A pinboard by
Anna Firsova

After completing my PhD, I work on how to make the growth of the emerging economies more sustainable


Growing economies follow the path of the Environmental Kuznets Curve: develop first, clean up later

In ten seconds? Growing economies generally follow the path of Develop first, clean up later, which is illustrated by the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). EKC is however not valid for all countries or environmental indicators.

Economic wealth of the West has been rapidly growing since the beginning of Industrial Revolution. Initially with new inventions environmental situation has been worsening. Then negative consequences of industrialisation became so evident that Western societies had to take measures. As a result, along with continuing economic growth, newly introduced policies and technologies in many areas stopped and even reversed environmental degradation. This process is often illustrated by the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC).

Does this Curve work for all developed countries? EKC usually corresponds well with the indicators related to traditional pollutants, but also works, for example, for energy use and CO2 emissions in European countries.

The EKC though is not valid for all developed countries: energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the USA do not follow the Curve.

Are developing countries now repeating the fate of the developed countries? Researchers agree that EKC is generally validated for the developing countries and major emerging economies of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

There are country exceptions such as Qatar and indicator exceptions such as water footprint . While traditional pollutants follow the EKC in China, with greenhouse gas emissions, it currently seems to follow the inverted U shaped EKC, as well as the sub-Saharan Africa.

Do these numerous exceptions mean that the EKC is not a good model? Not necessarily. Not always we know the scale of the EKCs for each country and for each indicator. It is possible that the peak of the curve is not passed yes. With further economic development and introduction of new technologies we might see the decline in CO2 emissions and overall environmental improvements in all countries.


Anthropogenic activities and coastal environmental quality: a regional quantitative analysis in southeast China with management implications.

Abstract: Regional analysis of environmental issues has always been a hot topic in the field of sustainable development. Because the different levels of economic growth, urbanization, resource endowments, etc. in different regions generate apparently different ecological responses, a better description and comparison across different regions will provide more valuable implications for ecological improvement and policymaking. In this study, seven typical bays in southeast China that are a rapid developing area were selected to quantitatively analyze the relationship between socioeconomic development and coastal environmental quality. Based on the water quality data from 2007 to 2015, the multivariate statistical method was applied to analyze the potential environmental risks and to classify the seven bays based on their environmental quality status. The possible variation trends of environmental indices were predicted based on the cross-regional panel data by Environmental Kuznets Curve. The results showed that there were significant regional differences among the seven bays, especially Quanzhou, Xiamen, and Luoyuan Bays, suffered from severer artificial disturbances than other bays, despite their different development patterns. Socioeconomic development level was significantly associated with some water quality indices (pH, DIN, PO4-P); the association was roughly positive: the areas with higher GDP per capita have some worse water quality indices. In addition, the decreasing trend of pH values and the increasing trend of nutrient concentration in the seven bays will continue in the foreseeable future. In consideration of the variation trends, the limiting nutrient strategy should be implemented to mitigate the deterioration of the coastal environments.

Pub.: 19 May '17, Pinned: 30 May '17

Waste from Livestock and Poultry Breeding and Its Potential Assessment of Biogas Energy in Rural China

Abstract: Global livestock and poultry industry is growing continuously, with large amounts of excreta produced. These wastes could be either important anaerobic fermentation materials of biogas energy or, if discharged into the environment without appropriate processing, serious pollution sources to soil and water systems. In developing countries, rural energy poverty is currently a major threat to sustainable development and livelihoods. Hence, the availability of clean, affordable and reliable energy is of significant concern in both policy and scholarly circles. Moreover, pollutants related with animal husbandry have been identified as one of the dominant contributors to contamination of water systems, such as surface water eutrophication and groundwater nitrate enrichment. Consequently, assessing waste from livestock and poultry breeding and the associated biogas systems is of critical essence in rural energy and environmental decision-making. The present study concentrates on a Chinese context and attempts to explicitly investigate Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) applying heterogeneous panel cointegration methods, combining with distribution and characteristics of waste from livestock and poultry breeding for China’s 31 provincial economies from 1991 to 2013. And, potentiality of biogas energy and its CO2 emission reduction based on the utilization of waste is assessed. The empirical results indicate an inverted U-shaped Environmental Kuznets Curve in N indicator resulting from livestock and poultry breeding, where value of the turning point is approximately CNY 51,800. With economic growth and consumptive change, problems arising from animal husbandry mode can be increasingly great. There will be many major challenges to address these special environmental issues in rural area, especially in Central China and West China. Biogas production by animal excreta could be one of the most important rural energies and waste treatment patterns, which could reach 63.65 billion m3 in 2013, equivalent to approximately 20% of natural gas used, and might offer a GHG reduction of more than 220 million tons of CO2 eq. China should assign greater importance to special agricultural pollution and energy options in rural communities, in addition to ‘beautiful countryside’ propaganda.

