Currently, the vulnerability of the poor and sensitive areas to climate change is being reviewed under an international climate policy framework. However, GHG emission assessment mainly focuses on the analyses of inter-national and intra-national (regional) emissions based on macroeconomic data. Results from these data only reflect inequality of GHG emissions in different nations or regions. For example, per capita emissions are often used as an indicator to compare emissions amongst countries. However, this indicator, based on macroeconomic data, cannot accurately reflect the emissions of poor and vulnerable groups whose emission levels may be much lower than the national and regional averages.
Qu Jiansheng et.al of the research group for climate change policy from Scientific Information Center for Resources and Environment/Lanzhou Branch of the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences undertook the family interview surveys from peasants and herdsmen in northwestern arid-alpine regions in Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia province for 2008—2009. The results showed that, the average household CO2 emission per capita is 1.43 tons (t) CO2; the proportion of subsistence emissions (related to the consumption of necessary goods and services) accounts for 93.24%, whereas luxury emissions (generated due to consumption of specific goods and services that are consumed only when household income improves) only account for 6.76%.
In consideration of insignificant amount of household emissions from these poor and vulnerable groups of the society, this study suggests to follow the principle of fairness while making energy conservation, emission reduction and adaptation policies. Therefore, it is crucial to know GHG emission levels of these poor and vulnerable peoples for climate change negotiations and to make fair and rational emission reduction and energy conservation policies and plans. This conclusion will provide a reference for helping our country to participate in international climate negotiations and domestic carbon reduction policies.This project was funded by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (NSFC), and the “Strategic Priority Research Program—Climate Change: Carbon Budget and Related Issues” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).