Open AccessArticle
Eco-Efficiency Analysis of Industrial Systems in the Songhua River Basin: A Decomposition Model Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1271; doi:10.3390/su8121271 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Eco-efficiency is an important sustainable development and circular economy construct that conceptualizes the relationship between industrial output, resource utilization, and environmental impacts. This paper conducts an eco-efficiency analysis for basin industrial systems using the decomposition model approach. Using data on 10 cities in
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Eco-efficiency is an important sustainable development and circular economy construct that conceptualizes the relationship between industrial output, resource utilization, and environmental impacts. This paper conducts an eco-efficiency analysis for basin industrial systems using the decomposition model approach. Using data on 10 cities in China’s Songhua River basin, we illustrate the evolutionary characteristics and influencing factors of industrial systems’ eco-efficiency. The results indicate that cities in upstream and midstream areas focus on improving resource efficiency, whereas cities in downstream areas focus on improving terminal control efficiency. The results also show that the government plays an increasingly important role in promoting eco-efficiency and that significant differences in the influencing factors exist among the upstream area, midstream area, and downstream area. Our results offer deeper insights into the eco-efficiency of industrial systems and give further hints on how policy-making can help achieve sustainable development, balancing between economic activities and environmental protection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Marine Ecological Environment Management Based on Ecological Compensation Mechanisms
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1267; doi:10.3390/su8121267 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The level of marine environmental management is a key factor in the successful implementation of marine power strategies. The improvement in management levels of marine environments requires innovation in marine management. In other words, the transformation of marine environmental management into marine ecological
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The level of marine environmental management is a key factor in the successful implementation of marine power strategies. The improvement in management levels of marine environments requires innovation in marine management. In other words, the transformation of marine environmental management into marine ecological environment management must be done in order to achieve sustainable development of the marine economy. As an environmental economic policy that combines both administrative and market measures, ecological compensation mechanisms have significant advantages in marine ecological environment management. Based on the study of the current development of ecological compensation mechanisms in China, through the analysis of the connotation of marine ecological civilization, existing marine ecological protection practices and marine environmental management methods, this paper posits that the current marine ecological environment management in China should be established on the basis of ecological compensation mechanisms. At present, a lack of laws and regulations for overall marine ecological environment management is the key factor restricting the practice of marine ecological environment management. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the current path of marine ecological environment management in China from the perspective of the construction of legal system of ecological compensation law, the establishment of ecological compensation fees, ecological taxes and ecological compensation fund systems, and the clear status for a marine ecological management and supervision body. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Sustainability of Nature Reserves Using an Ecological Footprint Method: A Case Study in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1272; doi:10.3390/su8121272 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Nature reserves are established to protect ecosystems and rare flora and fauna. However, with the rapid development of the social economy, many nature reserves are facing enormous pressures from human activities. The assessment of the sustainability of nature reserves is a fundamental task
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Nature reserves are established to protect ecosystems and rare flora and fauna. However, with the rapid development of the social economy, many nature reserves are facing enormous pressures from human activities. The assessment of the sustainability of nature reserves is a fundamental task for the planning and management of such areas. In this study, the sustainability of China’s 319 national nature reserves (NRRs) was evaluated based on an ecological footprint (EF) method. The results indicated that the per capita ecological footprints of all national nature reserves increased 85.86% from 2000 to 2010. Meanwhile, the per capita biocapacity (BC) of all national nature reserves increased slightly, with a rate of increase of 1.79%. The ‘traffic light’ method was adopted to identify the sustainability status of those national nature reserves. It was found that currently (2010) 45% of NRRs were in the condition of ecological deficit. In terms of dynamic changes in EF and BC, only 16% of NRRs were sustainable. The 124 national nature reserves that were in the red light state were mainly distributed in Anhui Province, Chongqing City, Hunan, Guizhou, Fujian, Shandong Province, and Inner Mongolia. The percentage of nature reserves at the red light state in these areas were 83.3%, 66.7%, 64.7%, 62.5%, 58.3%, 57.1%, and 56.5%, respectively. The reserves in the red light state should be included in the priority concern level and should be strictly controlled in terms of population growth and the intensity of exploitation. The results of this study will provide more effective data for reference and for decision making support in nature reserve protection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study of Perceptions on Cultural Events’ Sustainability
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1269; doi:10.3390/su8121269 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Cultural events and festivals can have a significant and important influence on the development of local communities. Their utilization of the endogenous resources of an area means that these events, most often, have a positive impact on the local economy. Quite consequentially, they