Pub.: 07 Mar '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Understanding the relation between urbanization and the eco-environment in China's Yangtze River Delta using an improved EKC model and coupling analysis

Abstract: Better understanding the relationship between urbanization (U) and the eco-environment (E) is necessary to coordinate the development of them. Using a comprehensive index system for U and E with statistic data, and an improved environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) model and dynamic coordination coupling degree (CCD) model, this study addressed the relationship between U and E in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) in the period 1980–2013. The main conclusions were as follows: (1) Economic urbanization and eco-environment endowment were the highest weighted factors in the U and E system respectively, and thus constitute the key factors. (2) Differentiated inverted-U curves were shown to exist in the relation between U and E across the cities studied, thereby confirming the improved EKC hypothesis. We further found economically developed areas to have higher urbanization levels than less developed areas at the point at which the curve inflects, less developed areas have higher eco-environmental pressure at inflection. Before the appearance of the inflection point, a striking positive correlation was observed between eco-environmental pressure and the urbanization level, while a negative correlation was found to follow it. (3) A dynamic coordination coupling relation was found to exist between U and E, which conforms to an S-shaped curve. The coordination coupling process in the YRD has gradually moved from a “low-grade symbiosis” stage into a “break-in development” stage, but the pattern of coordination belonging to the eco-environment part of the relation was found to always show some lag. The dynamic CCD model showed a difference in the spatial distribution of CCD, presenting higher values in the periphery of the region, and lower values in the center during the study period. The improved EKC and coupling analysis detailed in this study may help Chinese decision makers to formulate sustainable measures to balance urbanization development and eco-environment protection.

Pub.: 19 Jul '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Spatial linkage analysis of the impact of regional economic activities on PM2.5 pollution in China

Abstract: Fog and haze represent the most hazardous type of weather affecting the life and health of residents in China since 2009; as a result, many policymakers and economists have focussed on this issue. This study analyses the driving factors of fog and haze in 152 cities in China from the perspective of the economic effect. Considering the spatial attributes of fog and haze alongside the regional economic association, a spatial economic weight matrix is constructed and introduced into a spatial autoregressive model to analyse the spatial diffusion effect of PM2.5 pollution. The results show that PM2.5 pollution has significant spatial aggregation and diffusion effects that are significantly influenced by geospatial attributes and regional economic association in China. Furthermore, the effects of economic, social, and technological factors exhibit significant differences in relation to PM2.5 in different cities, and all of these factors present regional spillover effects. Specifically, the relationship between PM2.5 and economic development in China is consistent with the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis, in which different regions are located at different positions on the EKC curve due to the different situations related to economic development. As a result, the regional coordination of environmental policies and pollution-intensive industry transfer are needed to hold China's air pollution in check.

Pub.: 31 Aug '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Impact of urbanization on energy related CO2 emission at different development levels: Regional difference in China based on panel estimation

Abstract: We examined the influence of urbanization on CO2 emission at different development levels employing the stochastic impacts by regression on population, affluence and technology (STIRPAT) model on provincial panel data from 1995 to 2013 for China. To investigate regional differences based on development levels in the effects of urbanization on CO2 emission, we divided the 29 provinces of China into three regions according to their per capita real GDP at constant value (1990 = 100). The panel estimation for the whole dataset and the three regions showed an inverted U relationship between urbanization and CO2 emission in the major regions of China. Specifically, the effects of urbanization vary significantly across the regions. In region 2 and region 3, a threshold level was identified, beyond which the emission urbanization elasticity was negative, and further increases in the urbanization rate did not contribute to higher emissions. However, in region 1, only population and affluence, rather than urbanization, were significant factors affecting CO2 emissions. In addition, the results did not confirm the environmental Kuznets Curve relationship between income and CO2 emission, where CO2 emission increases monotonically with income. We propose a series of policy implications based on these outcomes to help realize emission reduction targets better.

