Topic Editors

School of Economics and Management, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330031, China
School of Geography and Remote Sensing, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China

Carbon Neutrality and Energy Transition in the Digital Era

Abstract submission deadline
closed (1 June 2024)
Manuscript submission deadline
9 November 2024
Viewed by
8593

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

To cope with the challenges to sustainability brought on by global warming, countries around the world are actively cooperating and developing strategies to promote energy transition and reduce carbon emissions. The Paris Agreement defines the goal of achieving global carbon neutrality by 2065–2070 and also sets a clear path for international cooperation to pursue carbon neutrality. The pursuit of carbon neutrality means a shift from an energy system dominated by fossil fuels to renewables, and a shift from a carbon-intensive model of development to a low-carbon one. In addition, digital technology is increasingly embedded in the link between energy systems and economic and social development, and digital technology can help to promote the realization of the goal of energy system transformation and low-carbon development. The transition of the energy system brings the challenge of an unstable energy supply, while the low-carbon transition has the risks inherent to all transitions. The instability of new energy systems and the uncertainty of the low-carbon transition can be greatly reduced if digital technologies are used effectively. The pursuit of carbon neutrality in the digital age presents new opportunities, but it is also faced with the challenge of a surging energy demand. Hence, more research is needed on carbon neutrality and energy transformation in the digital age. This Topic will focus on economics, management science, geographic information, and energy science or related research, and examine the progress of global carbon neutrality and energy transition in the digital age through econometric empirical analysis, regional simulation, systems science, and energy engineering. The Topic will focus on the challenges of transforming energy systems and low-carbon development in the digital age and its digital solutions, supporting technologies, and management strategies. This topic welcomes innovative research into advancing carbon-neutral processes and developing low-carbon transition in the digital age, and will consider papers using methods such as data analysis, data science, predictive models, systems optimization, etc.; all methods or application challenges are welcome.

Dr. Huwei Wen
Dr. Lei Jiang
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • digital technology
  • carbon neutrality
  • energy transition
  • renewable energy
  • system analysis
  • low-carbon development
  • transformation risk
  • digital solutions

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Economies
economies
2.1 4.0 2013 21.7 Days CHF 1800 Submit
Energies
energies
3.0 6.2 2008 17.5 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Sustainability
sustainability
3.3 6.8 2009 20 Days CHF 2400 Submit

