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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2016)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Preventive Command and Control Regulation: A Case Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010099
Received: 7 October 2015 / Revised: 14 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (222 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the current study is to evaluate new preventive command-and-control environmental regulation’s competitive effects on automobile manufacturers and their suppliers. The methodology that we have used is a case analysis, and its main aim is to study an unfamiliar situation. Therefore,
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The aim of the current study is to evaluate new preventive command-and-control environmental regulation’s competitive effects on automobile manufacturers and their suppliers. The methodology that we have used is a case analysis, and its main aim is to study an unfamiliar situation. Therefore, we have chosen cases from each of the groups: two suppliers and one manufacturer. The new regulation obliges automobile companies to deeply modify their process technologies and their relationships with their suppliers (toughening requirements and strengthening long-term relationships) and to require their workers to train in environmental matters. Complying with regulation by suppliers will be possible if product and process designs are modified. However, only organisational actions, which include workers’ training in environmental and quality matters and activities to recover value in factories, are capable to achieve it. In any case, these factories have already been affected by trade-offs between environmental and other more classic manufacturing objectives, especially quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Possible Futures towards a Wood-Based Bioeconomy: A Scenario Analysis for Germany
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010098
Received: 10 November 2015 / Revised: 11 January 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2880 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Driven by the growing awareness of the finite nature of fossil raw materials and the need for sustainable pathways of industrial production, the bio-based economy is expected to expand worldwide. Policy strategies such as the European Union Bioeconomy Strategy and national bioeconomy strategies
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Driven by the growing awareness of the finite nature of fossil raw materials and the need for sustainable pathways of industrial production, the bio-based economy is expected to expand worldwide. Policy strategies such as the European Union Bioeconomy Strategy and national bioeconomy strategies foster this process. Besides the advantages promised by a transition towards a sustainable bioeconomy, these processes have to cope with significant uncertainties as many influencing factors play a role, such as climate change, technological and economic development, sustainability risks, dynamic consumption patterns and policy and governance issues. Based on a literature review and an expert survey, we identify influence factors for the future development of a wood-based bioeconomy in Germany. Four scenarios are generated based on different assumptions about the development of relevant influence factors. We discuss what developments in politics, industry and society have a central impact on shaping alternative futures. As such, the paper provides a knowledge base and orientation for decision makers and practitioners, and contributes to the scientific discussion on how the bioeconomy could develop. We conclude that the wood-based bioeconomy has a certain potential to develop further, if adequate political framework conditions are implemented and meet voter support, if consumers exhibit an enhanced willingness to pay for bio-based products, and if among companies, a chance-oriented advocacy coalition of bioeconomy supporters dominates over proponents of fossil pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessReview Overcoming Food Security Challenges within an Energy/Water/Food Nexus (EWFN) Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010095
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 21 December 2015 / Accepted: 13 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (3468 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The challenge of feeding nine billion people by 2050, in a context of constrained resources and growing environmental pressures posed by current food production methods on one side, and changing lifestyles and consequent shifts in dietary patterns on the other, exacerbated by the
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The challenge of feeding nine billion people by 2050, in a context of constrained resources and growing environmental pressures posed by current food production methods on one side, and changing lifestyles and consequent shifts in dietary patterns on the other, exacerbated by the effects of climate change, has been defined as one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. The first step to achieve food security is to find a balance between the growing demand for food, and the limited production capacity. In order to do this three main pathways have been identified: employing sustainable production methods in agriculture, changing diets, and reducing waste in all stages of the food chain. The application of an energy, water and food nexus (EWFN) approach, which takes into account the interactions and connections between these three resources, and the synergies and trade-offs that arise from the way they are managed, is a prerequisite for the correct application of these pathways. This work discusses how Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) might be applicable for creating the evidence-base to foster such desired shifts in food production and consumption patterns. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Sustainability in 2015
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010103
Received: 21 January 2016 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
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Abstract
The editors of Sustainability would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2015. [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Corporate Social Responsibility Applied for Rural Development: An Empirical Analysis of Firms from the American Continent
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010102
Received: 18 November 2015 / Revised: 12 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (491 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Corporate Social Responsibility has been recognized by policymakers and development specialists as a feasible driver for rural development. The present paper explores both theoretically and empirically how firms involved in CSR provide development opportunities to rural communities. The research first evaluates the applied
