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Achieving Carbon Neutrality: Recent Progress of Sustainable Energy Economic, Energy Policy and Energy Transition

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 8643

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
International Institute for Carbon Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER), Kyushu University, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
Interests: carbon neutral; energy transitions; hydrogen economy; social equity
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I am excited to announce a new Special Issue entitled “Achieving Carbon Neutrality: Recent Progress of Sustainable Energy Economic, Energy Policy and Energy Transition”.

As is well-known, the process of energy transition is in progress, albeit at different paces, and with different underpinning strategies around the globe. As we approach mid- and long-term energy transition goal years of 2030 and 2050, respectively, it is a good time to check in and assess the progress to date, and prospects for the future.

This Special Issue aims to consider how energy policies and economic initiatives aim to achieve carbon neutrality under the auspices of the energy transition. We welcome submissions that consider system-wide analysis, or analyses specific to individual sectors or technologies. The overarching theme here will be sustainability, i.e., the ability of these approaches to engender a sustainable energy transition.

This topic is strongly related to the journal’s scope, particularly with regard to sustainability evaluations and sustainable development in the areas of socio-economic and integrated approaches to sustainable energy system development. 

In this Special Issue, both original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Achieving a carbon-neutral energy system via economic incentives;
  • Evaluation of social, economic and environmental impacts of energy transition policies;
  • Technological contributions to sustainable development and carbon-neutral energy systems;
  • Sustainability evaluation metrics and frameworks;
  • Energy policy evaluation vis-à-vis the achievement of the SDGs and a carbon-neutral future.

I look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Andrew John Chapman
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable development
  • energy economics
  • carbon neutrality
  • energy transition

