Estimating carbon emissions from the perspective of consumption and reducing carbon emission by guiding residents’ consumption is paid more and more attention by some countries and organizations. This study by considering the capital formation as a productive input of final consumer products estimates the carbon consumption of Chinese residents. Furthermore, it explores the driving factors of carbon consumption based on structural decomposition analysis. Results showed that the carbon consumption of Chinese residents (rural and urban) grew steadily. The annual carbon consumption by urban and rural residents increased at a rate of 9.94% and 0.81%, respectively. The average per capita indirect carbon consumption by urban residents during the period was 3.17 times of that by rural residents. Structural decomposition analysis showed that the structure of the urban and rural population and that of the total population are both critical factors promoting carbon consumption by residents, where the former is more powerful. The per capita product consumption caused an increase in the carbon intake of households, while the carbon emission intensity of industrial production decreased the carbon use. Although other factors also contributed to the increase in carbon consumption by residents, their role was comparatively less. This study also provides consumer-focused important carbon emission mitigation policy implications.

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