Climate Change Research ›› 2023, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (3): 347-356.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2022.183

• Greenhouse Gas Emissions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Analysis of carbon emission level and intensity of China’s transportation industry and different transportation modes

TIAN Pei-Ning1,2(), MAO Bao-Hua1,2(), TONG Rui-Yong1,2, ZHANG Hao-Xiang3, ZHOU Qi1,2   

  1. 1 Intergrated Transport Research Center of China, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing 100044, China
    2 Key Laboratory of Transport Industry of Big Data Application Technologics for Comprehensive Transport, Beijing 100044, China
    3 Beijing Urban Construction Design and Development Group Co., Ltd., Beijing 100037, China
  • Received:2022-08-01 Revised:2022-10-22 Online:2023-05-30 Published:2023-02-13


To address the problem of unclear boundary, scope and method of carbon emission accounting in China’s transport sector, a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches was used, through the decomposition of transport modes, to establish a transportation carbon emission measurement model with clear statistical caliber and comparable with international. The CO2 emissions of China’s transport sector and transport modes in 2019 were measured, and the carbon emission structure and intensity of different modes of transport were analyzed, so as to provide a theoretical basis for the development of carbon emission reduction paths in China’s transport sector. The results show that CO2 emissions from China’s transport sector in 2019 is 1274 million t, second only to the United States (1788 million t), accounting for 12.42% of the country’s total CO2 emissions and 14.82% of the world’s total transport CO2 emissions. The structure of China’s transport carbon emissions is more fragmented, with the share of road transport emissions (79.15%), which is the mainstay of carbon emissions, being lower than that of European countries such as Germany and France and so on (85.19%-96.69%). While the shares of carbon emissions from aviation, waterways and rail transport are higher, at 9.13%, 7.06% and 4.39% respectively. The carbon emission intensity of each mode of transport ranks from the largest to the smallest: aviation, highway, railway and waterway, with the unit conversion turnover carbon emission factors being 899.48, 102.81, 11.33 and 8.65 g/(t∙km) respectively. The Chinese government should guide the transfer of passenger transport from aviation to railway, and insist on promoting the policy of “highway to railway” and “highway to waterway” for freight transport. The unit conversion turnover carbon emission factor does not accurately reflect the carbon intensity of passenger/cargo transport. There is a discrepancy between its value and the actual unit passenger/cargo turnover carbon emission factor value. Taking highways as an example, the value of the unit converted turnover carbon emission factor deviates from the value of the unit cargo turnover carbon emission factor (97.60 g/(t∙km)) and the unit passenger turnover carbon emission factor (45.36 g/(person∙km)) by 5.34% and 126.67% respectively.

Key words: Carbon neutrality, Transportation industry, Carbon emission measurement, Carbon emission structure, Carbon emission intensity, Top-down approach, Bottom-up approach

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