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Cultural events and festivals can have a significant and important influence on the development of local communities. Their utilization of the endogenous resources of an area means that these events, most often, have a positive impact on the local economy. Quite consequentially, they may also extend the socio-cultural opportunities of local citizens. However, their utilization of time and space does raise concerns regarding environmental impact. Therefore, it is imperative that stakeholders study their net impact on a region. This present paper examines the economic, socio-cultural, and environmental impact of the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF). With a history of 15 editions, the festival gathers, year by year, an increasing number of people in Cluj-Napoca. The growth of the event has had unmistakable and important effects on the city. The purpose of the paper is to analyze resident participants’ perceptions on economic, socio-cultural, and environmental effects. To reach this goal, an exploratory and descriptive research was conducted. Both primary and secondary data were used in the analysis, the questionnaire being the main tool used for collecting data about participants’ perceptions. The results emphasize the positive effects at the socio-cultural level. The festival provides multiple possibilities to spend free time in a pleasant way, it sustains the development of cultural life, and it improves the educational and the cultural level of community. Moreover, the festival does not influence, in a negative manner, the moral principles of the society and it does not generate an increase in crime rate. From the economic point of view, the festival has the capacity to attract investments and additional revenues for the local government, it sustains the development of the city infrastructure, and it creates opportunities for residents to develop new economic activities. Lastly, from the environmental point of view, the festival sustains the improvement of environmental issues, it does not generate important traffic problems, and it does not deteriorate touristic resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Community-Oriented Approaches in Demand Side Management Projects in Europe
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1266; doi:10.3390/su8121266 -
Abstract
This paper seeks to investigate if the theoretical and political trends towards a more collective dimension of energy use are reflected in the design and development of demand side management (DSM) pilot projects in Europe. Specifically, the paper analyses DSM projects in the
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This paper seeks to investigate if the theoretical and political trends towards a more collective dimension of energy use are reflected in the design and development of demand side management (DSM) pilot projects in Europe. Specifically, the paper analyses DSM projects in the database of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission to capture signs of a new attention towards the wider context in which consumers live and towards the social dimension associated with energy consumption. To this end, the paper investigates the projects’ scope (in terms of project’s partners, end-use sectors and targeted services) as well as the consumer engagement strategies that projects use. These elements reflect the projects’ consideration for the socio-economic dimension of the community where the pilots take place and their inclination to build on community dynamics. The analysis shows that DSM projects in the EU are increasingly being designed and developed with a collegial approach to energy consumption in mind, although an integrated approach is still missing. In addition, research is still needed to link the use of this innovative approach to project results. A closer look at the developments and results of these projects can help to identify what works and what doesn’t in real life experiences, thus supporting effective policy making at the EU and national level. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Robust Sliding Mode Control of Permanent Magnet Synchronous Generator-Based Wind Energy Conversion Systems
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1265; doi:10.3390/su8121265 -
Abstract
The subject of this paper pertains to sliding mode control and its application in nonlinear electrical power systems as seen in wind energy conversion systems. Due to the robustness in dealing with unmodeled system dynamics, sliding mode control has been widely used in
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The subject of this paper pertains to sliding mode control and its application in nonlinear electrical power systems as seen in wind energy conversion systems. Due to the robustness in dealing with unmodeled system dynamics, sliding mode control has been widely used in electrical power system applications. This paper presents first and high order sliding mode control schemes for permanent magnet synchronous generator-based wind energy conversion systems. The application of these methods for control using dynamic models of the d-axis and q-axis currents, as well as those of the high speed shaft rotational speed show a high level of efficiency in power extraction from a varying wind resource. Computer simulation results have shown the efficacy of the proposed sliding mode control approaches. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Empirical Relationships among Technological Characteristics, Global Orientation, and Internationalisation of South Korean New Ventures
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1254; doi:10.3390/su8121254 -
Abstract
International new ventures (INVs) that pursue rapid internationalisation have received a growing amount of attention worldwide. This study, therefore, examined characteristics of INVs, and hence investigated empirically the relationships among the technological characteristics of INVs, the characteristics of their chief executive officers (CEOs)
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International new ventures (INVs) that pursue rapid internationalisation have received a growing amount of attention worldwide. This study, therefore, examined characteristics of INVs, and hence investigated empirically the relationships among the technological characteristics of INVs, the characteristics of their chief executive officers (CEOs) (i.e., global orientation), and their internationalisation such as the level of internationalisation. The findings of this study can be summarised as follows: all of the technological characteristics (e.g., technological capacity, imitation, innovation, and standardisation) have significant effects on the internationalisation of INVs. Furthermore, the CEO’s global orientation mediated the relationship between the technological characteristics and internationalisation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Political Economy of the Water Footprint: A Cross-National Analysis of Ecologically Unequal Exchange
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1263; doi:10.3390/su8121263 -
Abstract
Water scarcity is an important social and ecological issue that is becoming increasingly problematic with the onset of climate change. This study explores the extent to which water resources in developing countries are affected by the vertical flow of exports to high-income countries.
