As increasing urbanization has become a national policy priority for economic growth in China, cities have become important players in efforts to reduce carbon emissions. However, their efforts have been hampered by the lack of specific and comparable carbon emission inventories. Comprehensive carbon emission inventories for twelve Chinese cities, which present both a relatively current snapshot and also show how emissions have changed over the past several years, were developed using a bottom-up approach. Carbon emissions in most Chinese cities rose along with economic growth from 2004 to 2008. Yet per capita carbon emissions varied between the highest and lowest emitting cities by a factor of nearly 7. Average contributions of sectors to per capita emissions for all Chinese cities were 65.1% for industrial energy consumption, 10.1% for industrial processes, 10.4% for transportation, 7.7% for household energy consumption, 4.2% for commercial energy consumption and 2.5% for waste processing. However, these shares are characterized by considerable variability due to city-specific factors. The levels of per capita carbon emissions in China's cities were higher than we anticipated before comparing them with the average of ten cities in other parts of the world. This is mainly due to the major contribution of the industry sector in Chinese cities.
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