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Special Issue "Sustainability in China: Bridging Global Knowledge with Local Action"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 August 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Mario Tobias

Secretary General and Head of Platform Enabling Technologies for Sustainability, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Berliner Street 130, D-14467 Potsdam, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Guest Editor
Dr. Bing Xue

Associate Professor in Sustainability Management, Institute of Applied Ecology at Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.72, Wenhua Road, Shenyang, 110016, China
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the biggest emerging and developing country on the planet, China’s rapid pace of both urbanization and industrialization over the past decades has attracted global attention. However, a heavy environmental price has been paid for being the world's second-largest economy. By recently announcing future reforms toward sustainable development, China's new leaders have offered “green hope” to the public. Nevertheless, we need to have a deeper understanding into China at very different levels, both spatially and structurally; concerns range from generating sustainable household livelihoods to global climate change, from developing technological applications to generating institutional changes. Also, China needs both local case-based empirical studies as well as global experience-based learning to inform itself of the best route to sustainability.

This Special Issue of Sustainability, “Sustainability in China: Bridging Global Knowledge with Local Action” aims to explore, in either a top-down or bottom-up manner, the intended and spontaneous issues concerning China’s road to sustainability. These issues’ dynamics and consequences are still poorly understood. This Special Issue is committed to finding new and more effective ways of generating and transferring scientific results so as to better enable China to undergo needed societal transformation processes. Thus, this Special Issue welcomes papers addressing all aspects relating to sustainability in China; interdisciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and transformative research are particularly welcome, as is inspired thinking.

Dr. Mario Tobias
Dr. Bing Xue
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).


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Keywords

  • social aspects of sustainability
  • industrial ecosystems
  • low carbon development
  • circular economy
  • sustainability indicator
  • sustainability assessment
  • green metric
  • resource efficiency
  • sustainable livelihood
  • enabling technologies for sustainability
  • society-environment system
  • regional governance

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Sustainability in China: Bridging Global Knowledge with Local Action
Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 3714-3720; doi:10.3390/su7043714
Received: 18 March 2015 / Revised: 26 March 2015 / Accepted: 26 March 2015 / Published: 30 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (637 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the biggest emerging and developing country, and the second largest economy on the planet, China’s road to sustainability has attracted global attention; therefore, we need to have a deeper understanding to address this issue at very different levels. This editorial mainly reviews
[...] Read more.
As the biggest emerging and developing country, and the second largest economy on the planet, China’s road to sustainability has attracted global attention; therefore, we need to have a deeper understanding to address this issue at very different levels. This editorial mainly reviews the contributions of the published papers in the Special Issue of “Sustainability in China: Bridging Global Knowledge with Local Action”, the main findings in this special edition suggest that the concept of sustainability is more comprehensive and complex, and the transformation process from scientific knowledge to local action still has a long way to go, not only in China, but also in many developing countries. More research on the fundamental and innovative processes of sustainable transformations should be conducted. China needs to make more efforts to strengthen its road to sustainability, by merging all relevant types of knowledge, both within and outside science, as well as locally and globally.As the biggest emerging and developing country, and the second largest economy on the planet, China's road to sustainability has attracted global attention; therefore, we need to have a deeper understanding to address this issue at very different levels. This editorial mainly reviews the contributions of the published papers in the Special Issue of "Sustainability in China: Bridging Global Knowledge with Local Action", the main findings in this special edition suggest that the concept of sustainability is more comprehensive and complex, and the transformation process from scientific knowledge to local action still has a long way to go, not only in China, but also in many developing countries. More research on the fundamental and innovative processes of sustainable transformations should be conducted. China needs to make more efforts to strengthen its road to sustainability, by merging all relevant types of knowledge, both within and outside science, as well as locally and globally. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle GIS-Based Synthetic Measurement of Sustainable Development in Loess Plateau Ecologically Fragile Area—Case of Qingyang, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1576-1594; doi:10.3390/su7021576
Received: 26 August 2014 / Revised: 7 January 2015 / Accepted: 28 January 2015 / Published: 2 February 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Synthetic measurement of regional sustainable development has been one of the key issues in the research field of sustainability. In this paper, Qingyang City located in the Loess Plateau ecologically fragile area of Northwest China is used for a case study, and the
[...] Read more.
