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Uncovering the coupling effect with energy-related carbon emissions and human development variety in Chinese provinces


Rui Li , Liu Chen , Yiqi Tan , Gengpei Lv , Weiguang Cai , Xiaofeng Gao

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2023.05.046

Received December 29, 2022,Revised , Accepted May 30, 2023, Available online June 12, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 527-542

Lessening energy-related carbon emissions has become a crucial measure to achieve Chinese carbon neutrality. This study is the first to construct a Difference in Carbon pressures-adjusted Human Development Index (DCHDI) model for the purpose of exploring the coupling effect between carbon emissions and human development variety from 2000 to 2019 in Chinese provinces. We demonstrate the following. (1) The total energy-related carbon footprint of 30 provinces in China reached 10.2 billion tons in 2019, with an average annual growth rate of 6.93% over the past two decades; and the provinces with the highest carbon emissions per capita are InnerMongolia, Ningxia, and Shanxi. (2) At the provincial level, we observed that the Human Development Index (HDI), which includes life expectancy, education, and income, has been rising, while Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin entered the super-high HDI level before 2008. (3) The entire coupling effect of 30 Chinese provinces has been broadly fortified in the last 20 years, but the growth rate of DCHDI values in 2011–2019 has slowed down compared with that in 2000–2010; the clustering phenomenon demonstrated that this discovery is associated with historical peaks in total carbon emissions. (4) The coordination degree of carbon emissions per capita and HDI was verified, and 96% of the data points were found in the range of super high coupling coordination degree. Overall, this study provides the government with worthwhile guidance for decision-making and carbon reduction strategies for other countries struggling to advance human sustainable development.

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