Low carbon dioxide (CO ) emissions are the foundation on which to realize the sustainable development of a green China. Recently in Beijing, the capital of China, serious environmental pollution-climate anomaly, severe haze and human sub-health have been accorded more importance. This study examines the energy-related CO emissions generated by Beijing industries from 2000 to 2010 by using an input–output analysis method. The direct, indirect and total CO emissions of sectors in Beijing were calculated. In addition, structural decomposition analysis (SDA) was conducted to evaluate the driving factors from the perspective of technology, sectoral connection, economic structure and economic scale. The results show that the growth rate of sectoral CO emissions in Beijing has drastically increased during this time with a moderate decline during 2007–2010. The metal and non-metal mining industries, the electric power, gas and water supply sector and the construction industry caused the most CO emissions. The economic structure change and the rapid economic growth led to the significant increase in CO emissions growth in Beijing. Thus, optimizing the economic structure and improving the technology are important to alleviate CO emissions. Although we can currently appropriately utilize fossil fuels, further research on new energy and clean development, as well as enhanced government management strength is required to reduce CO emissions.