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Evaluating the low-carbon development of urban China

QU, Ying, LIU, Yue
Environment, development and sustainability 2017 v.19 no.3 pp. 939-953
carbon, case studies, cities, energy, energy conservation, entropy, issues and policy, laws and regulations, models, pollution, renewable energy sources, sustainable development, transportation, urbanization, China
Facing the ever-increasing serious pollution from carbon emission and the pressing need for sustainable development, China initiated the strategy of low-carbon development in 2010. Since then, eight cities and five provinces have been selected as pilot areas to develop a low-carbon economy. Under such a circumstance, this study aimed to construct a indicator system and evaluating model so that the low-carbon development levels of the pilot cities can be quantified. Therefore, this study, based the on Driving Force–Pressure–State–Impact–Response model, established a regional low-carbon development indicator system. Second, the weight of each indicator was calculated by taking the entropy method. Third, the low-carbon development levels were measured and evaluated by taking the comprehensive approach of Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution. Then, taking 10 cities from those 13 pilot areas as case studies, this study measured and compared the low-carbon development levels of those 10 cities before and after being pilot areas. The research findings showed that though the low-carbon development levels changed greatly, only five pilot cities’ growth rate is positive. The reasons for changes in the low-carbon development levels were analyzed. The urbanization level and energy consumption elasticity coefficient were the main factors affecting the low-carbon development levels. Additionally, the study traced the effective policies hidden behind the indicators, which provided policy insights to help decision makers prepare their low-carbon development strategies, including legislation efforts, economic instrument, renewable energy and energy-saving technology improvement and low-carbon transportation.