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Article in Scientific Data: China CO2 emissions accounts 2016-2017 | Yuli Shan and Klaus Hubacek

13 February 2020

Authors: Yuli Shan, Qi Huang, Dabo Guan and Klaus Hubacek

Journal: Scientific Data (2020) 7.54.


China’s economic development, energy consumption and associated emissions have entered a “new normal” stage1 afer a period of rapid development. Economic growth has slowed slightly in recent few years, while more attention has been paid to the optimization and upgrade of economic structures and drivers. Even though China’s emissions have plateaued in 2013 ref. 2 , it is still the world’s leading energy consumer and CO2 emitter, accounting for approximately 30% of global emissions3 . Afer the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement, China is playing an increasingly important role in global climate change mitigation and emission reduction and has set a series of reduction targets, such as peaking its emissions by 2030 ref. 4 and reducing emission intensity by 60%–65% compared with 2005 ref. 5 . A series of policies, such as those targeting energy structure optimization and renewable energy development, have been implemented and achieved signifcant results6 . Renewable and sustainable energy consumption (i.e. primary electricity from hydro power and solar) as well as energy from nuclear power have rapidly increased from 109 million tonnes of standard coal equivalent (tce) (or 3.7% of the total energy consumption) in 2007 to 295 million tce (or 7.1%) in 2017. Meanwhile, the share of coal in total energy consumption has decreased from 75.6% to 65.2% over the same period7 . Given these dynamics, up-to-date emission data are a precondition for analysis as well as informed and evidence-based policymaking. Te IPCC has proposed a series of emission accounting guidelines for greenhouse gas inventories, including the 1996 version8 , 2006 version9 and 2019 refnement to the 2006 version10. In addition, the Paris agreement also requires all parties to provide transparent, accurate, complete, comparable and consistent anthropogenic emission data11. However, the Chinese government does not have any ofcial up-to-date inventories. Tey only estimated overall greenhouse gas emissions for 1994 ref. 12, 2005 ref. 13, 2010 ref. 14, 2012 ref. 15, and 2014 ref. 16. Some global emission datasets, such as Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), British Petroleum (BP), and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), cannot also provide sufciently accurate data estimates for China’s emissions as well. First, these datasets adopt diferent accounting scopes, methods, data sources, and parameters, leading to incomparable results and discrepancies frequently exceeding 20% ref. 17. Second, these global datasets only provide estimates for China’s overall emissions or at most for a few sectors and fuels. Tey do not provide detailed emission inventories by sectors and fuels for subnational administrative units in China. Tird, these datasets do not provide the underlying raw data, making the emission non-transparent and unverifable. As a result, scholars did lots of repetitive work on emission accounting when analysing China’s emission patterns18–20. Aiming at the above research gap, this study follows a uniform accounting framework to construct the emission inventories of China and its 30 provinces, as well as their energy inventories for the years 2016 and 2017. Te inventories are internally consistent and comparable with each other and are compiled based upon the same accounting scope (IPCC administrative territorial scope; energy- plus process-related emissions), methods (sectoral approach and reference approach), data source (ofcial statistical data), and format (17 fossil fuels and 47 economic sectors). Te study provides the most up-to-date emission and energy accounts of China and its 30 provinces. It is a key update of our previous emission dataset 1997–2015 ref. 17, as well as an important supplement to ofcial emission estimates. We also publish the activity data, emission factors, and calculation code with the inventories, in order to ensure our data is transparent and verifable. All data have been uploaded to our open-access dataset: China Emission Accounts and Datasets for free download.

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Last modified:01 August 2022 11.51 a.m.

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