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 832 KiB  
Article
5-E Levers: A New Conceptual Model for Achieving Carbon Neutrality in Cities
by Jordi Mazon
Sustainability 2024, 16(4), 1678; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16041678 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 867
Abstract
This article proposes a conceptual model for integrating and categorizing urban projects aimed at achieving carbon neutrality. This model comprises five interconnected levers: energy efficiency, renewable energy production and consumption, electrification of end use, circular economy, and CO2 ensnaring (capture). Each lever [...] Read more.
This article proposes a conceptual model for integrating and categorizing urban projects aimed at achieving carbon neutrality. This model comprises five interconnected levers: energy efficiency, renewable energy production and consumption, electrification of end use, circular economy, and CO2 ensnaring (capture). Each lever encompasses projects and initiatives capable of directly or indirectly capturing urban CO2 and accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These levers are interlinked, providing a road map for constructing a coherent and sustainable municipal model. Referred to as the “5-E levers”, this conceptual framework derives its name from the fact that all levers begin with the letter “E”, facilitating memorization and dissemination among policymakers. Full article
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22 pages, 2773 KiB  
Article
Can Regional Integration Policies Enhance the Win–Win Situation of Economic Growth and Environmental Protection? New Evidence for Achieving Carbon Neutrality Goals
by Xianwang Lv, Yingming Zhu and Jiazhen Du
Sustainability 2024, 16(4), 1647; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16041647 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 725
Abstract
In the pursuit of carbon neutrality goals, local governments usually face the dilemma of whether to focus on economic development or environmental protection. Regional integration is a beneficial policy solution to address the challenges inherent to this dilemma. This research considers the expansion [...] Read more.
In the pursuit of carbon neutrality goals, local governments usually face the dilemma of whether to focus on economic development or environmental protection. Regional integration is a beneficial policy solution to address the challenges inherent to this dilemma. This research considers the expansion of the Urban Economic Coordination Committee in the Yangtze River Delta as a quasi-natural experiment in regional integration. It employs the difference-in-differences model to assess its potential for fostering a win–win situation in terms of economic growth and environmental protection, with the results showing that regional integration has a significantly positive impact on attaining this win–win situation. Inhibiting pollution transfer and promoting green transformation are crucial mechanisms by which regional integration can help strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. However, the effects of both regional integration and win–win mechanisms are heterogeneous across cities. The conclusion suggests that the government should accelerate the implementation of regional integration policies across a wider range, recognize and maximize the important role of intermediate mechanisms, and encourage cities to adopt different strategies according to their heterogeneous characteristics, forming a high-level collaborative development pattern. Full article
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27 pages, 5618 KiB  
Article
Exploring Energy Security and Independence for Small Energy Users: A Latvian Case Study on Unleashing Stirling Engine Potential
by Janis Kramens, Oskars Svedovs, Amanda Sturmane, Edgars Vigants, Vladimirs Kirsanovs and Dagnija Blumberga
Sustainability 2024, 16(3), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16031224 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Nowadays, energy systems are continuously impacted by external and internal conditions. The worldwide events of recent years have led to the need to consider not only the requirements for moving towards climate neutrality but also the security and independence of energy supply when [...] Read more.
Nowadays, energy systems are continuously impacted by external and internal conditions. The worldwide events of recent years have led to the need to consider not only the requirements for moving towards climate neutrality but also the security and independence of energy supply when creating new or transforming existing energy systems. The aim of this study was to answer the question of whether there is a possibility of transforming the energy supply process by promoting increased energy security and independence while not reducing energy demand, as well as creating high economic and environmental indicators. The research focuses on developing alternative scenarios for further decision-making studies by introducing modern energy technologies. Scenarios are analysed using the complex method developed, which includes three main steps: assessing the current situation, identifying available technologies, and assessing alternatives. The results suggest that Stirling’s technology can provide 100% energy independence for individual energy consumers. At the same time, thanks to the combination of Stirling technology and solar technologies, there is an opportunity to reduce emissions and energy production costs, but capital investment is increasing. Full article
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19 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Research on the Impact of Green Finance and the Digital Economy on the Energy Consumption Structure in the Context of Carbon Neutrality
by Tao Yang and Rong Wang
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 15874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152215874 - 12 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1385
Abstract
Improving the structure of energy consumption (ECS) through green finance and the digital economy is one of the main paths to achieving the goal of carbon neutrality. This paper explores the impact of green finance and the digital economy on the ECS of [...] Read more.
Improving the structure of energy consumption (ECS) through green finance and the digital economy is one of the main paths to achieving the goal of carbon neutrality. This paper explores the impact of green finance and the digital economy on the ECS of 30 regions in China from 2007 to 2022 using the Generalized method of moments(GMM) model, further analyzes its heterogeneity, and then provides a reference for the scientific development of relevant decisions. The conclusions are as follows: (1) The change in the ECS is closely related to the degree of optimization of the ECS in the previous year, and this is a process of dynamic adjustment. The level of digital economy development can improve the ECS of the country as a whole and in the eastern and central regions, while the western regions have not yet played a significant role due to the underdevelopment of the digital economy. Green finance can inhibit fossil fuel energy consumption in all regions, and it promotes cleaner, more efficient, and low-carbon energy consumption, thereby improving the ECS. However, the impact effect is the largest in the east and smaller in the west. (2) The urbanization levels of the country as a whole and that of the central and western regions show a positive correlation with the results of energy consumption. However, in the eastern region, it shows an inhibitory effect on fossil fuel energy consumption, which can optimize the ECS. The industrial structures in all regions have positive impact coefficients; the development of industry is not conducive to the optimization of the ECS. Trade openness can improve the ECS only in the eastern region; technological progress in all regions can significantly improve the ECS. Based on the background of carbon neutrality, this paper reveals that green finance and the digital economy promote cleaner, more efficient, and lower carbon energy consumption and reduce the level of energy consumption. This paper also provides a reference for the scientific formulation of relevant decisions. Full article
23 pages, 3998 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Spatial and Temporal Evolution of China’s Energy Carbon Emissions, Driving Mechanisms, and Decoupling Levels
by Jingyi Ji, Chao Li, Xinyi Ye, Yuelin Song and Jiehua Lv
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 15843; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152215843 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 987
Abstract
Excessive carbon emissions will cause the greenhouse effect and global warming, which is not conducive to environmental protection and sustainable development. In order to realize the goal of “carbon peak and carbon neutrality” as soon as possible, this paper utilizes the methodology provided [...] Read more.
Excessive carbon emissions will cause the greenhouse effect and global warming, which is not conducive to environmental protection and sustainable development. In order to realize the goal of “carbon peak and carbon neutrality” as soon as possible, this paper utilizes the methodology provided by the IPCC to measure the carbon emissions and carbon intensity of China’s energy consumption. The classification method of carbon emission and the kernel density function method are used to explore the spatial and temporal evolution of regional carbon emissions. Based on the Log Mean Divided Index (LMDI) method, the drivers of China’s energy carbon emissions are measured. Based on the Tapio index function and the catch-up decoupling model, the decoupling status of Chinese provinces and the development gap with the benchmark provinces are examined. The results show that (1) China’s total energy carbon emissions show a “rising-declining-rising” trend from 2005 to 2021, and reach the first peak in 2013, totaling 1,484,984.406 million metric tons. China’s Hebei, Shanxi, and Shandong provinces have the highest energy carbon emissions. (2) China’s energy carbon emissions are influenced by multiple factors, and the contribution of each factor to energy carbon emissions is in the following order: economic development effect > energy intensity effect > energy structure effect > population size effect. (3) China’s catch-up provinces develop their economies at the expense of the environment and energy consumption. Full article
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15 pages, 6529 KiB  
Article
Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Green Energy Development in China
by Ye Yang, Zegen Wang, Ying Zhang, Jiulin Jiang and Jiwu He
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 15827; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152215827 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 951
Abstract
The development of non-conventional energy sources is not only an important guarantee for national energy security but also a key support for the realization of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals. However, there is limited knowledge of the spatial and temporal patterns and [...] Read more.
The development of non-conventional energy sources is not only an important guarantee for national energy security but also a key support for the realization of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals. However, there is limited knowledge of the spatial and temporal patterns and changing characteristics of green energy development in China. Here, based on the energy production and consumption data of the last decade, we combined the gravity center model and statistical model to assess the spatial and temporal patterns of non-conventional energy in 31 provinces of China. The research results show: (1) under the impetus of the development of green low-carbon and ecological civilization strategy, the rate of increase in the production of non-conventional energy in China and the proportion of it increase year by year, and the energy structure obviously presents the characteristics of being low-carbon and cleaner. (2) For the spatial patterns of non-conventional energy development, due to the development of wind power and photovoltaic constraints by natural resource conditions and technology, their development trend is best in northeast, north, and northwest China. (3) The generation of PV and wind power is dominated by northwest China and north China, and the generation of nuclear power is dominated by southeast China, whereas the consumption is dominated by east China and central China; there is an obvious spatial imbalance between non-conventional energy production and consumption. (4) The proportion of photovoltaics in non-conventional energy production has increased significantly over the 2010–2020 period, which is the main driver of the overall shift in the gravity center of non-conventional energy production towards the northwest region of China. (5) In recent years, the gradual transfer of industries from the east to the central and western regions of China and the improvement in the economic level of the western regions have led to an increase in energy production and consumption, promoting a shift in the gravity center of energy production and consumption to the west. Overall, the structural transformation of China’s energy production and consumption (from a high-carbon black structure to a low-carbon and carbon-free green structure) is progressing, and some provinces have achieved significant results, presenting a non-conventional energy industry in accordance with local conditions and the development trend of the non-conventional energy industry. Full article
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13 pages, 1103 KiB  
Article
Managing Environmental Policy Stringency to Ensure Sustainable Development in OECD Countries
by Daniela Melania Mihai, Marius Dalian Doran, Silvia Puiu, Nicoleta Mihaela Doran, Elena Jianu and Teodor Marian Cojocaru
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15427; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115427 - 30 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1360
Abstract
In response to climate change that threatens both economic and social sustainable development, governments adopt strict environmental policy measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the use of energy from renewable sources. The main purpose of this study is to investigate to [...] Read more.
In response to climate change that threatens both economic and social sustainable development, governments adopt strict environmental policy measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the use of energy from renewable sources. The main purpose of this study is to investigate to what extent the strictness of environmental policy can influence the level of greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of renewable energy in selected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The Fully Modified Ordinary Least Squares (FMOLS) method and Granger causality test were employed in order to investigate the long-run relationship between the main components of the environmental policy stringency index and the evolution of greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy consumption. The results indicate significant influences of the Market-based instruments sub-index and the Technology Support policies sub-index on greenhouse gas emissions reduction, while the Non-Market Based instruments index, which includes policies that impose emission limits and standards, does not exert any significant influence in this regard. Regarding the impact on renewable energy consumption, the results of this study indicate significant positive influences from the perspective of the three sub-indices used in the analysis. These results should send a signal to decision-makers on the effectiveness of policies that impose emission limits and standards, in the sense that their improvement will generate significant influences in mitigating climate change risks. Full article
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Review

