Human-Environment Interactions

Temporospatial changes of carbon footprint based on energy consumption in China

  • 1. School of Geographic &|Oceanic Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. Land Development and Consolidation Technology Engineering Center of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing 210093, China;
    3. Jiangsu Information Center, Nanjing 210013, China

Received date: 2011-06-29

  Revised date: 2011-10-11

  Online published: 2011-12-26

Supported by

National Social Science Foundation of China, No.10ZD&M030; Non-profit Industry Financial Program of Ministry of Land and Resources of China, No.200811033; A Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40801063; No.40971104


Study on regional carbon emission is one of the hot topics under the background of global climate change and low-carbon economic development, and also help to establish different low-carbon strategies for different regions. On the basis of energy consumption and land use data of different regions in China from 1999 to 2008, this paper established carbon emission and carbon footprint models based on total energy consumption, and calculated the amount of carbon emissions and carbon footprint in different regions of China from 1999 to 2008. The author also analyzed carbon emission density and per unit area carbon footprint for each region. Finally, advices for decreasing carbon footprint were put forward. The main conclusions are as follows: (1) Carbon emissions from total energy consumption increased 129% from 1999 to 2008 in China, but its spatial distribution pattern among different regions just slightly changed, the sorting of carbon emission amount was: Eastern China > Northern China > Central and Southern China > Southwest China > Northwest China. (2) The sorting of carbon emission density was: Eastern China > Northeast China > Central and Southern China > Northern China > Southwest China > Northwest China from 1999 to 2003, but from 2004 Central and Southern China began to have higher carbon emission density than Northeast China, the order of other regions did not change. (3) Carbon footprint increased significantly since the rapid increasing of carbon emissions and less increasing area of productive land in different regions of China from 1999 to 2008. Northern China had the largest carbon footprint, and Northwest China, Eastern China, Northern China, Central and Southern China followed in turn, while Southwest China presented the lowest area of carbon footprint and the highest percentage of carbon absorption. (4) Mainly influenced by regional land area, Northern China presented the highest per unit area carbon footprint and followed by Eastern China, and Northeast China; Central and Southern China, and Northwest China had a similar medium per unit area carbon footprint; Southwest China always had the lowest per unit area carbon footprint. (5) China faced great ecological pressure brought by carbon emission. Some measures should be taken both from reducing carbon emission and increasing carbon absorption.

Cite this article

CHUAI Xiaowei, LAI Li, HUANG Xianjin, ZHAO Rongqin, WANG Wanjing, CHEN Zhigang . Temporospatial changes of carbon footprint based on energy consumption in China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2012 , 22(1) : 110 -124 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-012-0915-4