Synthetic measurement of regional sustainable development has been one of the key issues in the research field of sustainability. In this paper, Qingyang City located in the Loess Plateau ecologically fragile area of Northwest China is used for a case study, and the present study aims to investigate the degree of sustainable development by conducting temporal- and spatial-scale based analysis, with the assessment index system, assessment model and GIS approach well integrated. The results show that the development pattern of Qingyang generally fits the mode of unsustainable development, even in the presence of certain levels of spatial differences. The sustainable development state in ecologically fragile area of China’s Loess Plateau is non-optimistic, which is an uncoordinated status among subsystems of regional sustainable development. Although the level and tendency of regional sustainable development keeps increasing, such enhancement is abnormal. With the rapid deterioration of environmental and natural resources, their inhibitory effect on the economy and society would expand, eventually leading to the slow development rate or the recession of the entire system. The only solution is to change the traditional mode of economic development, to follow the guide of ecological economic conception so that the goal of achieving regional sustainable development strategies could be met ultimately. Meanwhile, the characteristics of different regions should be taken into account in order to achieve optimal spatial structure. Full article
Open AccessArticle Impact Analysis of Air Pollutant Emission Policies on Thermal Coal Supply Chain Enterprises in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 75-95; doi:10.3390/su7010075
Received: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 8 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spurred by the increasingly serious air pollution problem, the Chinese government has launched a series of policies to put forward specific measures of power structure adjustment and the control objectives of air pollution and coal consumption. Other policies pointed out that the coal
[...] Read more.
Spurred by the increasingly serious air pollution problem, the Chinese government has launched a series of policies to put forward specific measures of power structure adjustment and the control objectives of air pollution and coal consumption. Other policies pointed out that the coal resources regional blockades will be broken by improving transportation networks and constructing new logistics nodes. Thermal power takes the largest part of China’s total installed power generation capacity, so these policies will undoubtedly impact thermal coal supply chain member enterprises. Based on the actual situation in China, this paper figures out how the member enterprises adjust their business decisions to satisfy the requirements of air pollution prevention and control policies by establishing system dynamic models of policy impact transfer. These dynamic analyses can help coal enterprises and thermal power enterprises do strategic environmental assessments and find directions of sustainable development. Furthermore, the policy simulated results of this paper provide the Chinese government with suggestions for policy-making to make sure that the energy conservation and emission reduction policies and sustainable energy policies can work more efficiently. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Assessment of Solid Waste Management in China: A Decoupling and Decomposition Analysis
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 9268-9281; doi:10.3390/su6129268
Received: 30 August 2014 / Revised: 1 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 December 2014 / Published: 15 December 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (771 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the largest solid waste (SW) generator in the world, China is facing serious pollution issues induced by increasing quantities of SW. The sustainability assessment of SW management is very important for designing relevant policy for further improving the overall efficiency of solid
[...] Read more.
