• Journal of Geographical Sciences
  • Vol. 30, Issue 5, 05000757 (2020)
WANG Shaojian1、*, GAO Shuang1, HUANG Yongyuan2, and SHI Chenyi1
Author Affiliations
  • 1Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Urbanization and Geo-simulation, School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • 2College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
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    Climate change resulting from CO2 emissions has become an important global environmental issue in recent years. Improving carbon emission performance is one way to reduce carbon emissions. Although carbon emission performance has been discussed at the national and industrial levels, city-level studies are lacking due to the limited availability of statistics on energy consumption. In this study, based on city-level remote sensing data on carbon emissions in China from 1992-2013, we used the slacks-based measure of super-efficiency to evaluate urban carbon emission performance. The traditional Markov probability transfer matrix and spatial Markov probability transfer matrix were constructed to explore the spatiotemporal evolution of urban carbon emission performance in China for the first time and predict long-term trends in carbon emission performance. The results show that urban carbon emission performance in China steadily increased during the study period with some fluctuations. However, the overall level of carbon emission performance remains low, indicating great potential for improvements in energy conservation and emission reduction. The spatial pattern of urban carbon emission performance in China can be described as “high in the south and low in the north,” and significant differences in carbon emission performance were found between cities. The spatial Markov probabilistic transfer matrix results indicate that the transfer of carbon emission performance in Chinese cities is stable, resulting in a “club convergence” phenomenon. Furthermore, neighborhood backgrounds play an important role in the transfer between carbon emission performance types. Based on the prediction of long-term trends in carbon emission performance, carbon emission performance is expected to improve gradually over time. Therefore, China should continue to strengthen research and development aimed at improving urban carbon emission performance and achieving the national energy conservation and emission reduction goals. Meanwhile, neighboring cities with different neighborhood backgrounds should pursue cooperative economic strategies that balance economic growth, energy conservation, and emission reductions to realize low-carbon construction and sustainable development.

    1 Introduction

    Climate change and its impacts have become one of the most serious environmental problems facing the world today (Su et al., 2013). According to the Fourth Global Climate Assessment of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming is an undisputed fact, with human activities and the large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions being the main causes of global climate change. As one of the most important greenhouse gases, CO2 is closely related to global warming (Liu et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2019b). With the continuous advancement of urbanization and industrialization, CO2 emissions continue to increase. Accordingly, environmental issues caused by CO2 have attracted widespread attention from governments and scholars around the world. To achieve sustainable development, countries have proposed low-carbon action plans, such as the low-carbon action plan in the United Kingdom and the low-carbon society action plan in Japan. Since China is the world’s largest CO2 emitter, energy conservation and emission reduction are focal points of the national development strategy in China (Deng et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2019c). China signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, and China’s nation plan includes clear energy saving and emission reduction targets. For example, China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) proposed to reduce carbon emissions by 17% by 2015 compared to 2010. The 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) strengthened the goal of low-carbon development, with an 18% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 compared with 2015. In addition, as indicated in the China-United States Joint Statement, China plans to reach a peak in total CO2 emissions by 2030 (Song et al., 2018). A series of planning outlines clearly lay out China’s low-carbon development goals. Research shows that cities are the largest source of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (Ishii et al., 2010). Thus, establishing low-carbon cities is critical for China to deal with climate change and develop a low-carbon economy.

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    Shaojian WANG, Shuang GAO, Yongyuan HUANG, Chenyi SHI. Spatiotemporal evolution of urban carbon emission performance in China and prediction of future trends[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2020, 30(5): 757
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    Category: Research Articles
    Received: Jan. 6, 2020
    Accepted: Mar. 10, 2020
    Published Online: Sep. 30, 2020
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