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Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies: A Scientometric Analysis of Social Science Disciplines

Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies: A Scientometric Analysis of Social Science Disciplines ORIGINAL RESEARCH published: 18 October 2021 doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.761736 Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies: A Scientometric Analysis of Social Science Disciplines 1 1,2 2,3,4 Yuan Zhang , Chung-Lien Pan and Han-Teng Liao * 1 2 Accounting School, Nanfang College, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China, Higher Education Impact Assessment Center, Nanfang College, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China, School of Public Administration, Nanfang College, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China, School of Literature and Communication, Nanfang College, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China Carbon neutrality, or “net zero”, has become the impact assessment project of human impact on Earth, increasingly structured to examine the implications, for the environment and people, of proposed actions and consequences of inaction. International and local collaboration efforts have been made with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality or “net- zero” emissions; thus, policies and technological innovations have been developed. Such impact-oriented risk assessment and control efforts amount to carbon-neutral pathways. Although such pathways may diverge in terms of energy, resources, and cost, it is critical to Edited by: summarize essential and promising preparatory work on related policies and technologies Tsun Se Cheong, to inform both policy-makers and social scientists to take actions. Through a scientometric Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR China analysis and systematic review of the latest social science literature, the study identified the Reviewed by: size, scope and exemplar work for each social science discipline on carbon neutrality, Benson Lam, based on 907 articles collected in early 2021 from the Web of Science database. This Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR China study reveals a set of disciplines focusing on certain common and distinct aspects of Yongping Sun, carbon neutrality. By outlining the possibilities and application areas for future research and Hubei University of Economics, China policy development for socio-technical transition towards a net-zero or post-carbon future, *Correspondence: this study has contributed to the understanding of the global efforts to achieve a clearer Han-Teng Liao and viable carbon-neutral pathway. In conclusion, as many aspects of the planet and h.liao@oxon.org humans have become datafied, digitized, and networked, carbon neutrality, as the Specialty section: ecological indicator that guide human production and consumption patterns, must This article was submitted to take on a central role in guiding our conscious green digital transformation of many Environmental Economics and Management, political, economic, social and psychological aspects of our societies according to the a section of the journal existing and emerging social science knowledge. Frontiers in Environmental Science Keywords: decarbonization, carbon information, sustainable consumption and production, carbon accounting, Received: 20 August 2021 social science, just transition, socio-technical transition, carbon management Accepted: 20 September 2021 Published: 18 October 2021 Citation: Zhang Y, INTRODUCTION Pan C-L and Liao H-T (2021) Carbon Neutrality To prevent global warming, an urgent threat to life on Earth, achieving carbon neutrality has become Policies and Technologies: A an important goal that is pursued by various organizations across the world, with the ultimate aim of Scientometric Analysis of Social measuring and controlling direct and indirect emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other Science Disciplines. greenhouse gasses (GHG), such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) (Smith and Front. Environ. Sci. 9:761736. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.761736 Fletcher, 2020). When governments adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015 at the 21st Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 1 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies Conference of the Parties (COP21) in the United Nations interactions between the human world and planetary systems Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the (Pihl et al., 2021). New methods and data are needed to support Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was monitoring and decision-making systems, such as using remote requested to publish a report. The report was later released in sensing big data for more precise and efficient forest resource 2018 and was titled, “Global Warming of 1.5 C, an IPCC special management and policy-making (Wang et al., 2021). Thus, to report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 C above pre- achieve carbon neutrality, social science knowledge must be industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission developed to understand the multiple aspects of preparing pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response human societies for a sustainable transition for the mitigation