Pub.: 31 Aug '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Transition in environmental governance in the Brazilian Amazon: emergence of a new pattern of socio-economic development and deforestation

Abstract: Publication date: 31 December 2016 Source:Land Use Policy, Volume 59 Author(s): Isabelle Tritsch, Damien Arvor Socio-economic development in the Brazilian Amazon is currently reaching national averages although deforestation activity has been declining for a decade. As a consequence, recent studies rejected the widely agreed boom-and-bust development hypothesis that deforestation first generates an economic boom, which is then followed by a collapse as forest resources are depleted. Here, we confirm these studies that there is no boom-bust cycle and suggest that a new pattern of relationship between deforestation and socio-economic development has emerged following an environmental Kuznets curve (EKC). In this scenario, environmental degradation increases in the early stages of economic development and decreases in later stages as the economy develops and wellbeing increases. To validate this assumption, we conducted the first sub-municipal analysis of socio-economic development and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon for the 2000–2010 period. Our results confirm the emergence of an EKC relationship with a turning point beyond which socio-economic growth does not appear anymore to be a driver of deforestation. We also emphasize that areas subjected to active deforestation in 2010 present lower socio-economic indicators than stabilized areas, pointing to the precarious socio-economic situation of areas still undergoing active deforestation. We put these results in perspective by considering Brazilian efforts to ensure a transition in environmental governance with the objective of promoting land use sustainability through control of deforestation at the same time as supporting socio-economic development.

Pub.: 05 Oct '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Driving force of rising renewable energy in China: Environment, regulation and employment

Abstract: Publication date: February 2017 Source:Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 68, Part 1 Author(s): Xu Zhao, Dongkun Luo This paper studies the development of renewable energy in China by examining the driving force of environment quality, regulation and employment on renewable energy generation. We adopt renewable energy as a metric for environment quality, and test the relationship between renewable energy and income using Environment Kuznets Curve (EKC) theories. The impact of employment on renewable energy is tested, and dummy variables are used to indicate when the regulation was in effect. The results show that there exists a quadratic relationship between renewable energy and income. But the results fail to provide that the renewable energy generation is a job creator when the lagged unemployment rate is included as an explaining variable. We consider the employment population, and the finding shows that the employment can promote the development of renewable energy. The regulation has significantly positive impacts on renewable energy. The interaction of income and employment show that along with the income increases, the impacts of employment on renewable energy decrease. Our findings are helpful for government to figure out the determinants for rising the renewable energy generation, and take efficient measures to promote its development.

Pub.: 17 Oct '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Testing the moderating role of financial development in an environmental Kuznets curve: Empirical evidence from Turkey

Abstract: Publication date: February 2017 Source:Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 68, Part 1 Author(s): Salih Turan Katircioğlu, Nigar Taşpinar Employing second-generation econometric procedures that consider multiple structural breaks in the series, this article examines Turkey as a case study in the investigation of the moderating role of financial development in a conventional environmental Kuznets curve (EKC). The study uses two separate models for this purpose: (1) the main effects model and (2) the interaction effects model. The results of this investigation suggest a long-term equilibrium relationship between financial development and the EKC in Turkey, using both model options. Financial development has been found to moderate the effect of real output on carbon dioxide emissions in the shorter periods negatively, which signifies successful environmental performance and energy management. In comparison, financial development moderates the effect of real output on carbon dioxide emissions in the longer periods positively, and in which this finding again signifies that policies for energy savings and green house targets need to be established to target longer periods and energy management policies at higher levels of economic activity. The present study did not confirm a significant moderating effect of financial development on the impact of energy consumption on carbon dioxide emissions in the case of Turkey.

Pub.: 30 Oct '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Sustainability, Vol. 8, Pages 1296: Examining Determinants of CO2 Emissions in 73 Cities in China

Abstract: Issues concerning which factors that influence carbon dioxide emission, and which administrative measures should be imposed to reduce carbon emission in Chinese cities, have been on the agenda in cities’ policy-making. Yet little literature has studied this topic from the city level. This paper first measures CO2 emission of 73 Chinese cities. We find heterogeneity embedded in the cross-city distribution of CO2 emission per capita and a nonlinear structure in the relationship between carbon emission and GDP per capita. To describe such multimodality and examine the determinants of CO2 emission in these cities, this article applies a linear mixed effect model covering the quadratic term of GDP per capita to extend the stochastic impact by regression on population, affluence, and technology (STIRPAT) model. The empirical results demonstrate that population size, secondary industry proportion, energy consumption structure, urbanization level and economic level have generally shown a positive influence on CO2 emissions in Chinese cities. However, the urbanization level is of no significance. The phenomenon of the environmental Kuznets curve varies across Chinese cities, according to which three city groups are formed. Specific policy recommendations are given to each city group in light of their unique influencing modes on carbon emissions.

