Carbon emission reduction effect of innovative city pilot policies in China: based on the staggered difference-in-difference model
Environmental economics theory suggests that the technological effects of increased innovation capacity can drive stable economic growth and act as a major means to mitigate regional environmental pollution levels. Therefore, science and technology innovation is the key to achieving low-carbon and green development. This study examined the influence of China’s Pilot Policy for Innovative Cities on greenhouse gas emissions and its operational mechanism. By employing both quantitative and qualitative approaches, we successfully examined the impact of the policy on the nation’s carbon emissions peaks. The findings indicated that adopting an urban pilot policy can effectively decelerate the increase of carbon emissions in cities. Additionally, the policy had a more pronounced impact on emission reduction in major urban areas and provinces. A mechanism test revealed that the policy could help reduce urban carbon emissions by implementing various technological innovations and spatial intensification. The results of this research offer significant theoretical support for adopting urban pilot policies and encourage the advancement of eco-friendly growth in Chinese urban areas.