In recent years, China’s industrialization and urbanization have deepened, and the economy has grown considerably. But at the same time, they have also brought about many environmental problems. As a pillar of the national economy, the iron and steel (IS) industry is one of the most emitting and energy-consuming sub-sectors of the industrial sector. It is also one of the industries with the most severe overcapacity problem in China. In this paper, we explore the impact of capacity utilization on carbon dioxide emission based on panel data of China’s iron and steel industry from 2005 to 2014. We also tested the heterogeneity in different regions and different sub-samples. Results show that capacity utilization and carbon dioxide emission are positively correlated. However, the impact of capacity utilization on carbon dioxide emission differs when considering regional heterogeneity. Results in all three regions show a positive relationship between capacity utilization and carbon dioxide emission, but the impact intensity is strongest in the western region, followed by the eastern and central regions. Moreover, capacity utilization impacts carbon dioxide emission by influencing firm numbers in the iron and steel industry and energy consumption. Further analysis shows that there exists a threshold effect in different stages of energy consumption and energy structure. Finally, some findings and practical policy recommendations are provided.