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Corporate Social Responsibility has been recognized by policymakers and development specialists as a feasible driver for rural development. The present paper explores both theoretically and empirically how firms involved in CSR provide development opportunities to rural communities. The research first evaluates the applied literature on the implementation of CSR by private firms and policymakers as means to foster sustainable rural development. The empirical research analyses the CSR activities of 100 firms from a variety of industries, sizes, and countries to determine the type of companies who are involved in rural development and the kind of activities they deployed. Results from the empirical research show that although rural development initiatives are not relevant for all types of companies, a significant number of firms from a variety of industries have engaged in CSR programs supporting rural communities. Firms appear to be interested in stimulating rural development and seem to benefit from it. This paper also includes an exploration of the main challenges and constraints that firms encounter when encouraging rural development initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Museum Sustainability and Indicators for Museum Sustainability Measurement
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010101
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 14 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1103 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this research was to identify the factors upon which museum sustainability depends and the way in which this can be measured. Methodologically, we applied a qualitative research approach, using semi-structured interviews with experts from the Romanian museum sector, complemented by
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The purpose of this research was to identify the factors upon which museum sustainability depends and the way in which this can be measured. Methodologically, we applied a qualitative research approach, using semi-structured interviews with experts from the Romanian museum sector, complemented by an in-depth study of the literature in this field. Results indicated that any objective measuring of sustainability must take into account the size of a museum’s collections and its organizational structure. It was also found that museum type can affect sustainability via its competitive advantage. However, the sustainability of a museum is not strictly determined by these factors, but also by the management and marketing strategies applied. Based on analysis of literature- and respondent-based factors influencing sustainability, this article proposes a set of 33 indicators that can be used by museums to measure their sustainability, as well as a model that enables evaluation of the sustainability levels of various museums comparatively, regardless of their type, size or importance (e.g., national, regional and local). The results obtained are useful both from a theoretical point of view, given that there are few writings on this topic, and from a practical point of view, as they provide a basis for a clear, objective model of museum sustainability measurement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Local Residents’ Attitude toward Sustainable Rural Tourism Development
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010100
Received: 16 November 2015 / Revised: 16 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 21 January 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tourism is a multi-faced activity that links the economic, social and environmental components of sustainability. This research analyzes rural residents’ perceptions of the impact of tourism development and examines the factors that influence the support for sustainable tourism development in the region of
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Tourism is a multi-faced activity that links the economic, social and environmental components of sustainability. This research analyzes rural residents’ perceptions of the impact of tourism development and examines the factors that influence the support for sustainable tourism development in the region of Nord-Vest in Romania. Residents’ perceptions towards tourism development were measured using 22 items, while their support for tourism development was determined using 8 items. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Principal component analysis grouped the first 22 variables into 4 factors, and the following 8 variables into 2 factors (sustainable development, destination development). Findings indicate that residents see tourism as a development factor. The natural, economic, and social-cultural environment as well as infrastructure, age, gender and education are factors that influence the sustainable development of tourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Building Fabric Thermal Performance of Passivhaus Dwellings—Does It Do What It Says on the Tin?
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010097
Received: 16 December 2015 / Revised: 12 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 January 2016 / Published: 20 January 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1423 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Passivhaus (or Passive House) Standard is one of the world’s most widely known voluntary energy performance standards. For a dwelling to achieve the Standard and be granted Certification, the building fabric requires careful design and detailing, high levels of thermal insulation, building
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The Passivhaus (or Passive House) Standard is one of the world’s most widely known voluntary energy performance standards. For a dwelling to achieve the Standard and be granted Certification, the building fabric requires careful design and detailing, high levels of thermal insulation, building airtightness, close site supervision and careful workmanship. However, achieving Passivhaus Certification is not a guarantee that the thermal performance of the building fabric as designed will actually be achieved in situ. This paper presents the results obtained from measuring the in situ whole building heat loss coefficient (HLC) of a small number of Certified Passivhaus case study dwellings. They are located on different sites and constructed using different technologies in the UK. Despite the small and non-random nature of the dwelling sample, the results obtained from the in situ measurements revealed that the thermal performance of the building fabric, for all of the dwellings, performed very close to the design predictions. This suggests that in terms of the thermal performance of the building fabric, Passivhaus does exactly what it says on the tin. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Release of Heavy Metals from the Pyrite Tailings of Huangjiagou Pyrite Mine: Batch Experiments
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010096