Pub.: 09 Dec '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Re-visiting the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis for Malaysia: Fresh evidence from ARDL bounds testing approach

Abstract: This study reinvestigates the presence of environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) in the context of Malaysia over the period of 1971–2012. For this purpose, the impact of real GDP per capita, financial development, trade openness, foreign direct investments, and energy consumption on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions is empirically examined within the EKC framework. The study employed the Autoregressive Distribute Lagged (ARDL) bound test to investigate the long-run relationship between the study variables. For robustness, the study conjointly applied the Dynamic Ordinary Least Square (DOLS) method. The Granger causality test is exercised to test the causal relationship among the variables for both short and long-run. Empirical results of ARDL bound test approach suggest the presence of EKC hypothesis for Malaysia. The Granger causality test results indicate that energy consumption and carbon emissions have a bidirectional relationship, while other variables uni-directionally cause the CO2 emissions. Whereas, in the short-run, there is no bidirectional causality between the variables while uni-directional causalities run from trade openness and FDI towards economic growth, financial development, and CO2 emissions. The unidirectional causality from other variables towards CO2 emissions supports the evidence of the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis as this appears in the countries where the EKC is validated.

Pub.: 06 Dec '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

Spatiotemporal Pattern of PM2.5 Concentrations in Mainland China and Analysis of Its Influencing Factors using Geographically Weighted Regression.

Abstract: Based on annual average PM2.5 gridded dataset, this study first analyzed the spatiotemporal pattern of PM2.5 across Mainland China during 1998-2012. Then facilitated with meteorological site data, land cover data, population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data, etc., the contributions of latent geographic factors, including socioeconomic factors (e.g., road, agriculture, population, industry) and natural geographical factors (e.g., topography, climate, vegetation) to PM2.5 were explored through Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) model. The results revealed that PM2.5 concentrations increased while the spatial pattern remained stable, and the proportion of areas with PM2.5 concentrations greater than 35 μg/m(3) significantly increased from 23.08% to 29.89%. Moreover, road, agriculture, population and vegetation showed the most significant impacts on PM2.5. Additionally, the Moran's I for the residuals of GWR was 0.025 (not significant at a 0.01 level), indicating that the GWR model was properly specified. The local coefficient estimates of GDP in some cities were negative, suggesting the existence of the inverted-U shaped Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) for PM2.5 in Mainland China. The effects of each latent factor on PM2.5 in various regions were different. Therefore, regional measures and strategies for controlling PM2.5 should be formulated in terms of the local impacts of specific factors.

Pub.: 13 Jan '17, Pinned: 27 Apr '17

A disaggregated analysis of the environmental Kuznets curve for industrial CO2 emissions in China

Abstract: Publication date: 15 March 2017 Source:Applied Energy, Volume 190 Author(s): Yuan Wang, Chen Zhang, Aitong Lu, Li Li, Yanmin He, Junji ToJo, Xiaodong Zhu The present study concentrates on a Chinese context and attempts to explicitly examine the impacts of economic growth and urbanization on various industrial carbon emissions through investigation of the existence of an environmental Kuznets curve. Within the Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence and Technology framework, this is the first attempt to simultaneously explore the income/urbanization and disaggregated industrial carbon dioxide emissions nexus, using panel data together with semi-parametric panel fixed effects regression. Our dataset is referred to a provincial panel of China spanning the period 2000–2013. With this information, we find evidence in support of an inverted U-shaped curve relationship between economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions in the electricity and heat production sector, but a similar inference only for urbanization and those emissions in the manufacturing sector. The heterogeneity in the EKC relationship across industry sectors implies that there is urgent need to design more specific policies related to carbon emissions reduction for various industry sectors. Also, these findings contribute to advancing the emerging literature on the development-pollution nexus.

Pub.: 06 Jan '17, Pinned: 27 Apr '17