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Special Issue "Sustainable Energy and Environmental Protection: The Role of Science in Society"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Paolo Davide Farah

Department of Public Administration and College of Law, West Virginia University, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy policy and law; climate change issues; sustainable development; trade and environment; trade and energy; intellectual property law

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Scientific advice is fundamental for supporting the policy and regulatory choices concerning sustainable energy and environmental protection. However, the dialogue between scientists and policy-makers is partly affected by socio-political considerations about the role of science in society. Under the research framework of the four year IRSES Program, “Evaluating Policies for Sustainable Energy Investments: Towards an Integrated Approach on the National and International Stage” (EPSEI), which is funded by the European Commission, this Special Issue comprises of selected papers concerning the functions of science in China and the Russian Federation. In addition, we encourage authors to submit both review and original research articles that include analysis on the scientific support for energy sustainability in several world areas.

Prof. Dr. Paolo Davide Farah
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • energy sustainability
  • sustainable development
  • community-based adaptation
  • energy legal framework
  • risk analysis
  • climate services
  • cultural diversity
  • consumer expectancies

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Numerical Simulation of the Period 1971–2100 over the Mediterranean Area with a Regional Model, Scenario SRES-A1B
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2192; doi:10.3390/su9122192
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 27 November 2017
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Abstract
In this work, we discuss the results of numerical simulations performed with the regional model COSMO-CLM over the Mediterranean area at a spatial resolution of 14 km, employing an optimized model configuration. An assessment of model capabilities to reproduce the main features of
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In this work, we discuss the results of numerical simulations performed with the regional model COSMO-CLM over the Mediterranean area at a spatial resolution of 14 km, employing an optimized model configuration. An assessment of model capabilities to reproduce the main features of the recent and past climate has been performed, using two different simulations: The first simulation is driven by the ERA40 Reanalysis and the second, by the CMCC-MED global model. Validation is performed through a comparison with the E-OBS dataset. Climate projections, according to the SRES A1B emission scenario, have been further analyzed in terms of change of 2-m temperature and precipitation, and have shown a significant warming expected at the end of the 21st Century, along with a general reduction in precipitation, particularly evident in spring and summer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Rough Path to the Compensation of Asbestos Damages in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1431; doi:10.3390/su9081431
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 29 July 2017 / Published: 16 August 2017
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Abstract
The article investigates the issue of asbestos damages compensation in China. Today, China is a major player in the global market of asbestos production and consumption. Therefore, a large number of Chinese workers are employed in the asbestos industries and an even larger
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The article investigates the issue of asbestos damages compensation in China. Today, China is a major player in the global market of asbestos production and consumption. Therefore, a large number of Chinese workers are employed in the asbestos industries and an even larger number of individuals are exposed to asbestos for non-occupational reasons. Although there is no official data on the numbers of asbestos-related diseases in China, it is estimated that a significant part of the population developed asbestos-related diseases and that there will be an augmentation of those diseases in the future. This article examines the Chinese legal provisions on the prevention, control, and compensation of asbestos related diseases; both in cases of environmental and occupational exposures, and analyzes if and when those provisions are applied. This research shows that although the laws and the regulations enacted by the Chinese government provide protection for those exposed to asbestos dust, and entitle them to some compensation or indemnity where those exposures caused damages, the implementation of those rules is actually very difficult, due to a variety of different reasons. Those reasons can vary from problems in the interpretation and implementation of the laws and regulations, to difficulties in the access to justice and in the adjudication by the courts, regarding occupational and environmental damages. In most of these cases, the consequences of these problems are a poor and inefficient protection of the victims of the asbestos exposures for the damages suffered. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainability and Ecological Civilization in the Age of Anthropocene: An Epistemological Analysis of the Psychosocial and “Culturalist” Interpretations of Global Environmental Risks
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1331; doi:10.3390/su9081331
Received: 20 April 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this article is to assess the validity of the culturalist explanation of unsustainability by critically examining the social–cultural interpretation of the risks on which it is epistemologically based. First, we will explore the different ways in which the notion of
