Will urbanization increase residential energy demand?

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2017

City is the major energy user and emission source in China,which accounts for 70% of total energy consumption. To achieve the sustainable development, China need to further boost the urban development while lower the huge energy demand. Will the accelerating urbanization process lead to higher energy demand? This issue raises intensive attention from the decision-makers, public, and academic society. Most previous studies concluded that the urbanization is positively associated with household energy demand. However, the conclusion is based on aggregated data in a static framework. Based on some observation worldwide and evidence among China's provinces, we question this point. We intensively screen the literature and classify them into "top-down" and "bottom-up" perspective. We conclude that there are three research areas need to be further enhanced. First, it is necessary to combine different viewpoints and examine the decision-makers' response to the dynamic change result from the urbanization. Second, the
micro-level data and experimental methods are needed for causal inference and policy assessment. Third,
scholars suggest to study China's case using modern analytical methods and to summarize the general experience to form the "Chinese pattern".

EfD Authors
Sustainable Development Goals

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Publication | 28 April 2017