Forum on Climate Change Economics: Reducing the Inequality in Carbon Footprint of Rural Consumption in China

  • 08 June 2021  |  Seminars

On 9 June 9 2021, Dr. Mingxing Sun, a core member of the research team of United Nations Environment Programme – International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP), will attend the Forum on Climate Change Economics and give a report entitled "Reducing the inequality in carbon footprint of rural consumption: an analysis based on micro-level research in China". 

Detailed information about the forum

  • Topic: Reducing the inequality in carbon footprint of rural consumption: an analysis based on micro-level research in China
  • Presenter: Dr. Mingxing Sun
  • Date: 2021/6/9 
  • Time: 20:00-21:00 pm
  • Language: Chinese
  • Location: Tencent Meeting ID: 874 4153 7941

Introduction of the topic

Global warming and inequality issues are among the most pressing issues of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Though much efforts have been devoted to national and global carbon footprint and inequality analysis, micro-level exploration of consumption based carbon footprints, which could provide more tailored policy recommendations, are scarce. This study, focusing on rural China, one of the fastest growing economies, with a massive population, explored the carbon footprint and inequality of household consumption using the latest micro household survey data of 2019 linked to environmental extended input-output analysis. The results show that in 2018 in rural China the average household carbon footprint is 3.54 tons CO2-eq per capita, which is only half of China’s average footprint, indicating the large potential for further growth. Meanwhile, great inequality among rural households is observed, which is largely due to differences in type of car ownership (explaining 18.93% of the variation), heating (18.35%), health expenditure (12.77%), food (12.52%), housing (12.00%), and petrol consumption (9.13%). In the process of urbanization and rural revitalization, there is a high possibility that the household carbon footprint continues to increase, maintaining high levels of inequality. The current energy transition toward less carbon-intensive fuels in rural China is likely to dampen the growth rates of carbon footprints and potentially decrease inequality. Technological improvement could significantly reduce carbon footprints, but increase inequality. More comprehensive measures to achieve the SDGs are needed, including clean energy transition, poverty alleviation, reduction of income inequality, and better health care coverage. Eco-labels for green products and pro-environment education are also deemed effective measures to guide consumers towards lower impact lifestyles. The study lays a foundation for sustainable rural transition in the process of urbanization and rural revitalization, especially in developing countries.

Introduction of the presenter

Dr. Mingxing Sun, assistant professor of Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences and a core member of the research team of UNEP-IEMP. His research covers sustainable consumption and production in rural areas, and the ecological transformation of bio-based industries. He has published more than 20 academic papers as the first author or corresponding author. Currently, he is the Associate Editor of Cleaner and Responsible Consumption (CLRC).

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