Sustainability assessment of one industrial region: A combined method of emergy analysis and IPAT (Human Impact Population Affluence Technology)
Resource over-exploitation and resource depletion have received increasing attentions, especially for industrial regions. In this paper an innovative method that combines emergy analysis and an IPAT (Human Impact Population Affluence Technology) equation is developed in order to create an integrated framework for uncovering the driving forces on resource consumption in one industrial region. Liaoning province, one of the old heavy industrial bases in China, is selected as the case study region. The main results show that total emergy of Liaoning province increased from 9.25E + 23 sej in 2002 to 1.92E + 24 sej in 2012, with 165% growth on non-renewable emergy and 250% growth on imported emergy. Regional emergy/RMB ratio was higher than other developed regions and the average value of China, indicating that this province consumed more local free non-renewable resources to support its own development. The lower ESI (emergy sustainability index) indicates that Liaoning province's sustainability is still weak and far away from sustainable development. IPAT analysis further identifies that rapid economic growth was the main driving force to increase its total emergy use, while technology innovation offset the increase of total emergy use. Policy insights suggest that industrial regions should improve their energy efficiency and optimize their economic and energy structure by applying economic instruments and capacity building efforts.
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