Received: 23 November 2015 / Revised: 15 January 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2016 / Published: 20 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2433 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To provide the basic information about the release of heavy metals from the pyrite tailings of Huangjiagou pyrite mine, the pyrite tailings were investigated through a series of batch experiments under different initial pH of extractant, temperature, liquid-solid (LS) ratio, and soaking time
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To provide the basic information about the release of heavy metals from the pyrite tailings of Huangjiagou pyrite mine, the pyrite tailings were investigated through a series of batch experiments under different initial pH of extractant, temperature, liquid-solid (LS) ratio, and soaking time conditions. Moreover, calcium carbonate was added in the pyrite tailings to determine the reduction effect on the release of heavy metals. The results show that Fe, Cr, Cu, Mn, Zn, and Ni were the major heavy metals in the pyrite tailings. Low initial pH and high LS ratio significantly promoted Fe, Cu, Mn, Ni, and Zn release, and high temperature significantly promoted Fe, Cu, Mn, and Ni release. Only small amounts of Cr were detected at low LS ratios. With the increase of soaking time, the released amount of Fe, Cu, Mn, Ni, and Zn increased to the maximum value within 48 h, respectively. After adding calcium carbonate, the released amounts of Fe, Cu, and Zn reduced at least 70.80% within 48 h soaking time. The results indicate that summer and the early soaking stage are the main phases for the release of heavy metals from the pyrite tailings. In the pyrite tailings, Cr is difficult to release. Adding calcium carbonate can effectively reduce the release of Fe, Cu, and Zn. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sequential Relationship between Profitability and Sustainability: The Case of Migratory Beekeeping
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010094
Received: 10 November 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 19 January 2016
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Abstract
When beekeeping is managed on a migratory basis, the bee colony produces physical outputs (honey) and pollination services on a sequence of forage sites. Forage sites are competitors if their flowering periods overlap, and are complementary otherwise. Viable sequences consist only of complementary
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When beekeeping is managed on a migratory basis, the bee colony produces physical outputs (honey) and pollination services on a sequence of forage sites. Forage sites are competitors if their flowering periods overlap, and are complementary otherwise. Viable sequences consist only of complementary forage sites. A part of the bee colony’s production time is spent on each forage site in the period when the crop or wild vegetation covering it is in flower. The total period covered by the sequence of sites, including the base site, must be equal to or less than the duration (365 days) of the bee colony’s annual biological cycle. The migratory beekeeper draws up viable sequences of forage sites and calculates their profitability levels. Variations in the profitability of forage sites which alter the composition of the sequence, affecting provision of the non-marketed ecosystem pollination services, impact the biodiversity of the pollinated plants with trickle-down effects on sustainability. In the case of migratory beekeeping, there is, therefore, a sequential relationship between profitability and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Competitiveness of Farms)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Tillage Practices and Crop Type on Soil CO2 Emissions
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010090
Received: 11 December 2015 / Revised: 11 January 2016 / Accepted: 11 January 2016 / Published: 19 January 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nonsustainable agricultural practices often lead to soil carbon loss and increased soil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere. A research study was conducted on arable fields in central lowland Croatia to measure soil respiration, its seasonal variability, and its response
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Nonsustainable agricultural practices often lead to soil carbon loss and increased soil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere. A research study was conducted on arable fields in central lowland Croatia to measure soil respiration, its seasonal variability, and its response to agricultural practices. Soil C-CO2 emissions were measured with the in situ static chamber method during corn (Zea mays L.) and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) growing seasons (2012 and 2013, n = 288) in a field experiment with six different tillage treatments. During corn and winter wheat growing season, average monthly soil C-CO2 emissions ranged, respectively, from 6.2–33.6 and 22.1–36.2 kg ha−1 day−1, and were decreasing, respectively, from summer > spring > autumn and summer > autumn > spring. The same tillage treatments except for black fallow differed significantly between studied years (crops) regarding soil CO2 emissions. Significant differences in soil C-CO2 emissions between different tillage treatments with crop presence were recorded during corn but not during winter wheat growing season. In these studied agroecological conditions, optimal tillage treatment regarding emitted C-CO2 is plowing to 25 cm along the slope, but it should be noted that CO2 emissions involve a complex interaction of several factors; thus, focusing on one factor, i.e., tillage, may result in a lack of consistency across studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessCommunication Exergy and CO2 Analyses as Key Tools for the Evaluation of Bio-Ethanol Production
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010076
Received: 18 November 2015 / Revised: 24 December 2015 / Accepted: 11 January 2016 / Published: 19 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (356 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The background of bioethanol as an alternative to conventional fuels is analyzed with the aim of examining the efficiency of bioethanol production by first (sugar-based) and second (cellulose-based) generation processes. Energy integration is of paramount importance for a complete recovery of the processes’
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The background of bioethanol as an alternative to conventional fuels is analyzed with the aim of examining the efficiency of bioethanol production by first (sugar-based) and second (cellulose-based) generation processes. Energy integration is of paramount importance for a complete recovery of the processes’ exergy potential. Based upon literature data and our own findings, exergy analysis is shown to be an important tool in analyzing integrated ethanol production from an efficiency and cost perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary EU Product Environmental Footprint—Mid-Term Review of the Pilot Phase
