Awareness and Willingness of Chinese Households to Reduce Carbon Footprint in Daily Life


  • Na An Tongji University
  • Chenyu Huang Tongji University
  • Jiawei Yao Tongji University


Household carbon footprint, climate change mitigation, willingness to reduce carbon, household characteristics, household behaviour




With the rapid urbanization process and an increase in living standards, household energy consumption has become a primary driver of high energy consumption and carbon emissions, leading to a gradual rise in household carbon footprints. Over the past two decades, the carbon footprint of Chinese households has accounted for more than 40% of the total carbon emissions from primary energy utilization. Factors such as residential types, energy consumption patterns, dietary habits, and family composition play significant roles in reducing carbon footprints in daily life. Therefore, this study assesses the willingness of Chinese households to reduce carbon emissions in their daily lives. Based on geographical location, households are categorized into the Northeast, East, North, Central, South, Southwest, and Northwest regions. We utilize six categories: transportation, housing, food, daily goods, waste, and energy, to determine the trends, influencing factors, and overall regional comparative analysis of household carbon footprints.

The results indicate that knowledge about household carbon footprints can lead to a slight reduction in carbon emissions, with households familiar with carbon reduction concepts emitting 26 kg less carbon than those who are not. Furthermore, promoting low-carbon behaviours can further reduce household carbon footprints, with neighbourhoods that frequently promote low-carbon knowledge having a 4% higher carbon reduction capability than others. Overall, the Northeast region has the highest per capita household carbon footprint, indicating relatively higher per capita carbon emissions in that region. The Southwest region follows while the North China region has the lowest per capita household carbon footprint, possibly due to higher energy efficiency in that area. Household income is positively correlated with carbon emissions, and residents in high-income areas may lean towards high-carbon-emission foods like meat and dairy products, consuming fewer low-carbon options such as grains and vegetables. Regarding the willingness to reduce carbon footprints, most households tend to prioritize energy consumption pattern reduction in the Central region, while the North China region prioritizes comfort over carbon reduction. Among the seven regions, 90% of people show a willingness to save energy, with the East region displaying the strongest commitment to carbon reduction. In terms of carbon reduction awareness, the East region shows a higher willingness compared to other regions.

The differences in household carbon footprints across regions reflect the combined impact of various factors, including economic development levels, consumption patterns, energy efficiency, and transportation methods. Higher household income is typically associated with higher consumption patterns and energy usage, leading to larger carbon footprints. Therefore, to reduce carbon emissions, Chinese households need to consider strengthening low-carbon promotion efforts and formulating and improving practical and implementable carbon reduction policies.