Eco-efficiency trends in China, 1978-2010: Decoupling environmental pressure from economic growth

Yu, Y., Chen, D., Zhu, B. ORCID:, & Hu, S. (2013). Eco-efficiency trends in China, 1978-2010: Decoupling environmental pressure from economic growth. Ecological Indicators 24 177-184. 10.1016/j.ecolind.2012.06.007.

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This paper reports China's eco-efficiency trends and the cause of their dynamic behavior during the period 1978-2010. We show three main results. First, in general, eco-efficiency indicators increased for resource utilization, energy consumption and emissions for air and water, and relative decoupling occurred in China at a high level in the global context. Second, decoupling from economic growth has been absolute for the discharge of soot, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and ammonia nitrogen. Third, during the years 2001-2010, the decoupling level was very low, and resource utilization was almost coupled with GDP due to the high consumption and dramatic increase of mineral extraction.

The causes of the observed dynamics of eco-efficiency and decoupling were also explored, with the conclusion drawn that the effect of technology was the predominant positive factor while structure effects were the negative factors for resource and energy efficiency; the technological effect of pipe-end treatment played a dominant role in the improving eco-efficiency of pollutant emissions and decoupling from economic growth. Furthermore, implications for further policymaking to setting proper targets for the relative decoupling of resource use, especially for mineral resource use and economic growth, are suggested.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Eco-efficiency; Decoupling; China; Domestic extraction used (DEU); Total energy consumption (TEC)
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Bibliographic Reference: Ecological Indicators; 24:177-184 (January 2013)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:49
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:23

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