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Journal Article

Assessing the Economic-Environmental Efficiency of Energy Consumption and Spatial Patterns in China


Lu,  Chenyu
External Organizations;

Meng,  Peng
External Organizations;

Zhao,  Xueyan
External Organizations;

Jiang,  Lu
External Organizations;

Zhang,  Zilong
External Organizations;


Xue,  Bing
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

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Lu, C., Meng, P., Zhao, X., Jiang, L., Zhang, Z., Xue, B. (2019): Assessing the Economic-Environmental Efficiency of Energy Consumption and Spatial Patterns in China. - Sustainability, 11, 3, 591.

Cite as: https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_3880896
The improvement of energy consumption efficiency represents a significant task and a critical step toward sustainable energy transformations. This study uses a data envelopment analysis (DEA) and spatial autocorrelation method to conduct comprehensive measurement and assessment research on the economic-environmental efficiency of energy consumption in 31 Chinese provinces. It then carries out a synthetic study on energy consumption efficiency in the context of temporal and spatial dimensions, analyzes the characteristics and patterns related to temporal and spatial evolution, and systematically summarizes the temporal and spatial evolution processes associated with China’s economic-environmental efficiency in energy consumption. The results show that economic efficiency and environmental efficiency, both directly related to energy consumption, are positively correlated and display a parallel and synchronizing relationship. China’s energy consumption efficiency displays an upward trend in general, although differences exist between economic efficiency and environmental efficiency about the growth rate and overall development level. In other words, economic efficiency is generally higher than environmental efficiency. A positive spatial correlation occurs between economic and environmental efficiency in energy consumption across all the Chinese provinces studied. Furthermore, some cluster characteristic can be identified. Accurately, the eastern coastal area of China with a higher efficiency represents a spatial cluster of high values, whereas the midwestern inland area of China with a lower efficiency represents a spatial cluster of low values. Therefore, a descending pattern is displayed from the east to the west. As time goes by, the extent of clustering could become more prominent, accompanied by an increasing spatial cluster of high values and a decreasing spatial cluster of low values. Accordingly, China needs to improve its energy consumption efficiency further and promote sustainable energy transformations.