to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and of climate change. By informing decision-makers and collective efforts to eradicate poverty” (IPCC, 2018). In this report, scientific actions, such knowledge will help researchers and policy-makers findings regarding the potential impacts and associated risks of design and implement policies and technologies that work in global warming were summarized, with language phrases such as initiating and implementing individual, organizational, and social “to neutralize emissions,”“carbon neutrality,” etc. In short, changes. This explains the rationales behind global initiatives neutralizing the emissions of greenhouse gases caused by such as bringing transparency and rigor to the voluntary carbon human activities [“the root cause of global warming” (IPCC, market (Twidale, 2021) and research that connects mortality with 2018)] requires both robust scientific understanding of the carbon emissions under the notion of “the mortality cost of impacts of global warming on both natural and human carbon” (Bressler, 2021; Schwartz, 2021). Social science systems and collective action on strengthening and knowledge matters. implementing the global response. In 2020, China and the To the best knowledge of the authors, based on our research European Union (EU), two of the world’s top emitters, and analysis of related literature, there has so far been no pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060 and 2050, systematic review of social science knowledge on carbon respectively (Harvey, 2020), by invoking policies to move the neutrality using scientometric or bibliometric methods, economy towards sustainability (Mallapaty, 2020). Japan also has whereas such bibliometric analysis on the wider and more made a similar pledge for the date of 2050 (METI, 2020). Major developed topic such as circular economy have be conducted companies such as Apple, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, BP, Ford, (e.g., Cui and Zhang, 2018; Meseguer-Sánchez et al., 2021). An General Motors, and FedEx have also pledged to become carbon updated understanding of carbon neutrality social science neutral. Companies’ disclosures of their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) literature focusing on the relationship between policies and emissions also highlight the vital role of companies in mitigating technologies is expected to be useful in informing the debates the effects of global warming, which requires cost-effective and and decisions surrounding the goal of achieving carbon verifiable accounting for emissions (Downie and Stubbs, 2013; neutrality, along with diverse stakeholders across different Diniz et al., 2021). These carbon neutrality pledges made by industrial sectors and knowledge domains. Such an major political and economic entities demonstrate the understanding will not only help to guide the urgent policy, widespread commitment to galvanize action on the climate research, and technology innovations with an initial road map, crisis. Since the pathways used to achieve carbon neutrality but also identify the challenges and opportunities in the design require a viable socio-technical transition from industrial and application of relevant policies and technologies. To gain processes based on petroleum, coal, and gasoline towards a both general and specific social knowledge, it is important to more environmentally friendly sustainable future (Wang et al., provide a systematic review of carbon neutrality literature to 2020), it is thus essential to focus on the political, economic, summarize how social science knowledge can contribute to the social, and psychological aspects of carbon neutrality. worldwide collective efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. Indeed, the multidisciplinary nature of carbon neutrality goes The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of social beyond science and technology and involves issues such as science literature on the topic of carbon neutrality, asking the policies, investment, communication, behavior change and following research questions: adaption, and international relations (Hawken, 2017; Farnworth, 2018). For instance, combining social science 1) When has the intellectual structure of the knowledge base knowledge and artificial intelligence techniques can advance developed, and by whom? innovations, as exemplified by a promising research agenda on 2) How and when has the conceptual structure of the knowledge transnational industry cooperation (TIC) and transnational base developed? university cooperation (TUC) innovations, especially in the 3) Where and how has the social structure of the knowledge base context of EU–China science, technology, and innovation developed? cooperation (Cai et al., 2019). In another example, efforts to 4) Where and what has been contributed from the social science contribute to a sustainable transition have encountered reactions disciplines? from entities with vested interests, such as the petroleum and coal industry, often in political lobby activities and misinformation To answer the above questions regarding the overall campaigns or “green washing” efforts (Smith and Fletcher, 2020). contribution of social sciences to the topic of carbon neutrality Ten social, economic and legal insights have also been or decarbonization, a scientometric and systematic review was summarized in climate science research since mid-2019, conducted based on Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science (WoS) highlighting the need for advancing knowledge about the database using science mapping tools, as detailed in the next Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 2 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies section. By answering these descriptive, analytical, and reflective As one important dimension of the research fronts is “a questions, this paper aims to contribute to the existing human posteriori constructs that provide both highly specificand knowledge on the topic of carbon neutrality by focusing on the broad access to the subject matter” (Garfield, 1994), the socio-technical pathways that social science knowledge has WoS research area’s social sciences category contains 25 already contributed and ought to contribute. disciplines ranging from archaeology to women’sstudies. Such categorization has been assigned by the WoS experts at the levels of journals and books. Thus, the WoS research areas are features at the level of journals. Given the multi- MATERIALS AND METHODS disciplinary nature of carbon neutrality, it is important to Science mapping (Cobo et al., 2011) and scoping review mapping examine the disciplinary features of the literature by not (Fridell et al., 2019) aim to use the visualization (Small, 1999)of limiting our scope of search to the social-science-only index “research fronts” (Garfield, 1994), knowledge structure, or such as SSCI. intellectual bases (Persson, 1994) to gain insight. For such In terms of the document type, this review examined articles, visualization outcomes to be meaningful, especially for the book chapters, and reviews. Although the WoS does provide research questions raised above, a careful research design is conference proceedings such as CPCI, this review does not needed to analyze social science knowledge in various include them because the quality and quantity of such “research fronts” that are accessible for both policy makers proceedings may differ widely across various social science and researchers. disciplines. By focusing on journal articles and books, this review should provide a more succinct picture of the overall Science Mapping Approach knowledge base of the carbon neutrality literature. Our science mapping research, which aims to facilitate theoretical In terms of topics, a series of synonyms of carbon neutrality, and empirical development across the main and emerging social along with its related topics of carbon accounting and sciences disciplines, has conducted a scientometric analysis on the decarbonization, were chosen. The assumption is that the use topic of carbon neutrality. The ultimate objective of this paper is of these terms in the title, abstract, or keywords of work indicates to provide a holistic and systematic overview of the social science the authors’ intention to discuss, at the very least, topics such as research of carbon neutrality worldwide over the years to shed carbon footprints or decarbonization, which have implications on light on carbon neutrality policies and technologies. Instead of reaching carbon neutrality. examining a specific policy or technology, the scientometric The overall research design consists of a query design, a data approach, along with its bibliometric methods and data, can process, and a taxonomy design to explore the policies and provide a valuable overall picture that allows researchers across technologies that contribute to the goal of carbon neutrality, different disciplines to understand the composition and structure with a focus on the work across social science disciplines. of the intellectual knowledge base of carbon neutrality. To this end, this paper used quantitative science mapping techniques to Query Design categorize and visualize the disciplinary venues and topical focus The query design consists mainly of two parts: topics and of carbon neutrality research and then complemented it with brief disciplines. As shown in the query below, the first part aims to traditional research reviews of selected articles that are relevant to cover the relevant literature, which is expressed by the field tag of the overall discussions of carbon neutrality policies and “Topic” (i.e., TS) and a series of synonyms and underlying topics technologies. of carbon neutrality that are joined by “OR” Boolean operators. Raw Materials � TS  (“carbon neutrality” OR “carbon neutral*” OR Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science (WoS) database was used, “carbon-neutral*” OR “carbon positive*” OR “carbon- along with the WoS Core Collection of SCI-Expanded, SSCI, positive*” OR “carbon negative*” OR “carbon-negative*” A&HCI, and ESCI indices, to collect the bibliometric data for OR “carbon accounting” OR “net-zero” OR “decarboni? analysis in this review. It should be noted that SCI-Expanded and ation”) AND SU  (“Social Sciences” OR “Archaeology” OR ESCI journals were included. Some journals are indexed in more “Area Studies” OR “Biomedical Social Sciences” OR than one index, for instance, one of the top journals, Energy “Business and Economics” OR “Communication” Policy, is indexed both by SCI-Expanded and SSCI. OR “Criminology and Penology” OR “Cultural Studies” Web of Science offers a subject categorization scheme called OR “Demography” OR “Development Studies” OR “research areas” that covers five broad disciplinary categories “Education and Educational Research” OR “Ethnic (Clarivate Analytics, 2020): Studies” OR “Family Studies” OR “Geography” OR “Government and Law” OR “International Relations” OR � Arts and Humanities, “Linguistics” OR “Mathematical Methods In Social � Life Sciences and Biomedicine, Sciences” OR “Psychology” OR “Public Administration” � Physical Sciences, OR “Social Issues” OR “Social Sciences Other Topics” � Social Sciences, OR “Social Work” OR “Sociology” OR “Urban Studies” � Technology. OR “Women’s Studies”) Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 3 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies Similarly, the second part consists of the field tag of “Research were replaced by the common name without volume numbers. Area” (i.e., SU) and a set of disciplines under the WoS research Such data preparation work facilitated more accurate science area’s social sciences category. The two parts of the “Topic” query mapping (van Eck and Waltman, 2014). These thesaurus files are and “Research Area” query were joined by an “AND” Boolean essential ground work for scientometric methods such as operator, which should give us initial database search results keyword co-occurrence analysis because the preprocessing containing social science literature on carbon neutrality. work can remove duplicate terms and expressions in a more It should be noted that the series of synonyms have been standardized consistent fashion. gathered through an iterative snowballing process that begins To implement scientometric analysis, the data sets were with the baseline terms of decarbonization and carbon neutrality. processed by VOSviewer (Yu et al., 2020) Bibliometrix (Aria Based on the top keywords of the initial datasets, closely-related and Cuccurullo, 2017) and Python data science packages to gain terms such as “net-zero” and “carbon accounting” terminologies insight. In particular, the use of the Python Data Analysis Library (e.g., those containing negative and positive sides) have been (a.k.a. pandas) allowed the “split-apply combine strategy” included in the search query. Other more detailed methods or (Wickham, 2011) to be implemented to break up the searched terms were not included because the purpose of research aims to outcomes into manageable pieces (e.g., the WoS disciplines of focus first on the comprehensive overview of the carbon “research areas”, topics, sources, etc.) and then explore how these neutrality literature, and thus adding terms from specific pieces constitute the whole. Based on the “split-apply-combine subfields or subdomains may render such comprehensive strategy”, the largely quantitative data analysis based on a series of coverage unbalanced. This component of research design will combined descriptive statistics, scientometric analyses, or social be further discussed later in the Conclusion section as the trade- network analyses of scientometric relationships aimed to provide off between comprehensiveness and depth. the empirical structure of the knowledge base. The statistical network analysis was conducted using the Data Processes Network Analysis in Python (a.k.a. NetworkX) library, In accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for resulting in network centrality metrics (i.e., closeness Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines (Moher et al., centrality, eigenvector centrality, and betweenness centrality) 2009), the screened resources for the study consist of searched and clustering coefficient (Onnela et al., 2005). Although these articles indexed by Clarivate Analytics’ SCI-EXPANDED, SSCI, advanced metrics are not often reported in full by bibliometric A&HCI, and ESCI indices for articles published in reliable analysis (e.g. Cui and Zhang, 2018; Meseguer-Sánchez et al., academic sources. Our initial database searching resulted in 2021), the study will report them as complementary 918 articles, which was collected on February 1, 2021. verification of the visualization outcomes. Based on the Bibliographic data (the “Full Record and Citation References” network analysis conventions (Freeman, 1978; Hansen et al., option was selected) of the documents were downloaded for 2020), the centrality measures consists of closeness centrality further analysis, along with “meta data” such as the article title, (how close a node is to the rest of the nodes), eigenvector author name(s), organization affiliations, keywords, abstracts, centrality (how central a node is based on its neighbors), and publication source, reference citations, and various data. betweenness centrality (how central a node is in bridging different Second, during the eligibility phase, we first decided to segments of the network). In addition, different from these examine the literature written in the English language, leaving centrality measures, the clustering coefficient metric measures out 11 articles. The 907 articles found constitute the basis of this the density of the 1.5-degree egocentric network for each node, scientometric analysis. We then decided to examine the full-text indicating how connected the connected nodes are. These metrics articles of the most relevant ones, for further qualitative synthesis, can then complement and verify the observations of network in terms of 1) the number of citations received and 2) the most visualization. Following the bibliometric analysis conventions, recently published. The selection criteria reflect the research the number of clusters are determined by human trial-and-error