Changes in the Energy Consumption Carbon Footprint for Gansu Province

  • 1 College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China;
    2 College of Resources and Environment, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730040, China

Received date: 2014-03-21

  Revised date: 2014-04-23

  Online published: 2014-06-06

Supported by

National Natural Science Fund Program (40871061).


Energy consumption is one of the main human activities driving global climate change, and therefore research on the carbon footprint of energy consumption is of great significance. In this paper, concepts and methods relating to the carbon footprint of energy consumption were used to calculate total carbon footprint, carbon footprint of each type of energy, output value of the carbon footprint and its ecological pressure from 1990 to 2009 in Gansu Province, northwestern China. The ridge regression function within the STIRPAT model was applied to study the quantitative relationship between carbon footprint and economic growth and at the same time verify the existence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve. A decoupling index was introduced to further explore the dynamic relationship between economic growth and carbon footprint. We found that the total carbon footprint increased from 0.091 ha per capita in 1990 to 0.191 ha per capita in 2009 and followed a fluctuating rising trend. Coal and oil occupy the dominant position within the carbon footprint composition, while natural gas is of little effect. The output value of the carbon footprint increased from 11 800 CNY per ha in 1990 to 25 100 CNY per ha in 2009, representing an average annual growth rate of 4.1%. The ecological pressure intensity of the carbon footprint increased to 0.24 in 2009, and remains much lower than developed provinces Jiangsu and Shanghai, due to the vast area of woodland in Gansu. Development of a low-carbon economy in Gansu remains hindered by limited energy, a fragile ecological environment and irrational energy structure. Population and GDP per capita growth were the main factors driving the increasing carbon footprint; the impact of population is 3.47 times of that of per capita GDP. Regression analysis and decoupling index analysis have proved the existence of the Environmental Kuznets Curve for economic growth and carbon footprint, but 33 years are required to reach the inflection point.

Cite this article

JIAO Wenxian, ZHAI Manman, CHEN Xingpeng, JIA Zhuo . Changes in the Energy Consumption Carbon Footprint for Gansu Province[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2014 , 5(2) : 157 -162 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2014.02.008


Browne D, B Regan, R Moles. 2009. Use of carbon footprinting to explore alternative household waste policy scenarios in an Irish City-Region. Resources Conservation and Recycling, 54 (2): 113-122.

Cao S Y and Xie G D. 2010. Tracking analysis of carbon footprint flow of China's industrial sectors. Resources Science, 32(11): 2046-2052. (in Chinese)

Druckman A and T Jackson. 2009. The carbon footprint of UK households 1990-2004: A socio-economically disaggregated, quasi-multi-regional input-output model. Ecological Economics, 68(7): 2066-2077.

Geng Y, Dong H J, Xi F M, et al. 2010. A review of the research on carbon footprint responding to climate change. China Population, Resources and Environment, 20(10): 6-12. (in Chinese)

Guo Y G, Wang D D, Lin F C. 2010. Carbon footprint of energy use in Shanghai. China Population, Resources and Environment, 20(2): 103-108. (in Chinese)

Hertwich E G and G P Peters. 2009. Carbon footprint of nations: A global trade-linked analysis. Environmental Science & Technology, 43(16): 6414-6420.

IPCC. 2008. Summary for policymakers of climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovemental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Li Z, Ju M T, Liu W, et al. 2007. Dynamic measurement of ecological footprint of energy resources and its economic efficiency in last ten years, China. Resources Science, 29(6):54-60. (in Chinese)

Lu N, Qu F T, Feng S Y, et al. 2011. Trends and determining factors of energy Consumption carbon footprint -An analysis for Suzhou-Wuxi-Changzhou Region based on STIRPAT model. Journal of Natural Resources, 26(5):814-824. (in Chinese)

Wackernagel M and W Rees. 1996. Our ecological footprint reducing human impact on the earth. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers. Wang C M. 2010. Decoupling analysis of China economic growth and energy consumption. China Population, Resources and Environment, 20(3): 35-37. (in Chinese)

York R, E A Rosa, T Dietz. 2002. Bridging environmental science with environmental policy: Plasticity of population, affluence and technology. Social Science Quarterly, 83(1):18-34.

York R, E A Rosa, T Dietz. 2003. STIRPAT, IPAT and ImPACT: Analytic tools for unpacking the driving forces of environmental impacts. Ecological Economics, 46:351-365.

Zhao R Q and Huang X J. 2010. Carbon emission and carbon footprint of different land use types based on energy consumption of Jiangsu Province. Geographical Research, 29(9): 1639-1649. (in Chinese)

Zhao R Q, Huang X J, Zhong T Y. 2010. Research on carbon emission intensity and carbon footprint of different industrial spaces in China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 65(9):1048-1057. (in Chinese)