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Emergy-Based City’s Sustainability and Decoupling Assessment: Indicators, Features and Findings

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  • Liming Zhang

    ()
    (Key Lab of Pollution Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 10016, China
    Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 19A Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, China)

  • Bing Xue

    ()
    (Key Lab of Pollution Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 10016, China)

  • Yong Geng

    ()
    (Key Lab of Pollution Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 10016, China)

  • Wanxia Ren

    ()
    (Key Lab of Pollution Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 10016, China)

  • Chengpeng Lu

    ()
    (Key Lab of Pollution Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 10016, China)

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    Abstract

    Decoupling human well-being and local economic growth from resources consumption and environmental degradation has been recognized as a common vision to meet global sustainability. This paper taking Shenyang city as studied case aims to measure the decoupling process by proposing a set of new emergy-based and efficiency-oriented indicators. Decoupling process was verified in period of 1995–2010, and five new indicators including economic efficiency, the environmental pressure, the emergy-based five-year yield efficiency, the investment cost for decoupling, and the job-opportunities cost for decoupling were developed and applied. The results indicate that decoupling in Shenyang shows an erratic appearance, the trajectory of economic growth, and environmental pressure show absolute decoupling, while that of economic growth and resources utilization shows frequentative bending; emergy-based economic efficiency has been improved and the environmental pressure decreased along with the economic growth but the relative job cost per unit remains almost at the same level. However, this isolated and methodology-oriented case study provided the open-mind understandings to policy-making, thus, a wider scale comparison between different cities should be carried out for more knowledge mining.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 952-966

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:952-966:d:33199

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    Related research

    Keywords: decoupling; ecological indicator; sustainability assessment; emergy approach;

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    1. Zhang, Zhongxiang, 2000. "Decoupling China's Carbon Emissions Increase from Economic Growth: An Economic Analysis and Policy Implications," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 739-752, April.
    2. Sjöström, Magnus & Östblom, Göran, 2010. "Decoupling waste generation from economic growth -- A CGE analysis of the Swedish case," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 1545-1552, May.
    3. Bringezu, Stefan & Schutz, Helmut & Steger, Soren & Baudisch, Jan, 2004. "International comparison of resource use and its relation to economic growth: The development of total material requirement, direct material inputs and hidden flows and the structure of TMR," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 97-124, November.
    4. Brown, M. T. & Herendeen, R. A., 1996. "Embodied energy analysis and EMERGY analysis: a comparative view," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 219-235, December.
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