Mapping economic drivers of China's NOx emissions due to energy consumption

Shutong He, Liangzhen Zhao, Shihao Ding, Sai Liang, Liang Dong, Junfeng Wang*, Yinchang Feng, Lingxuan Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Emissions of NOx, a precursor to several atmospheric pollutants, are a crucial aspect of air pollution in China, which is closely related to its booming economy and high energy consumption. However, few studies explore the economic structure factors on NOx emissions from energy consumption, especially the spatial heterogeneity of economic drivers. To bridge the knowledge gap, this study adopts a structural decomposition analysis (SDA) to quantify and map the contributions of six drivers of China's NOx emissions from energy consumption (NEEC) between 2007 and 2012, which represent economic scale, economic structure, and energy consumption patterns. For China as a whole, the final demand scale and energy intensity factors increased NEEC, whereas economic structure factors showed an inhibiting effect. However, the change in provincial NEEC due to the production structure and product mix of the final demand varied in a large interval. A negative production structure accompanying a positive final demand product mix led to NEEC growth in metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai. Provincial disparities were dramatic within economic regions in eastern China, including the northwest, north coast, east coast, and south coast regions. These findings indicate that spatially differentiated economic structure and economic growth diversely featured the driving mechanism on provincial NOx emissions, which should be generally considered to make the different regional reduction policies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118130
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date23 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2019


  • Economic drivers
  • NOx emissions
  • Spatial disparity
  • Structural decomposition analysis


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