin(1978-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in land use and carbon cycle.

Received date: 2013-01-30

  Revised date: 2013-07-09

  Online published: 2014-02-15

Supported by

National Social Science Foundation of China, No.10ZD&030; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41301633; China Clean Development Mechanism Foundation, No.1214073; China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, No.2012M511243; No.2013T60518; The Startup Project for High-level Talented Person of North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, No.201164


Urban carbon footprint reflects the impact and pressure of human activities on urban environment. Based on city level, this paper estimated carbon emissions and carbon footprint of Nanjing city, analyzed urban carbon footprint intensity and carbon cycle pressure and discussed the influencing factors of carbon footprint through LMDI decomposition model. The main conclusions are as follows: (1) The total carbon emissions of Nanjing increased rapidly since 2000, in which the carbon emission from the use of fossil energy was the largest. Meanwhile, carbon sinks of Nanjing presented a declining trend since 2000, which caused the decrease of carbon compensation rate and the increase of urban carbon cycle pressure. (2) The total carbon footprint of Nanjing increased rapidly since 2000, and the carbon deficit was more than ten times of total land areas of Nanjing in 2009, which means Nanjing confronted high carbon cycle pressure. (3) Generally, carbon footprint intensity of Nanjing was on decrease and the carbon footprint productivity was on increase. This indicated that energy utilization rate and carbon efficiency of Nanjing was improved since 2000, and the policy for energy conservation and emission reduction taken by Nanjing's government received better effects. (4) Economic development, population and industrial structure are promoting factors for the increase of carbon footprint of Nanjing, while the industrial carbon footprint intensity was inhibitory factor. (5) Several countermeasures should be taken to decrease urban carbon footprint and alleviate carbon cycle pressure, such as: improvement of the energy efficiency, industrial structure reconstruction, afforestation and environmental protection and land use control. Generally, transition to low-carbon economy is essential for Chinese cities to realize sustainable development in the future.

Cite this article

ZHAO Rongqin, HUANG Xianjin, LIU Ying, ZHONG Taiyang, DING Minglei, CHUAI Xiaowei . Urban carbon footprint and carbon cycle pressure:The case study of Nanjing[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2014 , 24(1) : 159 -176 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-014-1079-1


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