A Study on Relationship between CO2 Emissions and Economic Development in China Based on Dematerialization Theory

Xingjun Ru, Shaofeng Chen, Hongxiang Dong


Understanding the relationship between economic development and the factors causing the environmental pressures is the basic premise of formulating and adjusting the environmental policy. A sound environmental policy should be effective to reduce or mitigate the environment pressures and simultaneously maintain economic development. According to the theory of dematerialization, which is a method to describe the relationship between economic growth and the environment pressures, we divide target research stage (1960-2008) into 5 sub-time periods, that is 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2008, then inspect the relationship among GDP per capita, carbon emissions and intensity of carbon emissions in China. We find that absolute dematerialization occurs in 1960-1969, materialization occurs in 1970-1979, relative dematerialization occurs in 1980-1989, 1990-1999 and 2000-2008. On terms of the whole study period, relative dematerialization is occurring; from 1960 to 2008, when economic development changes 1%, carbon emissions, carbon emissions intensity and environmental pressures change 0.59%,-0.34% and 0.84% respectively, which shows that the relationship of environmental pressures and economic development, carbon emissions and economic development are relative decoupling.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/eer.v2n2p37

Energy and Environment Research   ISSN 1927-0569 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0577 (Online)
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