China's CO2 emission structure for 1957–2017 through transitions in economic and environmental policies

Jing Li, Shigemi Kagawa, Chen Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides an insight into the structure of CO2 emissions in China through transitions in economic and environmental policies for the period of 1957–2017 by using input-output and network analysis with newly compiled environmentally-extended historical input-output tables of China. These tables, which include firm-level, industry-level, and macro-level statistical data, are the first environmentally-extended input-output tables covering the years in the early stage of the People's Republic of China. The results present the following two main findings. The first is due to the stable economic structure associated with the independent economic policy, China's emission structure has been stable for more than 60 years. Heavy industry has contributed about 80% of CO2 emissions since the 1950s. On a second account, although the emission structure was stable, stricter environmental controls and regulations led to a decrease of the growth rate of CO2 emissions after 2010. Against this background, as a policy choice of China, instead of carbon leakage that could break up the stable economic structure, balanced technology upgrading across all sectors induced by stricter environmental controls is a realistic way for China to achieve increased energy efficiency, emission mitigation and economic development, so that the country can keep the promise of reducing CO2 emissions after they peak around 2030.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120288
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - May 10 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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