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Industrial SO2 emissions treatment in China: A temporal-spatial whole process decomposition analysis

Hang, Ye, Wang, Qunwei, Wang, Yizhong, Su, Bin, Zhou, Dequn
Journal of environmental management 2019 v.243 pp. 419-434
emissions, empirical research, energy, issues and policy, process control, sulfur dioxide, China
Effectively treating industrial SO2 emissions depends on the synergy of different factors from the industrial SO2 generation source to the end of treatment. Applying a whole process treatment perspective, this paper decomposes industrial SO2 emissions into six specific driving factors in three whole process treatment dimensions (i.e. source prevention, process control, and end-of-pipe treatment), and economic scale. A temporal index decomposition analysis (Temporal-IDA), attribution analysis (AA), and spatial index decomposition analysis (Spatial-IDA) methods are then applied to quantify each dimension's treatment effect and its spatial differences. The empirical study across 30 regions in China using data from 2005 to 2015 shows that: (1) The end-of-pipe treatment is the dominant dimension for decreasing industrial SO2 emissions, followed by process control. The contribution of source prevention to reduce industrial SO2 emissions has begun to appear, however, there remains room for further improvement; (2) End-of-pipe treatment strength and energy intensity are key factors in reducing industrial SO2 emissions; Inner Mongolia, Henan, and Shandong are the main contributors; (3) The treatment emphasis are different among regions; as such, there are different treatment effects across the three dimensions of the whole process treatment. Regions can be classified into four categories: the Leading type, Process-dependent type, End-dependent type, and Lagging type. Based on the empirical results, this paper identifies the policy implications of promoting whole process treatment on China's industrial SO2 emissions.