Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7621-7645; doi:10.3390/su6117621 (registering DOI) - published 31 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of China’s industrial SO2 emissions trading pilot scheme (SETPS) on the pollution abatement costs (PAC) from the past and future perspective. We apply the kernel-based propensity score difference-in-difference method to examine the effects of SETPS on the average pollution abatement costs (APAC) and the marginal pollution abatement costs (MPAC) based on the environment data from the industrial sector of 29 provinces in China over the period of 1998 to 2011. Our findings are that SETPS failed to reduce PAC as a whole. During 2002 to 2011, SETPS increased APAC by 1310 RMB per ton on average and had an insignificant negative effect on MPAC. Nevertheless, the conclusions would be markedly different if we separately investigated the effects of SETPS each year of the pilot period. The positive effects of SETPS on PAC started to appear since 2009, and SETPS significantly reduced both APAC and MPAC, especially in 2009 and 2011.
Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7601-7620; doi:10.3390/su6117601 - published 29 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The conflict between increasing water demand and limited water resources has become a serious threat to oasis regions in China. Solutions to water scarcity have to curb overall water demands, especially reducing agricultural water use. Price control and quantitative control are the two most commonly applied policy instruments for water demand management. This paper used a bio-economic model (BEM) to examine the shadow price of water resources and to investigate farmers’ response to water demand management policies in water scarce regions based on a study in the Heihe River Basin in northwest China. The results indicate that farmers are not very responsive to changes in water price, because it is currently far below the shadow price of water resources in most irrigation zones. A reduction of agricultural water demand could occur only with a large rise in the water price. In comparison, a quantitative control measure is more effective at reducing water use. Concerning the effects on farm income, a price control will cost much more than a quantitative control to save the same volume of water. Hence, a water quota is a more suitable choice for the purpose of reducing agricultural water use, while minimizing farm income loss in the region of this case study.
Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7586-7600; doi:10.3390/su6117586 - published 29 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Pressure on existing water resources in China is expected to increase with undergoing rapid demographic transformation, economic development, and global climate changes. We investigate the economy-wide impacts of projected urban population growth and economic structural change on water use and allocation in China. Using a multi-regional CGE (Computable General Equilibrium) model, TERM (The Enormous Regional Model), we explore the implications of selected future water scenarios for China’s nine watershed regions. Our results indicate that urbanization and industrial transformation in China will raise the opportunity cost of water use and increase the competition for water between non-agricultural users and irrigation water users. The growth in water demand for domestic and industrial uses reduces the amount of water allocated to agriculture, particularly lower-value and water-intensive field crops. As a response, farmers have the incentive to shift their agricultural operations from traditional field crop production to higher-value livestock or intensive crop production. In addition, our results suggest that growing water demand due to urbanization and industrial transformation will raise the shadow price of water in all nine river basins. Finally, we find that national economic growth is largely attributable to urbanization and non-agricultural productivity growth.
Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7564-7585; doi:10.3390/su6117564 - published 28 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ecosystem service values have rarely been incorporated in the process of planning ecological infrastructure for urban areas. Urban ecological infrastructure is a network system of natural lands and waters that provides ecosystem services. The purpose of this study was to design landscape corridors that maximize the value of ecosystem services in ecological infrastructure planning. We explored the optimal corridors to enhance the connectivity among landscape elements to design an ecological infrastructure for the city of Gwacheon, South Korea, as an example of a small urban area. We calculated the value of ecosystem services using standardized estimation indices based on an intensive review of the relevant literature and employed the least-cost path method to optimize the connectivity of landscape structural elements. The land use type in the city with the highest estimated value of ecosystem services was the riparian zone(i.e., 2011 US$7,312.16/ha). Given areal coverage of all land use types, the estimated value of developed area open spaces was 2011 US$899,803.25, corresponding to the highest contribution to the total value of ecosystem services. Therefore, the optimal configured dispersal corridors for wildlife were found from the riparian zones (source area) to the developed area open spaces (destination area) in the city. Several challenges remain for improving the estimation of the value of ecosystem services and incorporating these ecosystems in ecological infrastructure planning. Nonetheless, the approaches taken to estimate the value of ecosystem services and design landscape corridors in this study may be of value to future efforts in urban ecological infrastructure planning.
Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7541-7563; doi:10.3390/su6117541 - published 27 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article investigates the transition dynamics related to Jatropha developments in Mozambique. The analysis focuses on how structural conditions (infrastructure, institutions, interaction and collaboration and capabilities and resources) enable or constrain interactions between niche-level Jatropha experiments and incumbent energy, agriculture and rural development regimes in Mozambique. Investors in agro-industrial Jatropha projects focused on establishing projects in areas with relatively good infrastructure, rather than in remote rural areas. Furthermore, they predominantly focused on Jatropha production instead of investing in the entire Jatropha value chain, which turned out to be a challenge in itself, as growing a productive Jatropha crop was much more complex than initially anticipated. The development of institutions that could nurture and protect Jatropha projects from the prevailing regimes lagged behind Jatropha project establishment, leading to an insecure investment climate. Strong inter-ministerial collaboration and organized civil society interaction and representation contrasted with non-organized private sector and rather isolated smallholder Jatropha projects. The global financial crisis and limited adaptive capacity reduced the time and space for experimentation and learning to overcome disappointing crop performance. Together, this hampered Jatropha’s potential to challenge the energy, agricultural and rural development regimes. Nevertheless, the Jatropha experience did initiate the development of policy and regulation and stimulated interaction and collaboration between specific groups of stakeholders, which could provide the basis to capture future biofuel momentum in Mozambique.
Sustainability2014, 6(11), 7514-7540; doi:10.3390/su6117514 - published 24 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The extent to what bad labor conditions across the globe are associated with international trade is unknown. Here, we quantify the bad labor conditions associated with consumption in seven world regions, the “bad labor” footprint. In particular, we analyze how much occupational health damage, vulnerable employment, gender inequality, share of unskilled workers, child labor, and forced labor is associated with the production of internationally traded goods. Our results show that (i) as expected, there is a net flow of bad labor conditions from developing to developed regions; (ii) the production of exported goods in lower income regions contributes to more than half of the bad labor footprints caused by the wealthy lifestyles of affluent regions; (iii) exports from Asia constitute the largest global trade flow measured in the amount bad labor, while exports from Africa carry the largest burden of bad labor conditions per unit value traded and per unit of total labor required; and (IV) the trade of food products stands out in both volume and intensity of bad labor conditions.