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Water scarcity is an important social and ecological issue that is becoming increasingly problematic with the onset of climate change. This study explores the extent to which water resources in developing countries are affected by the vertical flow of exports to high-income countries. In examining this question, the authors engage the sociological theory of ecologically unequal exchange, which argues that high-income countries are able to partially externalize the environmental costs of their consumption to lower-income countries. The authors use a relatively new and underutilized measure of water usage, the water footprint, which quantifies the amount of water used in the entire production process. Ordinary least squares (OLS) and robust regression techniques are employed in the cross-national analysis of 138 countries. The results provide partial support of the propositions of ecologically unequal exchange theory. In particular, the results highlight the importance of structural position in the global economy for understanding the effects of trade on water resources. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of a Regional Retrofit Programme to Upgrade Existing Housing Stock to Reduce Carbon Emissions, Fuel Poverty and Support the Local Supply Chain
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1261; doi:10.3390/su8121261 -
Abstract
The first-ever legally binding global climate deal that will be adopted by 195 countries was introduced in Paris in 2015, highlighting that climate change is being recognised as a real and urgent global problem. Legislative interventions need to be accompanied by significant action
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The first-ever legally binding global climate deal that will be adopted by 195 countries was introduced in Paris in 2015, highlighting that climate change is being recognised as a real and urgent global problem. Legislative interventions need to be accompanied by significant action across all sectors of the built environment through reducing energy demand, providing energy supply from low carbon sources and combining with this with energy storage to enable necessary targets to be met. Retrofitting existing buildings is critical to making these cuts as 80% of buildings currently in existence will still be present in 2050. These retrofits need to be undertaken rapidly using replicable and affordable solutions that benefit both the householder whilst significantly reducing emissions. This paper will present an evaluation of a £9.6 million regional scale retrofit programme funded under the Welsh Governments Arbed 1 Programme which aimed to reduce fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions and support the energy efficiency and renewable supply chain and encourage recruitment and training in the sector. Results have been obtained from desk top data collection and energy modelling calculations. The evaluation work presents the technical, environmental and economic impacts of the programme and demonstrates lessons learnt to help improve the implementation of the other regional retrofit projects providing evidence of the impacts of a large scale retrofit programme that are necessary for the deep carbon reductions required in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Simplified Heat and Mass Transfer Model for Cross-Flow and Countercurrent Flow Packed Bed Tower Dehumidifiers with a Liquid Desiccant System
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1264; doi:10.3390/su8121264 -
Abstract
A mathematical model is developed using the Matlab/Simulink platform to investigate heat and mass transfer performance of cross-flow and counterflow dehumidifiers with Lithium Chloride (LiCl) solution. In the liquid desiccant dehumidifier, the orthogonal polynomial basis is used to simulate the combined processes of
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A mathematical model is developed using the Matlab/Simulink platform to investigate heat and mass transfer performance of cross-flow and counterflow dehumidifiers with Lithium Chloride (LiCl) solution. In the liquid desiccant dehumidifier, the orthogonal polynomial basis is used to simulate the combined processes of heat and mass transfer. The temperature profiles on cross-flow and countercurrent flow dehumidifiers are demonstrated. The resultant counter flow air changes the temperature profile of the LiCl solution in the longitudinal direction because of the drag forces. In addition, when inlet airflow rate reaches 15 kg·s−1, the temperature effect becomes less obvious and may be reasonably negligible. Under these conditions, the air changes the design factor and determines the interfacial temperature. It is demonstrated that the mathematical model can be of great value in the design and improvement of cross-flow and countercurrent flow dehumidifiers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Shedding Light on Eco-Innovation in Tourism: A Critical Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1262; doi:10.3390/su8121262 -
Abstract
The recent global increase in the competitiveness of tourism has made the implementation of eco-innovations a differentiating element among both the destinations and companies in the sector, with quality management and contribution to sustainable development being increasingly valued. However, the eco-innovations that have
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The recent global increase in the competitiveness of tourism has made the implementation of eco-innovations a differentiating element among both the destinations and companies in the sector, with quality management and contribution to sustainable development being increasingly valued. However, the eco-innovations that have been developed and implemented in tourist industries have rarely been studied. In this study, the eco-innovations that have been developed and implemented by 57 tourism businesses worldwide are analysed. The identified eco-innovations are classified by using different qualitative methodologies. The obtained results shed light on the limited development of eco-innovations in the tourism industry and the industry focuses mainly on product eco-innovations. Several examples by the tourist sub-industry and types of eco-innovation are analysed. Furthermore, this study provides practical information about measures that both businesses and governmental organisations can adopt to promote eco-innovation in the sector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Use of CFD in the Analysis of Wave Loadings Acting on Seawave Slot-Cone Generators
