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J Environ Manage. 2019 Aug 24;249:109432. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.109432. [Epub ahead of print]

A study on atmospheric environmental resource accounting: A case of SO2 capacity resources in Chinese provinces.

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Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, 510640, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China; CAS Key Laboratory of Renewable Energy, Guangzhou, 510640, China; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of New and Renewable Energy Research and Development, Guangzhou, 510640, China.
School of Sociology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, Hubei, 430079, China. Electronic address:


Ecological civilization construction in China is in its critical period and the natural resources assets are audited to the administration. However, the natural resources accounting is still in its infancy, especially the atmospheric environmental resources accounting, which refers to the ability of the atmospheric environment to accommodate and purify certain pollutants. This paper established a methodology to calculate the atmospheric resources assets with the index of SO2, a convenient method to calculate the physical accounts for atmospheric environmental resources based on the capacity of SO2 and an accessible way to estimate the monetary accounts with market-based price. Based on the methodology, a calculation was conducted on the assets and liabilities of SO2 capacity resources for 31 provinces of China in 2015. Empirical results showed that the physical accounts for SO2 capacity resources quantify the environmental pollution status in each region, and the monetary accounts reflect whether the industry and energy structures in one region are sound and sustainable. The findings provide specific profit or loss in terms of physical and monetary accounts for each region, which enable to quantify the government's occupancy and affordability of SO2 capacity resources, and contribute to the establishment of natural resource balance sheet and ecological compensation mechanism.


Atmospheric resources; Monetary accounts; Natural resource accounting; Physical accounts; Sulfur dioxide (SO(2))

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