From 2007 to 2017, Guangdong exports grew at an average rate of 9.6%, while the energy consumption and carbon emission embodied in these trades demonstrated a declining trend. Is total real pollution embodied in exports showing the same trend? If so, what accounts for these changes? Prior studies have provided three explanations, producing greater amount of goods (“the scale effect”), adopting cleaner technologies in production processes (“the technology effect”), and producing proportionally more goods that are environmental-friendly (“the structural effect”). Question then arises as which factor is the driving force of such cleanup in the export business? To answer these questions, an EIO-LMDI (Environmental Input-Output and Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index) model is built to conduct a structural decomposition analysis of pollution embodied in Guangdong exports. We calculate that the pollution embodied in Guangdong export fell by 63 to 85 percent, depending on the pollutants. We further conclude that these pollution reductions are primarily driven by the technology advancement, with some industries, including the clothing industry, communications, computers and other electronic equipment, being more sensitive to the changes in technologies than others. The structural effect is more ambiguous. It only contributes to pollution reduction when the industry itself is pollution intensive.
Typically, the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) has been used to compare different electricity generation technologies. As LCOE does not account for intermittency and reliability, the updated net benefits methodology has been used. For various electricity generation technologies, with the use of the updated net benefits methodology, the net benefits of avoided emissions benefits, avoided energy cost benefits, avoided capacity cost benefits, energy costs, capacity costs and other costs at a per MW per year basis have been calculated. The results showed that nuclear generation had the highest net benefits in all of the scenarios considered. The net benefits of solar and wind generation increase when high coal and natural gas fuel price and with technological improvement which would increase the capacity factor and decrease the capital costs. Renewable and nuclear generation sources should play a significant role in the future electricity generation mix.
Regional and spatial studies, such as urban planning, energy planning, and sustainable development, address the complexity of the inter-disciplinary relationship between subsystems and their components. Such studies require multidisciplinary concepts, varied lenses, and differentiating approaches and models to address the conflict between contextual sensitivity and universal applicability. This paper reviews the debate on the research approaches adopted in regional studies and initiated by researcher Ann Markusen, followed by a review of contemporary literature on the concept of fuzziness in the qualitative research. Markusen evaluated the conceptual fuzziness, empirical evidence, and policy dimensions of regional studies. The argument was based on three fundamental aspects of regional and urban development studies; strong contestation of phenomena, empirical evidence to support the concept, and collective action to deal with the problems under investigation. A conceptual fuzziness and the methodological weaknesses in the qualitative research, highlighted by Markusen almost two decades ago, persist in interdisciplinary qualitative research. In this study, we have dissected the concept of fuzziness to distinguish between Inherited fuzziness derived from the configurational complexity of a case and bequeathed fuzziness that could be transferred ahead due to a researcher’s methodological and perceptual weaknesses. Despite efforts made to address the relevance, reliability, validity, and replicability of the qualitative research, the field is still facing challenges from conceptual bias, methodological and operational constraints, empirical weakness, and prejudiced interpretation.
Local public services are a benchmark in the development of a sustainable society and attainment of the goals set by Agenda 2030. Therefore, it is necessary to gather information and hear directly from the citizens, who constantly deal with this realm, how their country performs in the provision of qualitative and sustainable services. In Italy, for instance, there is a low level of consideration and contentment in terms of the quality, management, and efficiency of public services. In particular, the local public transport sector stands out as the lowest rated by citizens. This manuscript has two main functions. First, it provides the results of a civic consultation conducted during 2020 in Italy by the Italian consumer organization Cittadinanzattiva APS, which informs about the perceptions and outlooks of citizens towards the reality of local public services that are a constant in their daily life. Second, it introduces a new political initiative promoted at European level in the field of sustainability and consumer protection: The Inter-Institutional Group “Sustainable Development Goals for well-being and consumers’ protection”, officially launched last February 16th, 2021. An initiative that represents the desire of the civil society to contribute to the SDGs, the “New Consumer Agenda” , and the “Green New Deal” and that aims at discussing and raising awareness on how each one of us as EU citizen can give their contribution, convinced that citizen and consumer’s empowerment should be the pillar of the transition towards a more inclusive and sustainable Europe.
The EU’s ambitious targets to increase energy efficiency and cope with the challenge of climate change have pushed several stakeholders, including public authorities and Distributed System Operators (DSOs), to actively invest in the energy transition and improve energy efficiency. Although a significant part of this investment concerns digital infrastructure (i.e., smart meters) allowing citizens to monitor and better manage their consumption of energy, it is pivotal to recognize the necessity for changes in the overall energy-related behavior of consumers. Against this background, the NUDGE project seeks to first analyze the behavior of European citizens with concern the energy consumption and to consequently design and test nudging interventions on different segments of the population, in the hope to derive recommendations tailored to each country and to design more general policies at European level. Hence, pilot projects will be carried out in households, energy communities, and schools in five different EU countries, while a general profiling survey will be disseminated online across the EU. Indeed, in order to profile users and assess the impact of an intervention, NUDGE takes a mixed approach which combines field experiments and randomized control trials with surveys, on-site observations, and reports. The latter provide additional insights to the psychological and contextual variables that result in the behaviors evidenced in the trials. Fundamental to this research is the collaboration of the consortium’s partner Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship Network with a number of civic and consumer organizations of different European countries that have shown their interest in the initiative and will collaborate in the dissemination of the online questionnaire in their country. Overall, this project is carried out with the ambition to of raising awareness of the projects’ major outcomes among the European institutions, starting from the Inter-Institutional Group “SDG’s for well-being and consumers’ protection,” which was launched at European level in February 2021 with the support of various Members of the European Parliament and the endorsement of 48 European and National Associations.