As the largest solid waste (SW) generator in the world, China is facing serious pollution issues induced by increasing quantities of SW. The sustainability assessment of SW management is very important for designing relevant policy for further improving the overall efficiency of solid waste management (SWM). By focusing on industrial solid waste (ISW) and municipal solid waste (MSW), the paper investigated the sustainability performance of SWM by applying decoupling analysis, and further identified the main drivers of SW change in China by adopting Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) model. The results indicate that China has made a great achievement in SWM which was specifically expressed as the increase of ISW utilized amount and harmless disposal ratio of MSW, decrease of industrial solid waste discharged (ISWD), and absolute decoupling of ISWD from economic growth as well. However, China has a long way to go to achieve the goal of sustainable management of SW. The weak decoupling, even expansive negative decoupling of ISW generation and MSW disposal suggests that China needs timely technology innovation and rational institutional arrangement to reduce SW intensity from the source and promote classification and recycling. The factors of investment efficiency and technology are the main determinants of the decrease in SW, inversely, economic growth has increased SW discharge. The effects of investment intensity showed a volatile trend over time but eventually decreased SW discharged. Moreover, the factors of population and industrial structure slightly increased SW. Full article
Open AccessArticle Environmental Legislation in China: Achievements, Challenges and Trends
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8967-8979; doi:10.3390/su6128967
Received: 28 August 2014 / Revised: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 24 November 2014 / Published: 5 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (667 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Compared to the environmental legislation of many developed countries, China’s environmental legislation was initiated late, beginning in 1979, but nevertheless has obtained considerable achievements. As many as thirty environmental laws have provided rules regarding prevention and control of pollution, resource utilization, and ecological
[...] Read more.
Compared to the environmental legislation of many developed countries, China’s environmental legislation was initiated late, beginning in 1979, but nevertheless has obtained considerable achievements. As many as thirty environmental laws have provided rules regarding prevention and control of pollution, resource utilization, and ecological protection in China. However, China’s environmental legislation still faces a series of challenges and problems, including that the sustainable development concept has not yet been fully implemented, as well as presence of gaps and non-coordination phenomena between laws and regulations, unclear responsibility, imperfect system design, imbalance between rights and obligations, higher impacts resulted from the GDP-centralized economy, lack of operability and instruments in the legal content, as well as difficulty of public participation. In contrast, China’s environmental legislation has improved, as a result of learning from experience in developed countries and introducing innovations stimulated by domestic environmental pressure. Looking into the future, increased attention to environmental protection and ecological consciousness paid by China’s new leaders will bring a valuable opportunity to China’s further development concerning environmental legislation. In the future, there are prospects for the gradual improvement of legal approaches, continuous improvements of legislation to mitigate environmental problems, and more opportunities to strengthen public participation can be predicted. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Entropy-Perspective Study on the Sustainable Development Potential of Tourism Destination Ecosystem in Dunhuang, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8980-9006; doi:10.3390/su6128980
Received: 31 August 2014 / Revised: 25 November 2014 / Accepted: 27 November 2014 / Published: 5 December 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (923 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyzed the characteristic of the tourism destination ecosystem from perspective of entropy in Dunhuang City. Given these circumstances, an evaluation index system that considers the potential of sustainable development was formed based on dissipative structure and entropy change for the tourism
[...] Read more.
This paper analyzed the characteristic of the tourism destination ecosystem from perspective of entropy in Dunhuang City. Given these circumstances, an evaluation index system that considers the potential of sustainable development was formed based on dissipative structure and entropy change for the tourism destination ecosystem. The sustainable development potential evaluation model for tourism destination ecosystem was built up based on information entropy. Then, we analyzed each indicator impact for the sustainable development potential and proposed some measures for the tourism destination ecosystem. The conclusions include: (a) the requirements of Dunhuang tourism destination ecosystem on the natural ecosystem continuously grew between 2000 and 2012; (b) The sustainable development potential of the Dunhuang tourism destination ecosystem was on an oscillation upward trend during the study period, which is dependent on government attention, and pollution problems were improved. Full article
Open AccessArticle Improving China’s Environmental Performance through Adaptive Implementation—A Comparative Case Study of Cleaner Production in Hangzhou and Guiyang
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8889-8908; doi:10.3390/su6128889
Received: 24 August 2014 / Revised: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 24 November 2014 / Published: 3 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1522 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines local policy implementation of Cleaner Production (CP) in China. As the major policy implementer, China’s local government plays a crucial role in promoting CP. A better understanding of the factors affecting local government’s incentives regarding CP and different strategies available
[...] Read more.
