Decarbonization patterns of residential building operations in China and India

24 Jun 2023  ·  Ran Yan, Nan Zhou, Wei Feng, Minda Ma, Xiwang Xiang, Chao Mao ·

As the two largest emerging emitters with the highest growth in operational carbon from residential buildings, the historical emission patterns and decarbonization efforts of China and India warrant further exploration. This study aims to be the first to present a carbon intensity model considering end-use performances, assessing the operational decarbonization progress of residential building in India and China over the past two decades using the improved decomposing structural decomposition approach. Results indicate (1) the overall operational carbon intensity increased by 1.4% and 2.5% in China and India, respectively, between 2000 and 2020. Household expenditure-related energy intensity and emission factors were crucial in decarbonizing residential buildings. (2) Building electrification played a significant role in decarbonizing space cooling (-87.7 in China and -130.2 kilograms of carbon dioxide (kgCO2) per household in India) and appliances (-169.7 in China and -43.4 kgCO2 per household in India). (3) China and India collectively decarbonized 1498.3 and 399.7 mega-tons of CO2 in residential building operations, respectively. In terms of decarbonization intensity, India (164.8 kgCO2 per household) nearly caught up with China (182.5 kgCO2 per household) in 2020 and is expected to surpass China in the upcoming years, given the country's robust annual growth rate of 7.3%. Overall, this study provides an effective data-driven tool for investigating the building decarbonization potential in China and India, and offers valuable insights for other emerging economies seeking to decarbonize residential buildings in the forthcoming COP28 age.

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