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The aim of this article is to assess the validity of the culturalist explanation of unsustainability by critically examining the social–cultural interpretation of the risks on which it is epistemologically based. First, we will explore the different ways in which the notion of Anthropocene is changing our perception of risks. Second, we will analyze the limits of the social–cultural explanation of risks relative to the global (non-linear) interdependence between human activities and environmental processes that defines the Anthropocene. Third, we will introduce the Chinese concept of Ecological Civilization and analyze its cultural foundations and culturalist assumptions. Finally, we will develop the practical consequences of this critic of the social-cultural interpretation of risks and of culturalist explanations of unsustainability. Full article
Open AccessArticle Accuracy of Environmental Monitoring in China: Exploring the Influence of Institutional, Political and Ideological Factors
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 324; doi:10.3390/su9030324
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 25 November 2016 / Accepted: 5 December 2016 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
Environmental monitoring data are essential to informing decision-making processes relevant to the management of the environment. Their accuracy is therefore of extreme importance. The credibility of Chinese environmental data has been long questioned by domestic and foreign observers. This paper explores the potential
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Environmental monitoring data are essential to informing decision-making processes relevant to the management of the environment. Their accuracy is therefore of extreme importance. The credibility of Chinese environmental data has been long questioned by domestic and foreign observers. This paper explores the potential impact of institutional, political, and ideological factors on the accuracy of China’s environmental monitoring data. It contends that the bureaucratic incentive system, conflicting agency goals, particular interests, and ideological structures constitute potential sources of bias in processes of environmental monitoring in China. The current leadership has acknowledged the issue, implementing new measures to strengthen administrative coordination and reinforce the oversight of the central government over local authorities. However, the failure to address the deeper political roots of the problem and the ambivalence over the desirability of public participation to enhance transparency might jeopardize Beijing’s strive for environmental data accuracy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Inventory and Policy Reduction Potential of Greenhouse Gas and Pollutant Emissions of Road Transportation Industry in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1218; doi:10.3390/su8121218
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 5 October 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 25 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1956 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, emissions from the road transportation industry in China have been increasing rapidly. To evaluate the reduction potential of greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions of the industry in China, its emission inventory was calculated and scenario analysis was created for the
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In recent years, emissions from the road transportation industry in China have been increasing rapidly. To evaluate the reduction potential of greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions of the industry in China, its emission inventory was calculated and scenario analysis was created for the period between 2012 and 2030 in this paper. Based on the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning System (LEAP) model, the development of China’s road transportation industry in two scenarios (the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario and the comprehensive-mitigation (CM) scenario) was simulated. In the Comprehensive Mitigation scenario, there are nine various measures which include Fuel Economy Standards, Auto Emission Standards, Energy-saving Technology, Tax Policy, Eco-driving, Logistics Informatization, Vehicle Liquidation, Electric Vehicles, and Alternative Fuels. The cumulative energy and emission reductions of these specific measures were evaluated. Our results demonstrate that China’s road transportation produced 881 million metric tons of CO2 and emitted 1420 thousand tons of CO, 2150 thousand tons of NOx, 148 thousand tons of PM10, and 745 thousand tons of HC in 2012. The reduction potential is quite large, and road freight transportation is the key mitigation subsector, accounting for 85%–92% of the total emission. For energy conservation and carbon emission mitigation, logistics informatization is the most effective method, potentially reducing 1.80 billion tons of coal equivalent and 3.83 billion tons of CO2 from 2012 to 2030. In terms of air pollutant emission mitigation, the auto emission standards measure performs best with respect to NOx, PM10, and HC emission mitigation, and logistic informatization measure is the best in CO emission reduction. In order to maximize the mitigation potential of China’s road transportation industry, the government needs to implement various measures in a timely and strict fashion. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Consumer Behavior and Sustainable Development in China: The Role of Behavioral Sciences in Environmental Policymaking
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 897; doi:10.3390/su8090897