This paper examines local policy implementation of Cleaner Production (CP) in China. As the major policy implementer, China’s local government plays a crucial role in promoting CP. A better understanding of the factors affecting local government’s incentives regarding CP and different strategies available to the local government can help policy makers and implementers improve CP practices and other environmental policy outcomes. This paper uses the cases of Hangzhou and Guiyang to demonstrate that local conditions of policy implementation have a direct impact on the success of CP promotion. Based on 35 in-depth interviews, statistical data and internal government reports, we find that the location-based incentives of local government strongly influence their implementation strategies; and that the choices of different strategies can bring out various policy results. From this study, the identified location-based incentives are affected by energy resource endowment, economic development stage and technological competence. The successful implementation strategies involve using different policy instruments synthetically, regulating CP service organizations by controlling their qualifications, differentiating CP subsidizations, and improving transparency of project progress and outcomes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Biomass Power Generation Industry Efficiency Evaluation in China
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8720-8735; doi:10.3390/su6128720
Received: 8 July 2014 / Revised: 18 November 2014 / Accepted: 24 November 2014 / Published: 1 December 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (965 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we compare the properties of the traditional additive-based data envelopment analysis (hereafter, referred to as DEA) models and propose two generalized DEA models, i.e., the big M additive-based DEA (hereafter, referred to as BMA) model and the big M
[...] Read more.
In this paper, we compare the properties of the traditional additive-based data envelopment analysis (hereafter, referred to as DEA) models and propose two generalized DEA models, i.e., the big M additive-based DEA (hereafter, referred to as BMA) model and the big M additive-based super-efficiency DEA (hereafter, referred to as BMAS) model, to evaluate the performance of the biomass power plants in China in 2012. The virtues of the new models are two-fold: one is that they inherited the properties of the traditional additive-based DEA models and derived more new additive-based DEA forms; the other is that they can rank the efficient decision making units (hereafter, referred to as DMUs). Therefore, the new models have great potential to be applied in sustainable energy project evaluation. Then, we applied the two new DEA models to evaluate the performance of the biomass power plants in China and find that the efficiency of biomass power plants in the northern part of China is higher than that in the southern part of China. The only three efficient biomass power plants are all in the northern part of China. Furthermore, based on the results of the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney rank-sum test and the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, there is a great technology gap between the biomass power plants in the northern part of China and those in the southern part of China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Environmental Justice and Sustainability Impact Assessment: In Search of Solutions to Ethnic Conflicts Caused by Coal Mining in Inner Mongolia, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8756-8774; doi:10.3390/su6128756
Received: 12 July 2014 / Revised: 2 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 1 December 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1204 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Chinese government adopted more specific and stringent environmental impact assessment (EIA) guidelines in 2011, soon after the widespread ethnic protests against coal mining in Inner Mongolia. However, our research suggests that the root of the ethnic tension is a sustainability problem, in
[...] Read more.
The Chinese government adopted more specific and stringent environmental impact assessment (EIA) guidelines in 2011, soon after the widespread ethnic protests against coal mining in Inner Mongolia. However, our research suggests that the root of the ethnic tension is a sustainability problem, in addition to environmental issues. In particular, the Mongolians do not feel they have benefited from the mining of their resources. Existing environmental assessment tools are inadequate to address sustainability, which is concerned with environmental protection, social justice and economic equity. Thus, it is necessary to develop a sustainability impact assessment (SIA) to fill in the gap. SIA would be in theory and practice a better tool than EIA for assessing sustainability impact. However, China’s political system presents a major challenge to promoting social and economic equity. Another practical challenge for SIA is corruption which has been also responsible for the failing of EIA in assessing environmental impacts of coal mining in Inner Mongolia. Under the current political system, China should adopt the SIA while continuing its fight against corruption. Full article
Open AccessArticle Emergy-Based Regional Socio-Economic Metabolism Analysis: An Application of Data Envelopment Analysis and Decomposition Analysis
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8618-8638; doi:10.3390/su6128618
Received: 4 April 2014 / Revised: 20 November 2014 / Accepted: 21 November 2014 / Published: 28 November 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1103 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Integrated analysis on socio-economic metabolism could provide a basis for understanding and optimizing regional sustainability. The paper conducted socio-economic metabolism analysis by means of the emergy accounting method coupled with data envelopment analysis and decomposition analysis techniques to assess the sustainability of Qingyang
[...] Read more.
