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Sustainability 2014, 6(2), 952-966; doi:10.3390/su6020952

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

1,* , 1
1 Key Lab of Pollution Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 10016, China 2 Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 19A Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, China
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 January 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2014 / Accepted: 17 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
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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.
Keywords: decoupling; ecological indicator; sustainability assessment; emergy approach decoupling; ecological indicator; sustainability assessment; emergy approach
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Zhang, L.; Xue, B.; Geng, Y.; Ren, W.; Lu, C. Emergy-Based City’s Sustainability and Decoupling Assessment: Indicators, Features and Findings. Sustainability 2014, 6, 952-966.

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