inquiries on 1) knowledge bases and 2) emerging research. For for meaningful and succinct algorithm-based grouping outcomes each discipline, we identified the most cited and most recent for the authors. Such clustering outcomes are reproducible with a documents, then the documents were examined based on the set of parameters, but other outcomes can be produced for fewer relevance of their contribution to the carbon neutrality social or more groups. science literature. More classic literature review work was CiteSpace (Chen, 2016) was also used—mainly for creating the conducted on the selected work across different social science citation burst tables—with the aim to see which topics had gained disciplines. significantly more attention in recent years or over certain periods Third, during the final “included phase” of the PRISMA, data of time. This can complement the time-related findings as part of preparation work was conducted to provide more meaningful a more holistic understanding over time (Chen, 2004). insights. Via iterative processes of three experts’ work, two thesaurus files were compiled for both keywords and Scientometric Methods to Show the publication sources to disambiguate concepts and entities. For example, author keywords such as “climate change policy” and Structure of Knowledge Base “climate policy frameworks” were replaced by the more This study implements several scientometric methods to frequently used term “climate policy”. Different volumes of determine the overall intellectual, conceptual, and social book sources (e.g., Annual Review of Resource Economics) structure of the knowledge base (Donthu et al., 2021), Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 4 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 1 | Basic information about the bibliometric dataset. base as documented and cited in the empirical evidence of academic publications. Description Results Size Timespan 1983–2021 Sources (Journals, Books, etc) 266 RESULTS Documents 907 References 42,244 The findings of the study are organized into four sections, moving Descriptive statistics Average years from publication 5.15 Average citations per documents 16.94 from the main structural work to the emerging peripheral work, Average citations per year per doc 2.248 with the purpose to cover both the common and distinct features Contents Keywords Plus (ID) 1,685 of the social science knowledge on the topic. The first three Author’s Keywords (DE) 2,114 sections demonstrate the intellectual, conceptual, and social Author Authors 2,247 Author Appearances 2,716 structure of the knowledge base, and the last section samples Authors of single-authored documents 206 the main work across various social science sub-disciplines. Authors of multi-authored documents 2,041 Table 1 lists basic information about the dataset, with its size, Author collaboration Single-authored documents 223 descriptive statistics, contents, author and author collaboration Documents per Author 0.404 numbers. It has 907 documents over the timespan of 1983–2021. Authors per Document 2.48 Co-Authors per Documents 2.99 For the purpose of examining policy implications, the years of Collaboration Index 2.98 2015 and 2020 were chosen based on the Paris Agreement in December 2015. The first time period (1983–2015, N  310) marks the early period before the Paris Agreement which includes complemented by systematic review of the top-cited work from the Kyoto Protocol adopted in December 2012. The second time the social science disciplinary perspective. period (2016–2019, N  382) covers the most of the 5-years circle To answer the first question regarding the intellectual of the global climate action. The main reason for the third time structure, the scientometric methods of historiograph and period (2020–2021, N  215) is to explore the emerging author-co-citation analysis have been implemented to reveal knowledge by comparisons. Note that the number of the clusters of organizational and individual authors have been publications is relatively even for each period, ranging from contributed to the main knowledge base. Since published work 215 to 382. can accumulate citations over time, the citation approach (Small, Intellectual Structure 1999) can provide an accurate mapping of clusters of items (e.g., documents, sources, etc.). Based on the most prominent direct To explore the intellectual structure of the knowledge base, the citations, the historiograph maps out the intellectual links in a study begins with a historiography and an author co-citation chronological order, revealing the basic works in the dataset. The network, thereby describing the most cited work and its authors author co-citation analysis visualizes the relationship network (including the organization authors). The findings should provide among cited work as the fundamental sources. some descriptions that may amount to the summary of the main To answer the second question on the conceptual structure, schools of thought, and their shared and divergent concepts/ the scientometric methods of keyword co-occurrence, keywords issues. Indeed, for instance, the main individual and organization with strongest citation bursts, and a series of thematic maps have authors have evolved mostly from European and international been conducted to reveal the clusters of ideas and their dynamic organization actors, as evidenced by findings below. evolutions over different time