A number of previous studies on China's carbon emissions have mainly focused on two facts: (1) the continuous growth in emissions up till the middle of the 1990s; (2) the recent stability of emissions from 1996 to 2001. Decomposition analysis has been widely used to explore the driving forces behind these phenomena. However, since 2002, China's carbon emissions have resumed their growth at an even greater rate. This paper investigates China's carbon emissions during 1971-2003, with particular focus on the role of biomass, and the fall and resurgence in emissions since the mid-1990s. We use an extended Kaya identity and the well-established logarithmic mean Divisia index (LMDI I) method. Carbon emissions are decomposed into effects of various driving forces. We find that (1) a shift from biomass to commercial energy increases carbon emissions by a magnitude comparable to that of the increase in emissions due to population growth, (2) the technological effect and scale effect due to per-capita gross domestic products (GDP) growth are different in the pre-reform period versus the post-reform period, (3) the positive effect of population growth has been decreasing over the entire period, and (4) the fall in emissions in the late 1990s and resurgence in the early 2000s may be overstated due to inaccurate statistics.
CSS Publication Number:
Ma, Chunbo, and David I. Stern. 2009. Biomass and China's carbon emissions: A missing piece of carbon decomposition. Energy Policy 36(7): 2517-2526.