28 JUL 2020 (TUE) 09:30-10:15 | 10:50-11:25 | 11:50-12:35 | 15:45-16:30

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Sustainable Development

All sessions will be held virtually by Zoom



Dr XU Zhenci Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, USA

Towards understanding sustainability goals and challenges across multiple scales


A comprehensive and timely assessment of our progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is essential to track global efforts towards sustainable development and guide policy development and implementation. Achieving sustainability at global, national, and regional scales require collaboration and common actions across countries and different units within a county, given the increasing interactions between countries and technological advancement. In this seminar, I will present my approach to developing a better understanding of our progress and factors associated with global sustainability challenges. In the first part of my talk, I will present how I developed a systematic method for quantifying spatio-temporal assessment of progress toward achieving United Nations’s SDGs and applied it in China. In the second part, I will present a case study in China that assess the impacts of food-energy-water-CO2 nexus across agricultural and other areas simultaneously in the context of complex environmental and socioeconomic factors (e.g., irrigation, crop rotation, diet change). In the third and final part of the talk, I will discuss how international trade affects our progress toward achieving global SDGs. My research finds that China and all its provinces have made a good progress towards achieving the 17 SDGs from 2000 to 2015, however, this progress varies widely across different regions over time. We find that though the food supply from the North China Plains has promoted food sustainability across China, the region consumes over four times more water than its total annual renewable water. Although Hubei Province is not directly involved in the food trade, it has experienced substantial losses in water and land due to the construction of the South-to-North Water Transfer Project which aims to alleviate water shortages in the North China Plains. From a global scale analysis, I find that past and current international trades have disproportionately favored the developed countries towards achieving nine environment-related SDG targets improving the SDG target scores. Furthermore, trades between distant countries contributed more towards achieving these global SDG targets than those between adjacent countries, which negatively affected developing countries. Overall, my research suggests the need to track national and global sustainable development progress, to enhance the accounting for and management of virtual resources embedded in trade, and to deal with sustainability challenges from an integrated nexus perspective across multiple scales.



Dr LU Sun Research Associate, Center for Social and Environmental Systems Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan

Towards a sustainable city through eco-industrial development and resources management


To develop inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities is one of the most critically important SDGs of this century. Cities and human settlements will be the keys to achieving SDGs, which requires the stakeholders to increase prosperity, enhance resilience, and environmental sustainability. While how to promote the low carbon and sustainable city transition are the main challenges, critical challenges include energy-saving and emission reduction of industrial systems, optimization of energy consumption structure in commercial and residential systems, and build an efficient waste management system. Wherein the industrial and waste management sectors play a critical role who not only contributes to mitigating global climate change but also promoting continuous economic growth. Few researchers have considered the coupling effect of comprehensive countermeasures to achieve the urban sustainable development target and the interactive process of different policies. This study aims to promote sustainable city development by considering eco-industrial development, energy system optimization, and resource management. This study (1) analyze the eco-industrial development from the perspective of environmental planning; (2) optimize the energy system with smart infrastructure as well as