HKUST PPOL Newsletter Fall 2023

16 Research Showcase Environmental Policy and Sustainability E. Doran, J. Golden, K. Matus, L. Lebel, V. Timmer, M. van ‘t Zelfde & A. de Koning "The Emerging Role of Mega-Urban Regions in the Sustainability of Global Production-Consumption Systems." npj Urban Sustainability 3.1 (2023): 23. Mega-urban regions (MURs) are important consumers or traders of resources from or producers of wastes destined for the global hinterlands. This paper uses three cases to illustrate governance innovation in MUR-PCS interactions: industrial symbiosis in Tianjin, China; electricity production in London, the UK; and the adoption of standards and labels for seafood in Bangkok, Thailand. In London and Tianjin, waste capture reduced consumption of hinterland resources, whereas, in Bangkok, the aim was to improve the sustainability of resource use in coastal and marine hinterlands. The authors suggest an agenda for research to evaluate the potential for transferrable MUR governance innovation to enable sustainable and equitable PCSs. Wang, R., Hertwich, E. G., Fishman, T., Deetman, S., Behrens, P., Chen, W. Q., de Koning, A., Xu, M., Matus, K. Ward, H., & Zimmerman, J. B. (2023). The Legacy Environmental Footprints of Manufactured Capital. PNAS, 120(24), e2218828120. This paper integrates 50 years of economic and environmental data to provide the global legacy environmental footprint (LEF) and unveil the historical material extractions, greenhouse gas emissions, and health impacts accrued in today’s manufactured capital. It is shown that between 1995 and 2019, global LEF growth outpaced GDP and population growth, and the current high level of national capital stocks has been heavily relying on global supply chains in metals. The LEF shows a larger or growing gap between developed economies (DEs) and lessdeveloped economies (LDEs) while economic returns from global asset supply chains disproportionately flow to DEs, resulting in a double burden for LDEs. Ensuring best practices in asset production while prioritizing well-being outcomes is essential in addressing global inequalities and protecting the environment, and it requires a paradigm shift in sustainability science and policy to achieve this end.