Integrated analysis on socio-economic metabolism could provide a basis for understanding and optimizing regional sustainability. The paper conducted socio-economic metabolism analysis by means of the emergy accounting method coupled with data envelopment analysis and decomposition analysis techniques to assess the sustainability of Qingyang city and its eight sub-region system, as well as to identify the major driving factors of performance change during 2000–2007, to serve as the basis for future policy scenarios. The results indicate that Qingyang greatly depended on non-renewable emergy flows and feedback (purchased) emergy flows, except the two sub-regions, named Huanxian and Huachi, which highly depended on renewable emergy flow. Zhenyuan, Huanxian and Qingcheng were identified as being relatively emergy efficient, and the other five sub-regions have potential to reduce natural resource inputs and waste output to achieve the goal of efficiency. The results of decomposition analysis show that the economic growth, as well as the increased emergy yield ratio and population not accompanied by a sufficient increase of resource utilization efficiency are the main drivers of the unsustainable economic model in Qingyang and call for polices to promote the efficiency of resource utilization and to optimize natural resource use. Full article
Open AccessArticle Factors Affecting Migration Intentions in Ecological Restoration Areas and Their Implications for the Sustainability of Ecological Migration Policy in Arid Northwest China
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8639-8660; doi:10.3390/su6128639
Received: 20 August 2014 / Revised: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 21 November 2014 / Published: 28 November 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1271 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecological migration policy has been proposed and implemented as a means for depopulating ecological restoration areas in the arid Northwest China. Migration intention is critical to the effectiveness of ecological migration policy. However, studies on migration intention in relation to ecological migration policy
[...] Read more.
Ecological migration policy has been proposed and implemented as a means for depopulating ecological restoration areas in the arid Northwest China. Migration intention is critical to the effectiveness of ecological migration policy. However, studies on migration intention in relation to ecological migration policy in China remain scant. Thus this paper aims to investigate the rural residents’ migration intentions and their affecting factors under ecological migration policy in Minqin County, an ecological restoration area, located at the lower terminus of Shiyang River Basin in arid Northwest China. The data for this study come from a randomly sampled household questionnaire survey. Results from logistic regression modelling indicate that most residents do not intend to migrate, despite rigid eco-environmental conditions and governance polices threatening livelihood sustainability. In addition to demographic and socio-economic factors, the eco-environmental factors are also significantly correlated with the possibility of a resident intending to migrate. The implications of the significant independent variables for the sustainability of ecological migration policy are discussed. The paper concludes that ecological migration policies may ultimately be more sustainable when taking into account household interests within complex migration intention contexts, such as household livelihoods dynamics and environmental change. Full article
Open AccessArticle Understanding Relationships among Agro-Ecosystem Services Based on Emergy Analysis in Luancheng County, North China
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8700-8719; doi:10.3390/su6128700
Received: 29 August 2014 / Revised: 12 November 2014 / Accepted: 24 November 2014 / Published: 28 November 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2861 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Exploring the relationship between different services has become the focus of ecosystem services research in recent years. The agro-ecosystem, which accounts for one-third of the global land area, provides lots of services but also disservices, depending on resources provided by other systems. In
[...] Read more.
