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Energy use, industrial soot and vehicle exhaust pollution—China's regional air pollution recognition, performance decomposition and governance


The identification of “industrial soot” or “vehicle exhaust” pollution facilitates developing proper measures for the mitigation of regional air pollution. In order to identify the pollution types at a regional level, this paper applies the Luenberger productivity indicator to decompose air pollutant emissions performance. Furthermore, we simultaneously consider pollution rates and the productivity change. Thus, we propose a new modeling framework allowing for the variable-specific decomposition of the environmental performance along time and quantity dimensions to identify the underlying patterns. The panel data for 30 provinces and autonomous regions are then applied to identify regional atmospheric pollution type. The results show that SO2 emission from industrial soot and NOx emissions from vehicle exhaust constitute an important source of regional atmospheric environmental inefficiency, though the former seems to be more decisive. The southeast coastal provinces showed generally lower levels of inefficiency, compared to the northwest inland area. During the period of the 11th Five-Year Plan of China, industrial SO2 emission performance contributed to the increase in the atmospheric environmental productivity, while traffic NOx emissions acted as a negative factor in this regard. Therefore, the government should seek to increase the intensity of environmental regulation in transportation sector. At the country level, technical progress associated with both types of pollutions was positive and thus exceed the negative efficiency change for the same variables. In particular, in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the productivity changes in industrial SO2 emissions and traffic NOx emissions indicate a “stably advancing” type. The results further indicate that there are 18 provinces of China which have experienced mixed-type pollution. Jilin and Hainan were classified as provinces experiencing vehicle exhaust gas pollution, whereas Guizhou was defined as that subject to industrial soot pollution. The government should formulate and implement diversified support and regulation policies to govern SO2 and NOx pollution at the regional level.


Keywords: Atmospheric pollution, Total factor productivity, Industrial soot SO2, Vehicle exhaust NOx, Slack-based decomposition.


Miao, Z.; Baležentis, T.; Shao, S.; Chang, D. 2019. Energy use, industrial soot and vehicle exhaust pollution—China's regional air pollution recognition, performance decomposition and governance. In Energy Economics. Vol. 83, pages 501-514, ISSN 0140-9883; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2019.07.002;[Environmental Abstracts, Fuel and Energy Abstracts, Social Sciences Citation Index, Current Contents - Social & Behavioral Sciences, Engineering Village – GEOBASE, Enviro/Energyline Abstracts Plus, Current Contents, Journal of Economic Literature, Public Affairs Information Service Bulletin, RePEc, ABI/Inform].


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