Spatial and structural characteristics of CO2 emissions in East Asian megacities and its indication for low-carbon city development

Lu Sun, Wenjing Liu, Zhaoling Li, Bofeng Cai, Minoru Fujii, Xiao Luo, Wei Chen, Yong Geng, Tsuyoshi Fujita, Yiping Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The identification of CO2 emissions in megacities is vitally important to promote a transition to low-carbon city. This study aims to analyze the CO2 emission characteristics and spatial distribution in megacities among different countries, which is important for climate change mitigation. In this study, 12 megacities from China, Japan, and South Korea were selected as typical case studies for analysis. Results show that Chinese cities’ CO2 emissions are among the top four cities studies and are much higher when compared to the other sample cities in Japan and South Korea. Chongqing, Incheon, Tianjin, and Shanghai were the top four cities with the highest carbon intensity. The spatial distribution of urban carbon emissions varies widely. In Seoul, Tokyo Metropolis, and Beijing, 90% of carbon emissions are concentrated on 74.17%, 55.95% and 8.93% of the land area, respectively. The results of the driving forces and emission reduction targets analysis indicate that the three countries face different challenges and there are different action plans in each city accordingly. This study proposed the carbon emissions reduction targets and countermeasures in different industrial sectors, including an increased rate of the standardization of city CO2 emission accounting systems and the decarbonization of the power industry, among others. These countermeasures will not only contribute to the analysis of CO2 emissions but will also promote to the low-carbon city development and encourage the realization of urban sustainable development goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116400
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 15
Externally publishedYes


  • CO emission
  • Driving forces
  • Paris Agreement
  • Spatial distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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