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The heterogeneity of China's pathways to economic growth, energy conservation and climate mitigation

Feng, Chao, Wang, Miao
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.228 pp. 594-605
climate, economic development, emissions, energy conservation, energy efficiency, issues and policy, technology, China
For many years, China has invested effort into achieving resource conservation and environmentally friendly economic development. The measures implemented include promoting technological innovation, market-oriented reform and industrial structure adjustment. But there are open questions: What have the effects of these measures been? Have they helped China achieve win-win development in terms of its resources, environment, and economy? This paper aims to answer these questions by using a newly proposed global three-hierarchy meta-frontier Luenberger index that can quantify the effects of promoting technological innovation, industrial restructuring, etc., on economic growth, energy conservation and emissions reduction. The results show that (1) during 2001–2016, China's energy efficiency, economic efficiency, and emissions efficiency improved, indicating that China's efforts have brought about the win-win development of resources, the environment, and the economy; (2) the implemented measures have heterogeneous effects on economic growth, energy conservation, and emissions reduction. The implemented measures are generally beneficial to energy conservation and emissions reduction but potentially harmful to the economy; (3) the effects of these measures on economic growth, energy conservation and emissions reduction across China's regions and provinces are also quite different, indicating that local provincial governments should have a clear understanding of their own characteristics before implementing the relevant policies and measures.