Exploring the relationship between different services has become the focus of ecosystem services research in recent years. The agro-ecosystem, which accounts for one-third of the global land area, provides lots of services but also disservices, depending on resources provided by other systems. In this paper, we explored the agro-ecosystem from four aspects: a summary of different indicators in the agro-ecosystem, input and output changes with time, relationships between different ecosystem services and disservices, and resource contribution to major services, using Luancheng County of North China as the study area. We then used emergy analysis to unify all the indicators. The conclusions were that the agro-ecosystem maintained provisioning and regulating services but with increasing volatility under continued growth in production inputs and disservice outputs. There was a positive correlation between most of the different services and disservices. Rainfall and groundwater resources were the most used input resources in the agro-ecosystem and all other major ecosystem services depended directly on them. Full article
Open AccessArticle Factor Analysis of Residential Energy Consumption at the Provincial Level in China
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 7710-7724; doi:10.3390/su6117710
Received: 30 August 2014 / Revised: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 3 November 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (818 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyzes the differences in the amount and the structure of residential energy consumption at the provincial level in China and identifies the hidden factors behind such differences. The econometrical analysis reveals that population, economic development level, energy resource endowment and climatic
[...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the differences in the amount and the structure of residential energy consumption at the provincial level in China and identifies the hidden factors behind such differences. The econometrical analysis reveals that population, economic development level, energy resource endowment and climatic conditions are the main factors driving residential energy consumption; while the regional differences in energy consumption per capita and the consumption structure can be mainly illustrated by various economic development levels, energy resource endowments and climatic conditions. Economic development level has a significant positive impact on the proportion of gasoline consumption, whereas its impact on the proportion of electricity consumption is not notable; energy resource endowment and climatic condition indirectly affect both the proportion of electricity consumption and that of gasoline consumption, primarily through their impacts on the proportions of coal consumption and heat consumption. Full article
Open AccessArticle Water Quality Changes during Rapid Urbanization in the Shenzhen River Catchment: An Integrated View of Socio-Economic and Infrastructure Development
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 7433-7451; doi:10.3390/su6107433
Received: 24 August 2014 / Revised: 3 October 2014 / Accepted: 14 October 2014 / Published: 23 October 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1751 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Surface water quality deterioration is a serious problem in many rapidly urbanizing catchments in developing countries. There is currently a lack of studies that quantify water quality variation (deterioration or otherwise) due to both socio-economic and infrastructure development in a catchment. This paper
[...] Read more.
Surface water quality deterioration is a serious problem in many rapidly urbanizing catchments in developing countries. There is currently a lack of studies that quantify water quality variation (deterioration or otherwise) due to both socio-economic and infrastructure development in a catchment. This paper investigates the causes of water quality changes over the rapid urbanization period of 1985–2009 in the Shenzhen River catchment, China and examines the changes in relation to infrastructure development and socio-economic policies. The results indicate that the water quality deteriorated rapidly during the earlier urbanization stages before gradually improving over recent years, and that rapid increases in domestic discharge were the major causes of water quality deterioration. Although construction of additional wastewater infrastructure can significantly improve water quality, it was unable to dispose all of the wastewater in the catchment. However, it was found that socio-economic measures can significantly improve water quality by decreasing pollutant load per gross regional production (GRP) or increasing labor productivity. Our findings suggest that sustainable development during urbanization is possible, provided that: (1) the wastewater infrastructure should be constructed timely and revitalized regularly in line with urbanization, and wastewater treatment facilities should be upgraded to improve their nitrogen and phosphorus removal efficiencies; (2) administrative regulation policies, economic incentives and financial policies should be implemented to encourage industries to prevent or reduce the pollution at the source; (3) the environmental awareness and education level of local population should be increased; (4) planners from various sectors should consult each other and adapt an integrated planning approach for socio-economic and wastewater infrastructure development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Scenario-Based Analysis on Water Resources Implication of Coal Power in Western China
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 7155-7180; doi:10.3390/su6107155
Received: 20 August 2014 / Revised: 10 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 October 2014 / Published: 16 October 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1630 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, 58% of coal-fired power generation capacity is located in eastern China, where the demand for electricity is strong. Serious air pollution in China, in eastern regions in particular, has compelled the Chinese government to impose a ban on the new construction of
[...] Read more.
