Synergistic CO2 reduction effects in Chinese urban agglomerations: Perspectives from social network analysis

Wenrui Shen, Hanwei Liang, Liang Dong, Jingzheng Ren, Guojie Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


China has released its ambitious target for carbon neutrality by 2060. With decades of top-down energy conservation and pollutant mitigation policies, the techno-mitigation space has gradually shrunk, while more mitigation space is required for a systematic approach. To help to uncover CO2 mitigation effects, location and better pathways from a systematic perspective, this paper combines disparity analysis and social network analysis to investigate the synergistic emissions reduction effect of urban agglomerations in three representative Chinese urban agglomerations, namely the Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration (YRD), Chengdu-Chongqing urban agglomeration (CY) and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao urban agglomeration (GHM). Based on understanding of the carbon emission disparity characteristics of the three urban agglomerations using disparity analysis, this study uses social network analysis to study the synergistic CO2 reductions in each urban agglomeration from three perspectives: overall, individual, and connection. The findings emphasize that CY presented the greatest synergistic development capacity but with weak driving ability, indicating that overall synergistic emission reduction was difficult to achieve in a short period. GHM presented obvious fragmentation between the core and peripheral cities, resulting in a weak synergistic mitigation effect. YRD highlighted a solid synergistic development capacity with strong driving ability by its developed cities, thus generating the greatest potential to reduce CO2 emissions in the short and middle terms. Different cities assume different roles in synergistic CO2 reduction. Our results can be expected to enlighten more regionally oriented CO2 mitigation policy implications from an urban agglomeration perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149352
Number of pages15
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Carbon neutrality
  • Disparity analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Synergistic CO reduction
  • Urban agglomerations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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