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010092
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 6 January 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2016 / Published: 18 January 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (710 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ongoing pilot phase of the European Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) tests the PEF method and develops product category-specific rules (PEFCRs) for selected product categories. The goal of PEF is to address all relevant environmental impacts and the full life cycle of products
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The ongoing pilot phase of the European Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) tests the PEF method and develops product category-specific rules (PEFCRs) for selected product categories. The goal of PEF is to address all relevant environmental impacts and the full life cycle of products is acknowledged. However, PEF faces several methodological and practical challenges. This paper presents key findings of a comprehensive analysis of the current status of the PEF pilot phase (mainly based on the evaluation of all draft PEFCRs). Remaining key challenges are: (1) the still open goal and policy outcome of the PEF process; (2) the difficult applicability and, thus, the unclear tangible added value of some PEF rules compared to current life cycle assessment (LCA) practice; (3) the insufficient maturity level of some predefined impact assessment methods and missing reliable methods for prioritizing impact categories; and (4) the fact that, in the worst case, the developed PEFCRs may not support a fair comparability of products. This “mid-term review” of the PEF pilot phase shows that the PEF method and the PEFCRs need to be further improved and refined for a successful policy implementation of PEF, but also for avoiding that unsolved issues of PEF affect the LCA method as such. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Assessment and Optimization-Based Decision Analysis of Construction Waste Recycling for a LEED-Certified University Building
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010089
Received: 15 October 2015 / Revised: 12 January 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2016 / Published: 18 January 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1578 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current waste management literature lacks a comprehensive LCA of the recycling of construction materials that considers both process and supply chain-related impacts as a whole. Furthermore, an optimization-based decision support framework has not been also addressed in any work, which provides a
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The current waste management literature lacks a comprehensive LCA of the recycling of construction materials that considers both process and supply chain-related impacts as a whole. Furthermore, an optimization-based decision support framework has not been also addressed in any work, which provides a quantifiable understanding about the potential savings and implications associated with recycling of construction materials from a life cycle perspective. The aim of this research is to present a multi-criteria optimization model, which is developed to propose economically-sound and environmentally-benign construction waste management strategies for a LEED-certified university building. First, an economic input-output-based hybrid life cycle assessment model is built to quantify the total environmental impacts of various waste management options: recycling, conventional landfilling and incineration. After quantifying the net environmental pressures associated with these waste treatment alternatives, a compromise programming model is utilized to determine the optimal recycling strategy considering environmental and economic impacts, simultaneously. The analysis results show that recycling of ferrous and non-ferrous metals significantly contributed to reductions in the total carbon footprint of waste management. On the other hand, recycling of asphalt and concrete increased the overall carbon footprint due to high fuel consumption and emissions during the crushing process. Based on the multi-criteria optimization results, 100% recycling of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, cardboard, plastic and glass is suggested to maximize the environmental and economic savings, simultaneously. We believe that the results of this research will facilitate better decision making in treating construction and debris waste for LEED-certified green buildings by combining the results of environmental LCA with multi-objective optimization modeling. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Hybrid Arrangements as a Form of Ecological Modernization: The Case of the US Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8010088
Received: 31 October 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 18 January 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (592 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How are environmental policy goals implemented and sustained in the context of political stagnation surrounding national climate policies in the United States? In this paper, we discuss Ecological Modernization Theory as a tool for understanding the complexity of climate governance at the sub-national
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How are environmental policy goals implemented and sustained in the context of political stagnation surrounding national climate policies in the United States? In this paper, we discuss Ecological Modernization Theory as a tool for understanding the complexity of climate governance at the sub-national level. In particular, we explore the emergence of hybrid governance arrangements during the local implementation of federal energy efficiency programs in US cities. We analyze the formation and advancement of programs associated with one effort to establish a sub-national low carbon energy policy: the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program administered by the US Department of Energy. Our findings highlight the diverse range of partnerships between state, private, and civil society actors that emerged through this program and point to some of the challenges associated with collaborative climate governance initiatives at the city level. Although some programs reflected ecologically modern outcomes, other cities were constrained in their ability to move beyond the status quo due to the demands of state bureaucracies and the challenges associated with inconsistent funding. We find that these programs cultivated hybrid arrangements in an effort to sustain the projects following the termination of federal grant funding. Overall, hybrid governance plays an important role in the implementation and long-term sustainability of climate-related policies. Full article
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