Monday, 29 August 2022 10:50

Call for Papers - Special Issue on Climate Change, Carbon Neutrality: The Role of Spatial Economics

“Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates.” (NASA, 2022,  accessed August 2nd, 2022). The consequent temperature increases, rising sea levels, ice losses, and increased frequency and severity in extreme weather events (such as hurricanes, heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, floods and land use/land cover changes) significantly affect regional economic development, resource management, urban and regional planning, and the spatial distribution of population and economic activities. It is believed that human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning, is a key driver of climate change since the mid-20th century. Therefore, carbon neutrality has been proposed as a countermeasure to climate change.

To achieve the proposed goal of carbon neutrality, it is important to understand the driving forces and regional economic implications of carbon intensity reduction. To date, transportation, energy and manufacture sectors are still the main contributors to greenhouse emissions in both China and the United States. Standard economic analysis of the externality problems applies here. More importantly, the spatially heterogeneous distributions of climates, population and socio-economic activities generate significant spatial spillover effects. The spatially correlated climate conditions, the spatially connected regional economies, and the interactions between the climate and regional economic systems raise important theoretical and empirical challenges. For instance, how will the spatial correlation and interactions affect the local climate and the consequent optimal design of regional policies?

 Any regional breakdowns of global carbon emissions will likely create evident regional disparities. There has been a surge of literature that highlights the importance of spatial agglomeration in affecting environmental performance at a different dimension. The spatial organization of economic activities plays an important role in shaping energy consumption and subsequent carbon emission. Regardless of compact development in cities or sprawled development in sub- and exurban areas, the spatial organization of population and economic activities are closely related to energy consumption either through agglomeration economies in urban areas or the lack of scale economy in sub- and exurban areas. Similarly, as firms make their location choices, the consideration of competition, economies of scale and economies of scope tend to create spatially correlated carbon emissions. Both international and regional trades further complicate the spatial distribution of carbon emissions. These challenging questions offer great opportunities for spatial economists to contribute their expertise and insights for both basic and applied policy-relevant research.

Within this context, the objective of this Special Issue will be on

  1. how spatial economics could contribute to the regional impacts of climate change, carbon emission and policy designs for carbon neutrality, 
  2. how the climate change, carbon emission and carbon neutral policies affect regional development and disparities, 
  3. how spatial configuration influences energy-based demand and carbon emission, 
  4. what cross-cutting insights may be gained from investigating the role of space in shaping carbon abatement.

This special issue seeks to advance our understanding of the spatial dimensions of climate change, carbon emission and the underlying mechanisms of spatial interactions.
We encourage the submission of research articles with any of the following characteristics (but not limited to): 

  • Climate change, carbon emissions, carbon-neutral policies and their impacts on the regional development/disparities
  • Heterogeneity in carbon emission across space
  • Household/firm/industry location and greenhouse gases emission
  • Compact cities and energy consumption
  • Sprawled development, energy consumption and carbon emission
  • Trade, transportation and carbon emission
  • Urban planning and energy efficiency
  • Spatial model of carbon behavior
  • Climate change, urban forms and environmental performance

Special issue submission:

The submission deadline for this special issue is May 31 2023. We seek manuscripts including theoretical models of economic geography and empirical studies on driving forces of carbon emission as well as identifying the impacts of global warming on economic and social outcomes. Authors should submit complete manuscripts by the submission deadline via the Annals of Regional Science online submission system at

Guest Editors:

Yong Chen– Department of Applied Economics, Oregon State University, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jian Wang – SILC Business School, Shanghai University, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Xiwei Zhu – School of Economics, Zhejiang University, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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The Regional Science Association International (RSAI), founded in 1954, is an international community of scholars interested in the regional impacts of national or global processes of economic and social change.

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