© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper is to examine the transitional dynamics of carbon dioxide emission in China by using a prefecture-level database. Convergence analysis is conducted and mobility probability plots (MPPs) are employed to examine the distribution dynamics of 286 cities from 2002 to 2011. The empirical investigation is conducted in three steps. In the first step, the research is carried out at the national level, and it provides an overall view of the evolution of carbon dioxide emission in China. In step two, the database is divided into smaller spatial groupings so as to investigate the relationship between carbon dioxide emission and geographical location. In the third step, the evolution of carbon dioxide emission in the key cities and in other non-key cities is examined, along with its implications for environmental protection. This study offers valuable information on convergence of carbon dioxide emission in China.