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Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollutant Emissions of China’s Residential Sector: The Importance of Considering Energy Transition

Center for Social and Environmental Systems Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2, Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Avi Friedman
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 614;
Received: 9 March 2017 / Revised: 10 April 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
PDF [1781 KB, uploaded 17 April 2017]


This study focuses on China’s residential sector and examines energy use growth resulting from income increases and urbanization development. We also look at the energy transition (from primitive fuels to advanced fuels) caused by economic development, as well as the mitigation potential of greenhouse gas and air pollutants emissions. Several studies have provided evidence of a positive correlation between income and per capita final energy use at the national level. In addition to income, demographic factors such as household size and education level have also been suggested to have influences on urban energy use. In this study, we consider various socio-economic indicators to analyze their influences on household energy use. Considering the economic and climate diversity across China’s provincial regions, our analysis is based on the 31 provincial regions and examines the emissions pathways of 31 provincial regions. We first apply a multiple linear regression analysis on historical panel data to determine the correlations between socio-economic indicators and domestic energy sources. Next, we use the Asia-Pacific Integrated Model (AIM/Enduse) to estimate mitigation potential due to energy transition and sustainable policies. The results suggest that income and education levels are major drivers that have a significant impact on household energy choices both in rural and urban areas. In rural areas, climate and energy resource potential also have an impact on the choices of biomass energy use. Without consideration of energy transition constraints, future estimation of energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be greatly overestimated or underestimated depending on the socioeconomic status of the province. It is important to note that the way that we consider energy transition constraints also significantly affects the air pollutants’ emissions of the household sector due to biomass consumption, especially on particulate matter 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5) emissions. Furthermore, implementation of efficient technologies contributes to achieving China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and brings the co-benefits of air pollutants’ emission reductions. View Full-Text
Keywords: household energy; energy ladder; INDC; scenario analysis; Chinese provinces household energy; energy ladder; INDC; scenario analysis; Chinese provinces

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Xing, R.; Hanaoka, T.; Kanamori, Y.; Masui, T. Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollutant Emissions of China’s Residential Sector: The Importance of Considering Energy Transition. Sustainability 2017, 9, 614.

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