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[en] Highlights: • The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) has been estimated at the national and the provincial level in China. • There exists aggregation bias in estimating the national level EKC for sulfur dioxide emission. • The local government should play more important role in environmental policy-making. - Abstract: Aggregation bias may lead to a wrongly estimated Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC), and misguide the policy-makers. This paper aims to test the existence of aggregation bias in the Environmental Kuznets Curve with the sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission. The empirical methods robust to cross-sectional dependence and slope heterogeneity reveals that the estimation of SO2 EKC in China suffers from aggregation bias. The results with the disaggregate data cannot support the EKC estimated at the aggregate level. The finding of aggregation bias has several policy implications. First, the government should not be misled by the false relationship between the pollutant emission and the real GDP per capita at the aggregate level. Second, the local governments should play more important roles in making environmental protection policies since the more disaggregate data can mitigate the aggregation bias. To provide enough incentives to the local government, the Chinese national government should align the interests of the local governments with those of the national government. On the other hand, the findings indicate that China can stick to the policy of encouraging foreign direct investment, openness and financial development since they have not influenced the SO2 emission in China.
[en] Highlights: • The impact of public opinion on haze pollution in China is investigated. • A dataset consisting of 109 prefecture-level Chinese cities is employed. • Public opinion has a positive effect on the environment only in the short run. • There is a time lag between the surge in public opinion and improved air quality. - Abstract: In recent years, serious smog and haze have shrouded vast areas of northern and eastern China, which has drawn broad attention at home and abroad. Although China is an authoritarian country with strict media control, public opinion may still affect air quality by putting pressure on the local and central governments to enhance environmental protections. In this paper, the impact of public opinion on air quality in China is for the first time quantitatively examined. Specifically, the monthly average levels of the Air Quality Index (AQI) and the concentrations of several main air pollutants, such as PM2.5, PM10 and SO2, are utilized as indicators for air quality. Using a dataset consisting of 109 prefecture-level Chinese cities for the period between November 2013 and October 2016, the estimation results indicate that air pollution significantly affects public opinion on air quality, and the surge in public opinion on air pollution occurs more frequently in the winter. Public opinion seems to have a positive effect on the environment only in the short run: air quality tends to improve two months after the surge in negative public opinion. In general, public opinion about air pollution helps to improve air quality in China.
[en] Focusing on the mechanism of foreign direct investment on environment, we attempt to build a series of hierarchical linear models to explore the impact of foreign direct investment on China’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by using the panel data of industrial sector in Chinese provinces from 2002 to 2013. The findings show that: Firstly, the industrial SO2 emission shows a slow downward trend. Secondly, 27.96% of the variations of SO2 emission intensity come from the differences between the provinces. Thirdly, foreign direct investment can explain 50.50% of the different changes in provincial SO2 emission intensity due to economic scale effect, structural effect, technological effect, and environmental regulation effect. Among them, the scale effect and technical effect are negatively correlated with SO2 emissions intensity, while structural and environmental regulation effects positively. Moreover, foreign direct investment can significantly inhibit the positive correlation of structural effect and weaken the negative correlation of technology effect on SO2 emission intensity, but do not have a significant impact on SO2 emission intensity by economic scale effect and environmental regulation effect.
[en] At many volcano observatories, measurements of the plume height are frequently applied. On the other hand, the recent development of the satellite measurements enables the monitoring of the SO2 mass emitted by the passive degassing at sufficient temporal resolution. Using these two techniques, this study focuses on the degassing activity before the 8 October 2016 phreatomagmatic eruption of Aso volcano, Japan. Here we show the temporal variations of the plume height, the SO2 mass, and ground-based SO2 flux during 6 months before the eruption. Our result shows similar temporal changes of them, especially for the maxima and the increase, respectively, in about 2 months and 6 days before the eruption. This result indicates that the degassing system had been stable during the whole study period, but the accumulation of volcanic gas in the conduit since August might trigger the phreatomagmatic eruption. These techniques can be sufficient to monitor the degassing activity and to detect its precursory change. .
