TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (2): 248-258.

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Progress in the Studies of Carbon Emission Estimation

LIU Mingda1,2,MENG Jijun3,LIU Bihan4   

  1. (1.School of GovernmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijing 100875,China;2.China Center for Information DevelopmentBeijing 100048,China;3.College of Urban and Environmental SciensesPeking UniversityBeijing 100871,China;4.China Urban Construction Design and Research InstituteBeijing 100120,China
  • Online:2014-03-31 Published:2014-03-31


Much attention in the world has been paid to study of Carbon emission. The reliability of carbon emission data depends on the reasonability of estimating method. In recent years progress has been made in research of carbon emission estimating methods. This paper discussed different carbon emission inventories of IPCC and China in theory, analyzed the pros and cons of three main approaches of estimating carbon emission as well as their appropriate objects, which are emission-factor approach, mass-balance approach, and experiment approach. Then in practice, the paper set out the inventories of carbon emission and the estimating approaches based on five spatial scales of units, which are country/province, city, settlement, individual building and family. Summarizing the existing research results, the paper put up a frame and a paradigm of carbon emission research. The main conclusions can be drawn as follows: 1) such a situation has been formed that IPCC leads the examination of carbon emission with many other agencies taking part in. The research area has had now much clearer framework, better approaches and broader appropriate scope. 2) The inventory and estimating approaches given by IPCC have been used in studying different spatial scales of units. Some new branches of learning are generated when they are used in city unit. 3) The study of carbon emission estimation still has problems, such as the disequilibrium of the studies on different spatial scale units that leads to less attention to be paid to the study of meso-scale units, the defects of the estimation methods themselves, and the external limitation of data acquisition, etc. 4) China has produced the inventory which is suitable for her own situation. In addition, a lot of progress in China have been made in the examinations of historic carbon emissions, regional differences of carbon emissions, and carbon emissions from natural ecosystems. But the problems of lacking in innovation of theory, less improvement of research methods and limitation in data obtaining still exist.

Key words: IPCC, carbon emission, inventory, estimation