As China’s economic development has entered a new phase, China needs to seek a new path of green transformation development to coordinate the economic growth with environmental mitigation. From 2002 to 2017, green investment in China grew from 118.56 billion Chinese yuan to
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As China’s economic development has entered a new phase, China needs to seek a new path of green transformation development to coordinate the economic growth with environmental mitigation. From 2002 to 2017, green investment in China grew from 118.56 billion Chinese yuan to 950.86 billion Chinese yuan, increasing more than seven times. In this study, a homothetic shift-share analysis (HSSA) is used to understand how green investment changed and was used to decompose the change of provincial green investment in China from 2002 to 2017 into four driving factors: the national economic growth effect (NEG
), national green investment structure effect (NIS
), homothetic regional green investment competition effect (HRIC
), and regional green investment allocation effect (RIA
). The results indicate that these four factors had various regional and temporal characteristics, although green investment increased in all provinces during this period. More specifically, the NEG
was more significant in the east than in other regions. The regional differences of NEG
were relatively large in the first two periods (2002–2007 and 2007–2012) and began to shrink in the third period (2012–2017). The NIS
shared the same characteristics as the NEG
. In terms of HRIC
, the central region was ahead of the eastern and western regions, and relatively many eastern provinces were with negative HRIC
. The HRIC
of most provinces showed a trend of “low/medium-medium/high-low”. The RIA
inhibited green investment growth in most provinces and showed a “high-low-high” trend regarding the change from 2002 to 2017. Our study suggests that it is necessary to coordinate the growth of green investment across different regions and establish an ecological compensation mechanism.