Household carbon dioxide emissions from peasants and herdsmen in northwestern arid-alpine regions, China

Jiansheng Qu, Jingjing Zeng, Yan Li, Qin Wang, Tek Maraseni, Lihua Zhang, Zhiqiang Zhang, Abigail Clarke-Sather

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68 Scopus citations


This study assessed household CO2 emissions (related to the consumption of necessary and luxury goods and services) of peasants and herdsmen households in arid-alpine regions in Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia provinces, China. We also explored whether agriculture types, family income and family size have played any role in household CO2 emissions. In order to address these issues, we: (i) developed assessment indicators for household emissions; (ii) conducted semi-structured questionnaire household surveys; and (iii) employed input-output analysis (IOA). The results showed that, the average household CO2 emission per capita is 1.43 tons (t) CO2; the proportion of subsistence emissions (related to the consumption of necessary goods and services) accounts for 93.24%, whereas luxury emissions (generated due to consumption of specific goods and services that are consumed only when household income improves) only account for 6.76%t. Moreover, household CO2 emissions increase with family income and family size, but per capita emissions are inversely related to family size. The highest average household emissions were found in the alpine agricultural and pastoral region (6.18t CO2), followed by the irrigated agricultural region (6.07t CO2) and the rain-fed agricultural region (5.34t CO2). In consideration of insignificant amount of household emissions from these poor and vulnerable groups of the society, this study suggests to follow the principle of fairness while making energy conservation, emission reduction and adaptation policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (NSFC), Grant no. 40801232 and the “Strategic Priority Research Program—Climate Change: Carbon Budget and Related Issues” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Grant no. XDA05140100. We would like to thank the financial supports from NSFC and CAS for this research. We cordially thank anonymous referees for their highly valuable suggestions which were gratefully acknowledged.


  • Arid-alpine regions
  • CO emissions
  • China


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