Special Issue 1, December 2009
Article Number: 04
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Study on environmental impact by changing lifestyle and consumption patterns in China
J. Du, H. Shirakawa, O. Higashi, and H. Imura
Pages 19-26

Abstract—China‘s rapidly growing economy and social transformations has resulted in considerable improvements in people‘s quality of life with large sections of the population experiencing a transition out of poverty and toward better quality lifestyles. However, the continuous increase in consumption and production has required significant natural resources inputs and is having a serious impacted on Chinese environment. Standing the consumption side, this study evaluates environmental impact from household consumption for energy and water by combing household expenditure with environmental extended input-output analyses in China. The results reveal that households is the most significant contributor in Chinese air pollution and wastewater discharge and more than 86.5% household environmental impact are from indirect consumption. The total energy use and associated CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions amount of per capita of household are 21.6 GJ, 1.5t, 11kg and 5kg respectively, for freshwater use and wastewater discharge they are 815 m3 and 438t in 2002. The consumption categories of others and residence are the most important parts of CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions and food is the most part of water use and wastewater discharge. The consumption pattern of urban household have more effect on environment than their rural counterpart‘ in China. Understanding how lifestyle change contributes to the growing environmental impact from household is critical for the development of sustainable consumption policy. Using decomposing analyses for household energy use and CO2 emissions from 1992 to 2002, it is cleared that increase of environmental impact is resulted from the growing of consumption activity, number of households and the changing of expenditure structure in China.

Keywords—changing lifestyle, environmental impact, input-output analysis, decomposing analyses.