China's Changing Diet and Its Impacts on Greenhouse Gas Emissions: An Index Decomposition Analysis

20 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2018

See all articles by Jacob Hawkins

Jacob Hawkins

The University of Western Australia - School of Agricultural and Environment

Chunbo Ma

The University of Western Australia - School of Agricultural and Environment

Steven Schilizzi

University of Western Australia

Fan Zhang

The University of Western Australia - School of Agricultural and Environment

Date Written: January 2018

Abstract

With increasing awareness of agriculture's contribution to global greenhouse gases (GHGs) and China's position as the world's top GHG emitter, there is heightened attention to the embodied emissions in China's food consumption. China's diet has shifted to include more fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy. Not surprisingly, GHG emissions from food consumption have also increased substantially. This analysis links China's food consumption with the emissions of food production industries in China and its trade partners to determine the effects of dietary change on GHGs since 1989. We utilise high‐resolution food production and emissions data to perform a logarithmic mean Divisia index decomposition to attribute changes in GHG emissions to the scale, supply structure, demand structure and efficiency effects resulting from Chinese dietary changes over a 20‐year period. This study finds that while countries supplying food to China contribute little to China's food‐related GHGs, demands for meat and dairy play a much larger role, driving up emissions. The overall scale of increased consumption of all food further propels growth in GHG emissions. Results indicate, however, that while food consumption in China more than doubles between 1989 and 2009 improvements in technological efficiency limit the rate of increase.

Keywords: China, dietary change, embodied emissions in trade, greenhouse gas emissions, index decomposition analysis, logarithmic mean Divisia index

Suggested Citation

Hawkins, Jacob and Ma, Chunbo and Schilizzi, Steven and Zhang, Fan, China's Changing Diet and Its Impacts on Greenhouse Gas Emissions: An Index Decomposition Analysis (January 2018). Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 62, Issue 1, pp. 45-64, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3096217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8489.12240

Jacob Hawkins (Contact Author)

The University of Western Australia - School of Agricultural and Environment ( email )

Nedlands, Western Australia 6907
Australia

Chunbo Ma

The University of Western Australia - School of Agricultural and Environment ( email )

Nedlands, Western Australia 6907
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.are.uwa.edu.au/

Steven Schilizzi

University of Western Australia ( email )

35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
AUSTRALIA

Fan Zhang

The University of Western Australia - School of Agricultural and Environment

Nedlands, Western Australia 6907
Australia

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