Carbon inequality in China: Novel drivers and policy driven scenario analysis

Chong XU, Bingjie WANG, Jiandong CHEN, Zhiyang SHEN, Malin SONG, Jiafu AN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Even though carbon inequality (CI) affects international climate negotiations and regional carbon emission reduction policies, a majority of countries ignore the individual sub-national-level CI and its important drivers (e.g., efficiency, technological change, investment, and industrialization). Thus, there is an urgent need to develop relevant carbon emission reduction policies that can incorporate the effects of these drivers. In this study, we investigated the drivers of CI in China at individual provincial and national levels during 2005–2019, using a newly developed individual Gini decomposition approach and a proposed within-between production-theoretical decomposition-based Theil index; notably, the traditional Theil index approach has not significantly changed for decades, and our study is the first to modify the approach. Our results revealed that the national CI presented a general downward trend from 2005 to 2019, wherein the individual between-group and within-group subcomponents portrayed nearly linear relationships in the west region. Notably, income disparity and energy intensity disparity were the two largest positive drivers, while the between-industrial investment-output share disparity and the investment scale disparity were the most important negative drivers of CI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113259
JournalEnergy Policy
Early online date19 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledges the research fund from the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 71934001 and 72104028 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Driver
  • Theil index
  • Carbon inequality
  • Production-theoretical decomposition analysis
  • Scenario analysis
  • Shared socioeconomic pathway


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