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1255; doi:10.3390/su8121255 -
Abstract
The reliability of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in reproducing qualitative and quantitative features of loadings exerted by waves on Seawave Slot-cone Generators (SSG) has been investigated via 17 numerical experiments, conducted with the suite Flow 3D. The geometry of the Wave Energy Converter
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The reliability of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in reproducing qualitative and quantitative features of loadings exerted by waves on Seawave Slot-cone Generators (SSG) has been investigated via 17 numerical experiments, conducted with the suite Flow 3D. The geometry of the Wave Energy Converter (WEC), as well as the characteristics of the foreshore in front of it, were identical to those used by the authors in a laboratory study, carried out on a small scale model of a pilot plant to be located along the West Norwegian coasts; the similitude of the layouts allowed an in depth comparison between the results. A good agreement has been generally found between physical and numerical experiments, apart from some aspects of the wave–structure interaction that, however, can be considered secondary for engineering purposes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Colloidal Mobilization and Fate of Trace Heavy Metals in Semi-Saturated Artificial Soil (OECD) Irrigated with Treated Wastewater
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1257; doi:10.3390/su8121257 -
Abstract
The mobility of selected heavy metals in trace concentrations was investigated in a standard OECD soil irrigated with the effluent of a real municipal wastewater treatment plant. While Cd, Cu and Ni accumulation-migration patterns were mainly influenced by the mobility of colloids generated
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The mobility of selected heavy metals in trace concentrations was investigated in a standard OECD soil irrigated with the effluent of a real municipal wastewater treatment plant. While Cd, Cu and Ni accumulation-migration patterns were mainly influenced by the mobility of colloids generated from soil organic and inorganic matter, Zn mobility was more influenced by the wastewater content of dissolved organic matter and by its salinity. Metal accumulation caused by interaction with colloids resulted in contamination peaks both in different zones of the soil column and in the leaching solution. The release of metals in the leachate was correlated to the contemporary release of silicates from kaolinite and dissolved organic matter, identified through UV absorbance and chemical oxygen demand monitoring. The hypothesized colloidal mobilization was confirmed by spectroscopic studies. The highly heterogeneous complexes of organic and inorganic molecules responsible for metal transport through soil appeared to be structured in highly stable micellar aggregates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ammonium Concentration and Migration in Groundwater in the Vicinity of Waste Management Site Located in the Neighborhood of Protected Areas of Warsaw, Poland
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1253; doi:10.3390/su8121253 -
Abstract
The purpose of the present paper is to assess groundwater contamination by ammonium originating from the waste management site (including composting plant and the landfill) located in the vicinity of protected areas. In this paper, the impact of urban and industrial facilities adjacent
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The purpose of the present paper is to assess groundwater contamination by ammonium originating from the waste management site (including composting plant and the landfill) located in the vicinity of protected areas. In this paper, the impact of urban and industrial facilities adjacent to the landfill is also investigated. The analysis of ammonium concentration was carried out for selected piezometers and then the monitoring and laboratory tests results were referred to the Polish standards of groundwater quality. The content of the paper discusses the changes of ammonium concentration in time and space and presents potential reasons for these changes, especially resulting from the construction of the vertical bentonite barrier. The results show the significant decrease of ammonium concentration and progressive improvement of water quality observed in almost every piezometer after a few years since the vertical barrier has been installed. Furthermore, the paper provides statistical analyses of groundwater monitoring data from the period 1998–2015 in order to control the groundwater quality and assess the movement of contamination plume in the landfill area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analyzing Environmental Continuous Improvement for Sustainable Supply Chain Management: Focusing on Its Performance and Information Disclosure
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1256; doi:10.3390/su8121256 -
Abstract
This study analyzes the relationship between the implementation and information disclosure of environmental continuous improvement (e-CI) in sustainable supply chain management. The analyzed data relates to e-CI delivered from 19 manufacturing industry types in Japan. A degenerated Charnes-Cooper-Rhodes model, a proposed model for
