© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Abstract: This paper investigates carbon dioxide (CO2) emission and its determinants in 286 Chinese cities. The findings strongly support an inverted U-shaped relationship between per capita CO2 emission (PCE) and urban development. However, the realization of this relationship depends on stringent governmental policy interventions. The regression analysis in this paper shows that city size is positively correlated with CO2 emission efficiency, but negatively correlated with PCE. This result suggests that population restrictions in large cities tend to increase CO2 emission. It is also shown that regional development programs are likely to encourage economic activities in regions with low CO2 emission efficiency and may have significant environmental consequences in the future.