The changing structure of energy supply, demand, and CO2 emissions in China

Michael Kuby, Canfei He, Barbara Trapido-Lurie, Nicholas Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Because of its enormous population, rapid economic growth, and heavy reliance on coal, China passed the United States as the world's largest source of CO2 emissions in 2006. China is also becoming a major factor in the globaloil market. This article analyzes China's energy production and consumption, with a focus on the energy and CO2 emissions per capita and per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) and the mix of energy sources and end uses energy flow diagrams for 1987 and 2007 make it possible to visualize the allocation of energy from sources through energy transformation to final uses in units of metric tons of coal equivalent. Declining coal use by residences, agriculture, and transportation has been more than offset by a massive increase in electricity and industry usage. The article places these changes in political-economic context and helps illustrate and explain the difficulties China faces in trying to reduce its absolute CO2 emissions and why it instead proposes to reduce its CO2 per unit of GDP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-805
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • China
  • Coal
  • Electricity
  • Energy flow diagram
  • Energy intensity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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