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Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8618-8638; doi:10.3390/su6128618

Emergy-Based Regional Socio-Economic Metabolism Analysis: An Application of Data Envelopment Analysis and Decomposition Analysis

1,* , 1,†
and
2,†
1
College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Tianshui South Road 222 #, Lanzhou 730000, China
2
Institute for Applied Material Flow Management, University of Applied Sciences Trier, Campusallee 9926, 55768 Neubrücke, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 April 2014 / Revised: 20 November 2014 / Accepted: 21 November 2014 / Published: 28 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in China: Bridging Global Knowledge with Local Action)
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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 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: socio-economic metabolism; emergy analysis; data envelopment analysis; decomposition analysis; Qingyang socio-economic metabolism; emergy analysis; data envelopment analysis; decomposition analysis; Qingyang
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Zhang, Z.; Chen, X.; Heck, P. Emergy-Based Regional Socio-Economic Metabolism Analysis: An Application of Data Envelopment Analysis and Decomposition Analysis. Sustainability 2014, 6, 8618-8638.

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