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18 pages, 2596 KiB  
Review
Assessing Corporate Vendor Selection in the Oil and Gas Industry: A Review of Green Strategies and Carbon Reduction Options
by Yumihito Otsubo and Andrew J. Chapman
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16249; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316249 - 23 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1179
Abstract
This paper addresses the global imperative of tackling environmental challenges, particularly in the context of the carbon-intensive oil and gas (O&G) industry, which is one of the heaviest carbon-emitting industries. Competitive advantages in this industry often stem from external connections rather than internal [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the global imperative of tackling environmental challenges, particularly in the context of the carbon-intensive oil and gas (O&G) industry, which is one of the heaviest carbon-emitting industries. Competitive advantages in this industry often stem from external connections rather than internal capabilities. How companies assess their business partners, including electric vendors, from an environmental standpoint, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches, was explored using a systematic literature review approach. This literature review delves into the realm of green supply chain management, covering topics, such as carbon cap and trade, carbon offsets, renewable energy, regulations, finance, and vendor selection. Key findings from this review highlighted the limited number and lack of depth of studies regarding the presence and impact of electrical vendors, who play a crucial role in the oil and gas sector. Furthermore, our review identified a general lack of research on green supply chain management metrics, particularly in the context of the oil and gas industry and the roles and technical contributions of electric vendors. Full article
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