Received: 13 April 2016 / Revised: 3 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 August 2016 / Published: 6 September 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (240 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s astonishing economic development over the last decades has produced a momentous impact on the country’s environmental equilibrium. Chinese officials are now confronted with the need to tackle environmental problems without disrupting the country’s development. The Chinese government seems keen on striking a
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China’s astonishing economic development over the last decades has produced a momentous impact on the country’s environmental equilibrium. Chinese officials are now confronted with the need to tackle environmental problems without disrupting the country’s development. The Chinese government seems keen on striking a balance between these two apparently contradictory goals by promoting the concept of “ecological civilization”, a notion that emphasizes the importance of individual behavior. Over the last few years, environmental policymaking worldwide has been giving a lower profile to the role of the State and placing increasing responsibility for many environmental issues on citizens/consumers. Individuals are increasingly perceived as agents for environmental change and their behaviors are subject to tighter scrutiny. Due to the emergence of a consumer society in China, individual behaviors are increasingly a source of environmental problems and a key component of efficient and long-lasting solutions. Accordingly, Chinese policymakers should recognize the environmental significance of individual behaviors and look beyond traditional policy tools. This article argues that Behavioral Sciences can offer important lessons and help in designing new strategies that can speak directly to the Chinese people as a source of environmental harm, thus reducing their impact on the environment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Conceptual Framework for the Development of an Indicator System for the Assessment of Regional Land Subsidence Disaster Vulnerability
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 757; doi:10.3390/su8080757
Received: 21 November 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2016 / Accepted: 22 July 2016 / Published: 4 August 2016
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Abstract
This paper aims to develop a set of valid and reliable indicators to evaluate the regional land subsidence disaster vulnerability. The proposed indicator system can provide effective theoretical support for further land subsidence risk evaluation and risk management. This study transfers the qualitative
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This paper aims to develop a set of valid and reliable indicators to evaluate the regional land subsidence disaster vulnerability. The proposed indicator system can provide effective theoretical support for further land subsidence risk evaluation and risk management. This study transfers the qualitative analysis of land subsidence vulnerability to quantitative evaluation by developing a universal land subsidence vulnerability indicator system and outlining a corresponding vulnerability analysis framework. The land subsidence vulnerability analysis in Xixi-Chengnan area, Jiangsu Province, China used as the case study to prove the applicability and the simplified use of the proposed system. Based on the flexibility of the proposed universal indicator system, indicators can be added into and deleted from the system, according to the actual situation in a certain study area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Biogas Power Plants in Poland—Structure, Capacity, and Spatial Distribution
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16801-16819; doi:10.3390/su71215846
Received: 13 July 2015 / Revised: 9 December 2015 / Accepted: 15 December 2015 / Published: 21 December 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2773 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents the analysis and evaluation of biogas power plant capacity in Poland based on the generic structure and energy production. These issues are also presented from the point of view of the obtained energy and biogas energy production in Poland against
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This paper presents the analysis and evaluation of biogas power plant capacity in Poland based on the generic structure and energy production. These issues are also presented from the point of view of the obtained energy and biogas energy production in Poland against selected European Union countries. The paper also indicates a significant diversity in the spatial distribution of biogas plants in Poland. It also discusses the importance of biogas plants as one of the elements of bottom-up development of the second tier administrative units. There are 231 biogas power plants in Poland (as of 2013), which are based on biogas from landfill sites, biogas from wastewater treatment plants, and agricultural biogas. The generic structure of biogas power plants in Poland is dominated by power plants based on biogas from landfill. Despite the fact that Poland has large resources of agricultural substrate, there are very few biogas power plants based on agricultural biogas. There are no biogas power plants in almost 60% of poviats in Poland, despite the fact that every poviat in Poland has enough of this substrate at its disposal. This article contributes innovative elements to existing knowledge on biogas power plants in Poland, thanks to its comprehensive treatment of the problem of biogas power plants in Poland and because it urges local authorities and local communities to behave more ecologically, as well as promoting endogenous factors of the economic development of a given region. Full article
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