The environmental consequences of fossil fuels in China: National and regional perspectives

Bingjie Xu, Ruoyu Zhong, Gal Hochman, Kangyin Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Control of the increasing fossil fuel-based carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the associated environmental consequences are important for sustainable development in China. Nevertheless, very few studies have investigated the environmental consequences of China's fossil fuels at both the national and regional levels. For this purpose, this study explores the dynamic relationships among CO2 emissions, economic growth, and consumption of various fossil fuels (i.e., coal, petroleum, and natural gas) in China, using the panel dataset of 30 provinces for the period 1997–2015. Considering the significant differences across various regions, the whole sample and different regions in China are analyzed separately. The estimated results, at both the national and regional levels, provide strong evidence in favor of the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis for CO2 emissions in China. Furthermore, increasing coal and petroleum consumption significantly promotes CO2 emissions. Conversely, natural gas offers a cleaner substitute for other fossil fuels (i.e., coal and petroleum); its substitution effect may be influenced by the share of natural gas in the total energy needs. Finally, the above findings highlight several policy implications for the Chinese government's policymakers to effectively reduce CO2 emissions in China, thereby setting the nation on a sustainable development path.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-837
Number of pages12
JournalSustainable Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Development


  • CO emissions
  • China
  • environmental Kuznets curve
  • fossil fuels
  • regional analysis


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