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This study analyzes the relationship between the implementation and information disclosure of environmental continuous improvement (e-CI) in sustainable supply chain management. The analyzed data relates to e-CI delivered from 19 manufacturing industry types in Japan. A degenerated Charnes-Cooper-Rhodes model, a proposed model for data envelopment analysis, is also used for the analysis. The obtained result is a classification of types of manufacturing industries from the perspective of their capabilities in both e-CI implementation and information disclosure to systematically discover emphatic indicators of these two activities in each manufacturing industry type. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Socio-Ecological Adaptation of Agricultural Heritage Systems in Modern China: Three Cases in Qingtian County, Zhejiang Province
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1260; doi:10.3390/su8121260 -
Abstract
This paper, on rural restructuring in China, focuses on the ability of agricultural heritage systems to adapt to modernizing conditions in the rural economy. Since 2002, when FAO initiated the protection of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), the value of agricultural heritage
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This paper, on rural restructuring in China, focuses on the ability of agricultural heritage systems to adapt to modernizing conditions in the rural economy. Since 2002, when FAO initiated the protection of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), the value of agricultural heritage has been widely acknowledged, as has the importance and urgency to protect the systems in which they are embedded. However, such complex systems have not been fully assessed for their contribution to food security, ecosystem services and cultural preservation, as well as their ability to adapt to the demands of modernization. In fact, they have not been effectively evaluated as whole systems, largely because we have not yet devised satisfactory ways of studying complex systems, nor have we been able to assess them fully for their multi-faceted contributions to sustainability. This paper accepts the premise that such systems are sustainable in that they have survived as agro-ecosystems for many hundreds of years, having endured the predations of droughts, famines, plagues, floods and wars. This ability to sustain a rich diversity of biological and human systems is considered, in the theory of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), to be a form of resilience, meaning that these systems have either formed a new normal or returned to the old normal after a period of environmental or social stress. In effect, ancient agricultural heritage systems can be seen to represent what has been traditional and normal in China, but which today are faced with the overwhelming forces of modernization. Taking three examples from Qingtian County in Southern China, where physical and political conditions are consistent, the paper shows how similar rice-fish systems adapt differently and sustain themselves in the face of modernization, and particularly to the loss of youth and labor to urbanisation. One system self-adjusts by using remittances from abroad to sustain the system: an example of self-organization. In another township, the pursuit of tourism is the main form of adaptation to large losses of working population and marginal incomes. To maintain the landscape as a key attraction for tourists, this community has re-assembled abandoned rice terraces and is farming them as a collective enterprise under the auspices of a co-operative: an example of land and labor restructuring that has become common as the dominant form of agrarian change in China. In a third example, the local rice-fish system is being strengthened by modern farming technology and scientific techniques: an example of technological adaptation. The discussion explores the three responses as evidence of sustainable practice involving local restructuring, continued ingenuity, and the creative support of local governments in the face of the homogenizing demands of modernization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Stackelberg Game Approach in an Integrated Inventory Model with Carbon-Emission and Setup Cost Reduction
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1244; doi:10.3390/su8121244 -
Abstract
This paper formulates an integrated inventory model that allows Stackelberg game policy for optimizing joint total cost of a vendor and buyer system. After receiving the lot, the buyer commences an inspection process to determine the defective items. All defective items the buyer
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This paper formulates an integrated inventory model that allows Stackelberg game policy for optimizing joint total cost of a vendor and buyer system. After receiving the lot, the buyer commences an inspection process to determine the defective items. All defective items the buyer sends to vendor during the receiving of the next lot. Due to increasing number of shipments fixed and variable transportation, as well as carbon emissions, are considered, which makes the model sustainable integrated model forever. To reduce the setup cost for the vendor, a discrete setup reduction is considered for maximization more profit. The players of the integrated model are with unequal power (as leader and follower) and the Stackelberg game strategy is utilized to solve this model for obtaining global optimum solution over the finite planning horizon. An illustrative numerical example is given to understand this model clearly. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Analysis and Process Modeling of Carbon Dioxide Removal Using Tuff
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1258; doi:10.3390/su8121258 -
Abstract
Removal of carbon dioxide via selective adsorption is a key process to obtain consumer-grade natural gas from biogas and, more generally, CO2 capture and sequestration from gaseous mixtures. The aim of this work is the characterization and classification of a natural alternative
