Environmental impact of China: analysis based on the STIRPAT model
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This article copyrighted and reprinted by permission from the International Association for Energy Economics. The material first appeared in the proceedings of the 2008 2nd International Association for Energy Economics Asian Conference IAEE.
Assuming that energy consumption is the main source of emissions in China, this article considers the influence on the environment of the exhaust emissions producedin the process of consuming energy as China's environmental impact. It then analyzes the influence of population, urbanization level, GDP per capita, industrialization level and energy intensity on the environmental impact using the STIRPAT model with data from 1978 to 2006. The analysis shows that population had the largest influence onthe environmental impact, followed by urbanization level, industrialization level, GDP per capita and energy intensity. Hence China's Family Planning Policy, which restrains rapid population growth, has been a very effective way of reducing the country's environmental impact. However due to the difference in growth rates, GDP per capita had a higher effect on environmental impact, contributing 38% of its increase (while population's contribution was at 32%). Finally, the rapid decrease inenergy intensity (through optimizing industrial and energy structures, increasing theproportion of clean energy sources and improving energy efficiency) was the main cause of restraining the increase in China's environmental impact.
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