[en] In alkaline soils, most of the plant nutrients are either lost or become unavailable. Current study investigated the role of bacterial isolates for enhancing nutrients bioavailability in soil along with improvement in the plant growth characters under greenhouse conditions. Bacterial strains were characterized on the basis of morphological and biochemical features. Sequence analysis of 16S rRNA regions confirmed the bacterial identity as Thiobacillus thiooxidans, Thiobacillus ferrooxidans and Desulfovibrio vulgaris, and sequences were submitted to GenBank (Accessions: MK123808, MK123809, MK123680, MK123681, MK123861). Pot experiment was performed with 10 treatments including; T1 (½ N fertilizer), T2 (Full N fertilizer), T3 (NPK fertilizers @ 100-50-30 mg kg‒1 soil), T4 (½ N + T. thiooxidans), T5 (½ N + T. ferrooxidans), T6 (½ N + D. vulgaris), T7 (½ N + T. thiooxidans + T. ferrooxidans), T8 (½ N + T. thiooxidans + D. vulgaris), T9 (½ N + T. ferrooxidans + D. vulgaris), T10 (½ N + T. thiooxidans + T. ferrooxidans + D. vulgaris). Among all the treatments, T7 enhanced the bioavailability of macro- and micro-nutrients in soil and maize plants; while T10 significantly improved the plant growth attributes. Study concludes that development and application of bacterial consortium based biofertilizers could help in improving the plant growth characters and nutrients bioavailability in plants and soil. (author)
[en] Recent studies have sought epidemiological evidence of the effectiveness of energy transitions. Such evidence often relies on so-called ‘natural experiments’, wherein environmental and/or health outcomes are assessed before, during, and after the transition of interest. Often, these studies attribute air pollution exposure changes—either modeled or measured—directly to the transition. We formalize a framework for separating the fractions of a given exposure change attributable to meteorological variability and emissions changes. Using this framework, we quantify relative impacts of wind variability and emissions changes from coal-fired power plants on exposure to emissions across the United States under three unique combinations of spatial-temporal and source scales. We find that the large emissions reductions achieved by United States coal-fired power plants after 2005 dominated population exposure changes. In each of the three case studies, however, we identified periods and regions in which meteorology dampened or accentuated differences in total exposure relative to exposure change expected from emissions reductions alone. The results evidence a need for separating meteorology-induced variability in exposure when attributing health impacts to specific energy transitions. (letter)
[en] Due to miscommunication during the proofing process, in 16 occasions throughout the text variables are shown in parentheses in the text, which should not be the case. As one example in the first sentence in section 4.5 “The setup allows for a direct comparison of three methods to determine the transfer velocity (k)” should read: “The setup allows for a direct comparison of three methods to determine the transfer velocity k”.
[en] Simplified assumptions regarding the relationship between per capita income and emissions are oftentimes utilized to generate future emission scenarios in integrated assessment models (IAMs). One such relationship is an environmental Kuznets curve (EKC), where emissions first increase, then decline with income growth. However, current knowledge about this relationship lacks the specificity needed for each sector and pollutant pairing, which is important for future emission scenarios. To fill this knowledge gap, we analyze the historical relationship between per capita income and emissions of SO2, CO2, and black carbon (BC) utilizing widely-used global, country-level emission inventories for the following four sectors: power, industry, residential, and transportation. Based on a modeling setup using long-term growth rates, emissions of SO2 from the power and industrial sectors, as well as CO2 from the industrial and the residential sectors, largely follow an EKC pattern. Income-emission trajectories for SO2 and CO2 from other sectors, and those for BC from all sectors, do not show an EKC, however. Results across different global inventories were variable, indicating that uncertainties within historical emission trajectories persist. Nonetheless, these results demonstrate that long-term income-emission trajectories of air pollutants are both sector and pollutant specific. Future reference trajectories of SO2 and BC from three IAMs show earlier estimates of turnover incomes and faster rates of emission declines when compared to historical data. Users of future emission scenarios derived using EKC assumptions should consider the underlying uncertainties in such projections in light of this historical analysis. (letter)
[en] We present hemispherically resolved spectra of the surface of Europa from ∼3.1–4.13 , which we obtained using the near-infrared spectrometer NIRSPEC on the Keck II telescope. These include the first high-quality L-band spectra of the surface to extend beyond 4 . In our data, we identify a previously unseen spectral feature at 3.78 on the trailing hemisphere. The longitudinal distribution of the feature is consistent with that of a radiolytic product created by electron or Iogenic ion bombardment. This feature is coincident with an absorption feature of SO2 frost seen in both laboratory spectra and spectra of Io. However, the corresponding, typically stronger 4.07 feature of SO2 frost is absent from our data. This result is contrary to the suggested detection of SO2 at 4.05 in Galileo NIMS data of the trailing hemisphere, which was severely affected by radiation noise. We use simple spectral modeling to argue that the 3.78 feature is not easily explained by the presence of SO2 frost on the surface. We explore alternative explanations and discuss other potential candidate species.
[en] Highlights: • A new hybrid dynamic input-output multi-objective optimized model is proposed. • Effects of industrial restructuring on energy saving and pollution reduction are investigated. • China can basically realize its goals of energy and environmental by industrial restructuring. - Abstract: The issue of achieving the twin goals of energy saving and pollution reduction by 2020 is important for transforming China's approach to economic growth. From the perspective of source control, this study investigates the impact of industrial structure adjustment on China's energy saving and pollution reduction goals by developing a new energy-environmental-economy model, integrating a dynamic input-output model and multi-objective model. The three best solutions are screened from the Pareto-optimal front conforming to decision-makers’ preferences. The results show that for China to successively achieve its set goals, it needs to modify and optimize the country's industrial structure. By optimizing its industrial structure, China's energy intensity of the three preferred solutions can be reduced by 17.7%, 17.0%, and 17.5% compared with 2015 levels, which helps to attain the target energy-saving goal. Emissions of COD, SO2, and NOx are significantly reduced; however, the reduction goal of NH3-N is barely realized. In the restructuring process, GDP can be maintained at 6.6–6.8% from 2013 to 2020. These findings could alleviate local governments’ concerns that implementation of stringent energy-saving and pollution-reduction mechanisms would harm their local economies.