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Removal of carbon dioxide via selective adsorption is a key process to obtain consumer-grade natural gas from biogas and, more generally, CO2 capture and sequestration from gaseous mixtures. The aim of this work is the characterization and classification of a natural alternative to synthetic zeolites that could be used as a carbon dioxide adsorbent. Tuff particulate, easily available as a byproduct of the construction industry, was tested with different laboratory procedures to verify its suitability for CO2 removal applications. Relevant physical and adsorption properties were measured during an intensive experimental campaign. Porosity, pore size distribution, and specific surface area were obtained with mercury intrusion porosimetry. Adsorption isotherms and saturation curves were obtained using two custom experimental apparatuses. The selective adsorption was finally modeled using an original phenomenological parameterization, and a simplified simulation of the process was performed using a computational fluid dynamic approach, validated against observed data. Results show that natural zeolites represent a very promising and sustainable alternative to synthetic zeolites in pressure swing adsorption processes for CO2 removal. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Initial Evaluation of Provincial-Level Environmental Risks from the Perspective of Human Settlements
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1259; doi:10.3390/su8121259 -
Abstract
This study introduces risk theory of environmental science into human settlement science using 2004–2013 statistics, remote sensing data, and thematic maps. The entropy weight method and risk-index model are both used to study the characteristics of the time course and spatial pattern of
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This study introduces risk theory of environmental science into human settlement science using 2004–2013 statistics, remote sensing data, and thematic maps. The entropy weight method and risk-index model are both used to study the characteristics of the time course and spatial pattern of human settlement risk in 31 provincial regions in China. In addition, influential mechanisms of vulnerability, functionality, stress, and adaptability on environmental risks are analyzed. Three primary results are obtained. First, for temporal characteristics, environmental risks of human settlements increased significantly from 2003 to 2012. The year 2006 marked both a sudden change and the cut-off point after which human settlements in China experienced qualitative changes and new risks. Second, for spatial characteristics, the risk index of human settlements decreased gradually from the southwestern to the northeastern, northwestern, and northern parts of China. The risk index of human settlement spaces differed significantly, with obvious block aggregation of spatial-distribution characteristics. Third, for relevant factor characteristics, between 2003 and 2012, the temporal change in vulnerability is relatively stable, with a slight increase in functionality and a slight decrease in adaptability. Spatially, Qinghai, Tibet, southwestern China, Guangdong, Guangxi, Beijing, and Tianjin had relatively high vulnerability in human settlements; Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang had the best functionality; Hunan and Sichuan had relatively high stress; and Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang had relatively stronger adaptability. Further consideration and discussion are required on the environmental risks for different social groups and at different geographical scales, as well as on the uncertainty and long-term features of environmental risks in addition to environmental justice issues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Does the Central Government’s Environmental Policy Work? Evidence from the Provincial-Level Environment Efficiency in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1241; doi:10.3390/su8121241 -
Abstract
This paper aims at checking the effectiveness of environmental policy pushed by the Central Government at provincial level since China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). For this purpose, the industrial system of each province is divided into industrial production sub-system and
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This paper aims at checking the effectiveness of environmental policy pushed by the Central Government at provincial level since China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). For this purpose, the industrial system of each province is divided into industrial production sub-system and pollution treatment sub-system, and a novel slack-based measure data envelopment analysis (SBM-DEA) model with non-cooperative game is proposed to evaluate the environment efficiency of both industrial production sub-system and pollutant treatment sub-system. The results show that the proposed model can describe the environmental efficiency more precisely than the traditional DEA models. During 2003–2012, the efficiencies of industrial production sub-system and pollution treatment sub-system at the provincial level are both relatively low. Specifically, the efficiency of industrial production is not only lower than pollution treatment efficiency, but is falling generally, especially in the Eastern area. However, in the Central and Western area, the efficiency of industrial production remains relatively stable, and pollution treatment efficiency is rising steadily. The technology gap between the Central/Western area and the Eastern area is narrowing, particularly concerning pollution treatment technology. We thus conclude that though the Central Government’s environmental policies fail to solve the inner contradiction between economic and environmental systems, and they indirectly contribute to the expansion of pollutant treatment technology among the Eastern, Central, and Western areas, which is conducive to the coordinated development among different areas. Full article
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