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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22 pages, 865 KiB  
Article
The Impact and Mechanism behind the Effect of a Digital Economy on Industrial Carbon Emission Reduction
by Gang Zhou, Jiaxin Gao, Yao Xu, Yi Zhang and Hao Kong
Sustainability 2024, 16(13), 5705; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16135705 - 3 Jul 2024
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Digital technologies hold significant potential for addressing environmental issues, such as air pollution and rising global temperatures. China is focusing on accelerating the dual transformation of industrial greening and digitization to accomplish the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and sustainable economic growth. [...] Read more.
Digital technologies hold significant potential for addressing environmental issues, such as air pollution and rising global temperatures. China is focusing on accelerating the dual transformation of industrial greening and digitization to accomplish the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and sustainable economic growth. By combining a two-way fixed effect model, a mediated effect model, and a panel threshold model, this research endeavors to explore the effect that the expansion of the digital economy has on the level of carbon emission intensity that is produced by industry. The research yielded the following primary conclusions. (1) The digital economy effectively reduces the industrial carbon intensity via three distinct mechanisms: enhancements to the technological and innovative capacities of China, improvements in energy efficiency, and enhancements to the country’s overall industrial structure. (2) Regions where industrialization and digitization are highly integrated and developing, as well as the early pilot regions of the Comprehensive Big Data Pilot Zones, are particularly susceptible to this inhibitory effect. This research offers a theoretical backing for advancements in the digital economy; the achievement of energy-saving and carbon-reducing sustainable development objectives; and the establishment of green, ecologically friendly, and recycling development strategies. Full article
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23 pages, 2081 KiB  
Article
Can Low-Carbon City Pilot Policy Promote Regional Green High-Quality Development?
by Chao Zeng, Shanying Jiang and Fengxiu Zhou
Sustainability 2024, 16(13), 5520; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16135520 - 28 Jun 2024
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Studying the implementation benefits of low-carbon city pilot policies in fostering green, high-quality development is critical for China’s carbon peaking and neutrality targets. This research examines the effect of urban low-carbon governance on green, high-quality development using a multi-temporal DID model and panel [...] Read more.
Studying the implementation benefits of low-carbon city pilot policies in fostering green, high-quality development is critical for China’s carbon peaking and neutrality targets. This research examines the effect of urban low-carbon governance on green, high-quality development using a multi-temporal DID model and panel data from 281 prefecture-level cities in China from 2007 to 2020. The findings are as follows: (1) low-carbon city pilot policy can considerably enhance green high-quality development in pilot cities; (2) mechanism tests reveal that fintech and urban innovation moderate the role of power support and wisdom empowerment in the successful promotion of low-carbon cities to achieve green high-quality development in pilot areas; (3) the policy effect becomes more significant as fintech and urban innovation cross the threshold value; (4) heterogeneity analysis shows that low-carbon city pilot policy is more conducive to green high-quality development in eastern regions, financially developed cities, and non-resource-based cities. The conclusions drawn from this paper offer valuable guidance for China’s adoption of appropriate environmental policy designs aimed at attaining high-quality green development. Full article
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23 pages, 1327 KiB  
Article
Can the Synergy of Digitalization and Servitization Boost Carbon-Related Manufacturing Productivity? Evidence from China’s Provincial Panel Data
by Gang Li, Yanan Chen and Yan Cheng
Sustainability 2024, 16(7), 2655; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16072655 - 24 Mar 2024
Viewed by 626
Abstract
With the goal of carbon peaking and neutrality, carbon productivity has become a means of sustainability in manufacturing, and the impact of the synergy of digitalization and servitization (DSS) on carbon productivity (CP) deserves in-depth study. Based on data with respect to manufacturing [...] Read more.
With the goal of carbon peaking and neutrality, carbon productivity has become a means of sustainability in manufacturing, and the impact of the synergy of digitalization and servitization (DSS) on carbon productivity (CP) deserves in-depth study. Based on data with respect to manufacturing in 30 provinces in China from 2013 to 2020, a coupled coordination degree model is used to calculate the degree of manufacturing coordination. A regression effect model is used to explore the intrinsic mechanism of the impact of DSS on CP. The main results show the following: (1) The DSS in manufacturing positively contributes to enhancing CP, and there are non-linear features in both. (2) Technological innovation can contribute to the impact of DSS on CP, as does industry structure, and there is a mediating effect between the two. (3) When economic growth is used as the threshold, DSS and CP reflect a positive “U” relationship. Based on the above findings, policy recommendations are made to promote the sustainable development of manufacturing. Full article
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21 pages, 2622 KiB  
Article
Examination of Green Productivity in China’s Mining Industry: An In-Depth Exploration of the Role and Impact of Digital Economy
by Chuandi Fang, Yue Yuan, Jiahao Chen, Da Gao and Jing Peng
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010463 - 4 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1441
Abstract
Faced with the challenges of increasing demand and expanding emissions, China’s mining industry is at a crucial stage of sustainable development. In the context of the new technological revolution and industrial transformation, researching how the digital economy can promote the growth of green [...] Read more.
Faced with the challenges of increasing demand and expanding emissions, China’s mining industry is at a crucial stage of sustainable development. In the context of the new technological revolution and industrial transformation, researching how the digital economy can promote the growth of green total factor productivity (GTFP) in China’s mining industry, particularly against the backdrop of technological diversity, is vital for achieving sustainable development and carbon neutrality goals. This study utilizes the meta-frontier Malmquist–Luenberger (MML) index to analyze the dynamics of GTFP in China’s mining industry under technological heterogeneity. It thoroughly examines the direct and indirect impacts of the digital economy (DE) on GTFP and delves into the underlying mechanisms of these effects using the spatial Durbin model. The empirical results reveal a significant positive relationship between DE and GTFP, particularly pronounced in the areas of technical efficiency and technological catch-up. Notably, this study identifies the mediating role of industrial structural upgrading in linking DE and GTFP. Additionally, the observed spatial spillover effect of DE on local mining GTFP suggests that the influence of DE extends beyond the immediate regions within the mining sector. Based on these findings, the study presents policy recommendations, emphasizing the need to integrate cutting-edge digital technologies in mining to enhance environmental sustainability. Full article
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20 pages, 590 KiB  
Article