Currently, 58% of coal-fired power generation capacity is located in eastern China, where the demand for electricity is strong. Serious air pollution in China, in eastern regions in particular, has compelled the Chinese government to impose a ban on the new construction of pulverized coal power plants in eastern regions. Meanwhile, rapid economic growth is thirsty for electric power supply. As a response, China planned to build large-scale coal power bases in six western provinces, including Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Xinjiang, Ningxia and Gansu. In this paper, the water resource implication of the coal power base planning is addressed. We find that, in a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, water consumption for coal power generation in these six provinces will increase from 1130 million m3 in 2012 to 2085 million m3 in 2020, experiencing nearly a double growth. Such a surge will exert great pressure on water supply and lead to serious water crisis in these already water-starved regions. A strong implication is that the Chinese Government must add water resource constraint as a critical point in its overall sustainable development plan, in addition to energy supply and environment protection. An integrated energy-water resource plan with regionalized environmental carrying capacity as constraints should be developed to settle this puzzle. Several measures are proposed to cope with it, including downsizing coal power in western regions, raising the technical threshold of new coal power plants and implementing retrofitting to the inefficient cooling system, and reengineering the generation process to waterless or recycled means. Full article
Open AccessArticle Insights into the Regional Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission of Industrial Processes: A Case Study of Shenyang, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3669-3685; doi:10.3390/su6063669
Received: 29 March 2014 / Revised: 23 May 2014 / Accepted: 23 May 2014 / Published: 6 June 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1063 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the GHG emission of industrial process in Shenyang city, in the Liaoning province of China, using the 2006 IPCC greenhouse gas inventory guideline. Results show that the total GHG emissions of industrial process has increased, from 1.48 Mt in 2004
[...] Read more.
This paper examines the GHG emission of industrial process in Shenyang city, in the Liaoning province of China, using the 2006 IPCC greenhouse gas inventory guideline. Results show that the total GHG emissions of industrial process has increased, from 1.48 Mt in 2004 to 4.06 Mt in 2009, except for a little decrease in 2008. The cement industry, and iron and steel industries, are the main emission sources, accounting for more than 90% of the total carbon emissions. GHG emissions in 2020 are estimated based on scenario analysis. The research indicates that the cement industry, and iron and steel industries, will still be the largest emission sources, and the total carbon emissions under the business as usual (BAU) scenario will be doubled in 2020 compared with that of 2009. However, when countermeasures are taken, the GHG emission will reduce significantly. Using more clinker substitutes for blended cement, and increasing direct reduction iron process and recycled steel scraps are efficient measures in reducing GHG emission. Scenario 4, which has the highest ratio of 30/70 blended cement and the highest ratio of steel with recycled steel-EAF process, is the best one. In this scenario, the industrial process GHG emission in 2020 can almost stay the same as that of 2009. From the perspective of regions, cement industry and iron and steel industry accounted for the vast majority of GHG emission in all industries. Meanwhile, these two industries become the most potential industries for reduction of GHG emission. This study provides an insight for GHG emission of different industries at the scale of cities in China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Financial Sustainability of China’s Rural Pension System
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3271-3290; doi:10.3390/su6063271
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 14 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considering the rapid growth of China’s elderly rural population, establishing both an adequate and a financially sustainable rural pension system is a major challenge. Focusing on financial sustainability, this article defines this concept of financial sustainability before constructing sound actuarial models for China’s
[...] Read more.
Considering the rapid growth of China’s elderly rural population, establishing both an adequate and a financially sustainable rural pension system is a major challenge. Focusing on financial sustainability, this article defines this concept of financial sustainability before constructing sound actuarial models for China’s rural pension system. Based on these models and statistical data, the analysis finds that the rural pension funding gap should rise from 97.80 billion Yuan in 2014 to 3062.31 billion Yuan in 2049, which represents an annual growth rate of 10.34%. This implies that, as it stands, the rural pension system in China is not financially sustainable. Finally, the article explains how this problem could be fixed through policy recommendations based on recent international experiences. Full article

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