Can Digital Finance Contribute to Agricultural Carbon Reduction? Evidence from China
by Yangjie Liao and Xiaokun Zhou
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 15824; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152215824 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1038
Abstract
The existing research covers digital finance’s carbon reduction impacts in industrial and urban settings, however, leaving a gap in understanding its effects in agriculture. This study addresses this gap by examining the relationship and mechanism between digital finance and agricultural carbon reduction. Two [...] Read more.
The existing research covers digital finance’s carbon reduction impacts in industrial and urban settings, however, leaving a gap in understanding its effects in agriculture. This study addresses this gap by examining the relationship and mechanism between digital finance and agricultural carbon reduction. Two hypotheses are proposed to guide the study: (1) The development of digital finance could reduce agricultural carbon emissions; (2) The development of digital finance could significantly promote agricultural green innovation, empowering agricultural carbon emission reduction. By employing panel data spanning 31 provinces from 2011 to 2020, we empirically investigate the relationship between digital finance development and a reduction in agricultural carbon emissions. The results indicate that digital financial development significantly reduces agricultural carbon emissions. Mechanism analysis further elucidates the pivotal role of digital finance in facilitating agricultural green innovation, resulting in a decline in agricultural carbon emissions. Additionally, heterogeneity analysis reveals that the impact of digital finance on agricultural carbon emission reduction is particularly pronounced in regions with higher income levels and greater educational attainment. The study offers empirical evidence on the nexus between digital finance and agricultural carbon emissions, from a developing country perspective. It could provide innovative ideas and experiences from China for global agricultural low-carbon development practices. Full article
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20 pages, 2222 KiB  
Article
Study on Regional Differences of Carbon Emission Efficiency: Evidence from Chinese Construction Industry
by Senchang Hu, Shaoyi Li, Xiangxin Meng, Yingzheng Peng and Wenzhe Tang
Energies 2023, 16(19), 6882; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16196882 - 29 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
The escalating issue of global climate change necessitates urgent measures to reduce carbon emissions globally. Within this context, the construction industry emerges as a critical sector to address given its high energy consumption, substantial CO2 emissions, and low utilization rate. Therefore, it [...] Read more.
The escalating issue of global climate change necessitates urgent measures to reduce carbon emissions globally. Within this context, the construction industry emerges as a critical sector to address given its high energy consumption, substantial CO2 emissions, and low utilization rate. Therefore, it is pivotal to foster energy conservation and reduce emissions in this sector. To this end, this paper delineates two primary objectives: (1) identifying optimal research methodologies and index parameters for evaluating carbon emission efficiency in the construction industry, and (2) assessing the variance in carbon emission efficiency at disparate stages and regions. Leveraging the Malmquist index, we scrutinize the carbon emission data from 30 Chinese provinces spanning from 2010 to 2019. Our findings indicate a geographical dichotomy in China’s construction industry’s carbon emission efficiency—lower in the west and higher in the east. Additionally, this study delves into the distinguishing features of emission efficiency alterations across regions, the main influencing factors, and avenues for enhancement. Subsequently, it proposes policy recommendations tailored to the unique attributes of various regions and the overarching framework. Full article
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19 pages, 2233 KiB  
Article
Can Fintech Lead to the Collaborative Reduction in Pollution Discharges and Carbon Emissions?
by Huwei Wen and Yutong Liu
Sustainability 2023, 15(15), 11627; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151511627 - 27 Jul 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1283
Abstract
Pollutants and greenhouse gases are major challenges to regional and global sustainability, respectively, and regulatory policies always target one of them. Using panel data, including those of fintech, economy, society, and environment for the prefecture-level cities in China, this study aimed to investigate [...] Read more.
Pollutants and greenhouse gases are major challenges to regional and global sustainability, respectively, and regulatory policies always target one of them. Using panel data, including those of fintech, economy, society, and environment for the prefecture-level cities in China, this study aimed to investigate the role of fintech in regional pollution control and carbon emission reduction. It was found that fintech not only significantly reduces pollutant and carbon dioxide emissions, but can also significantly promote the coordination between pollution control and carbon reduction. This study also adopted a pilot policy of integrating technology and finance for a differences-in-differences regression and identified the causal effects of fintech on the collaborative reduction in pollution and carbon emissions. In addition, innovation factors play a crucial role in the collaborative implementation process of pollution control and carbon reduction driven by fintech. Specifically, fiscal technology expenditure and regional innovation have significant moderating effects on pollution control and carbon reduction, while green innovation has a significant mediating effect. Our findings contribute to optimizing financial and regulatory policies, thereby enabling fintech to leverage the momentum of regional pollution control and carbon reduction. Full article
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18 pages, 1247 KiB  
Article
Renewable Energy: A Curse or Blessing—International Evidence
by Ruoxuan Li, Huwei Wen, Xinpeng Huang and Yaobin Liu
Sustainability 2023, 15(14), 11103; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151411103 - 17 Jul 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1187
Abstract
The development of renewable energy has effectively promoted the process of reaching global carbon neutrality. However, the academic community has not reached a consensus on whether the development of renewable energy will inhibit economic growth. The crux of the debate centers around whether [...] Read more.
The development of renewable energy has effectively promoted the process of reaching global carbon neutrality. However, the academic community has not reached a consensus on whether the development of renewable energy will inhibit economic growth. The crux of the debate centers around whether renewable energy paradigms ignore differences in the structure of factor endowments across countries. The panel data of 125 countries from 1990 to 2021 were used to perform group regression for countries with different factor endowment structures. The results show that the renewable energy curse of developed countries becomes stronger and weaker with economic development; the renewable energy curse in developing countries is growing with economic growth; and the economic development of countries with poor natural resources is more vulnerable to the negative impact of renewable energy development. The group regression results of different development stages of renewable energy show that the negative impact of renewable energy development on economic development is not significant in the early stage, but that it has significant impacts in the growth and maturity stage. The mechanism test found that the development of renewable energy affected changes in trade structure and inhibited economic growth. Full article
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