periods. Keyword co-occurrence Historiograph maps show the existing relationship among topics, and the advanced methods of thematic maps and keywords with Figure 1 shows the bibliometric historiograph by using science mapping tool bibliometrix (Aria and Cuccurullo, 2017). Such citation bursts provide additional temporal insights to the evolution of conceptual structure. mapping first creates the historical direct citation network from To answer the third question on the social structure, the the most-cited work and then visualizes the network in a scientometric methods of bibliometric coupling analysis chronological order (Garfield, 2004). The following subsections (Jarneving, 2007; Boyack and Klavans, 2010) have been will describe these networks, from bottom to the top. applied to the journal, discipline, organization, and country information of the bibliometric data. Previous work has also Systems and Technologies Cluster shown that insights into clusters of disciplines can be derived The two networks at the bottom of Figure 1 can be described as the based on WoS disciplinary information (Chen and Liao, 2020). “systems and technologies” cluster of networks for its focus on To answer the last question on the social science contribution, technology and systems thinking. The concerns on technological the study uses the bibliometric data provided by the WoS’ subject forecasting and socio-economic change have shown in the relatively more early work by Nakićenović (1996) on categorization scheme’s social sciences category. Thus, the disciplinary landscape will be shown according to, and based decarbonization and later by Tapio et al. (2007) on European upon, such a categorization assignment. energy and transport sectorial development on both Altogether, the scientometric analysis of carbon neutrality decarbonization and dematerialization. Both work highlights the social science literature is expected to show the knowledge strong link between decarbonization and dematerialization, Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 5 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 1 | Bibliometric historiography graph showing the historical evolution of the most-cited work: with parameter node value 30. arguing that carbon emission represents one of the largest mass decomposition analysis of the decarbonization pathways in four flows in the human activities on Earth. Most cited work is the major economies of China, India, Europe and U.S., suggesting that article by Grübler et al. (1999) on energy technologies and global while energy efficiency remains the main strategy, the change, of which Nakićenović is the second author. The main decarbonization strategy after 2030, and the negative carbon research question is framed as technological choices that have long- emissions after 2050 are critical. The work informs the term deterministic impacts on industrial societies and the natural computable general equilibrium (CGE) analysis of the EU environment, with an analytical focus on energy technologies that Decarbonisation Roadmap 2050 by Hübler and Löschel (2013). have been creating problems in the atmospheric environment. It proposes a framework that integrates a forest sector model, a Such a research agenda has assumed the historical trend of carbon accounting model, an ecosystem model, and climate change decarbonization must be accelerated by the conscious scenarios. The computable general equilibrium (CGE) is also used technological choice and social change. As shown in the second earlier by Fragkos et al. (2017) to draw policy implications on line of work from the bottom of Figure 1, the article by Grübler European Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). et al. (1999) is cited by Lilliestam et al. (2012) on the costs and risks Altogether, such a line of work, as presented in the two networks at analysis of carbon capture and storage (CCS) versus concentrating the bottom of Figure 1, can thus be called “systems and solar power (CSP) comparison. In turn, the work is cited by technologies” for their focus on the technologies and systems Marcucci and Fragkos (2015) on the exploratory multi-model perspective. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 6 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies Accounting and Accountability Cluster (especially energy-related issues as related to carbon emissions) and different focuses thus their main approaches (i.e., the system- At the middle of Figure 1, the network begins by Bumpus and Liverman (2008) and Kolk et al. (2008) can be described as the modelling for the systems and technologies cluster, calculative “accounting and accountability” cluster. Although Bumpus and accountability for the accounting and accountability cluster, the Liverman (2008) focus more on international governance of pathway research for the transition and scenario cluster). carbon offsets (i.e., Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism), and Bumpus and Liverman (2008) focus more Author Co-citation Analysis on corporate responses in the form of carbon emission Providing another perspective into the intellectual structure, the author-co-citation analysis is a bibliometric method commonly reporting and disclosure mechanisms, both have informed the ensuing carbon accounting research (Lohmann, 2009; Ascui and used to show the authors’ influence and impact through co- citation networks (Boyack and Klavans, 2010; Aria and Lovell, 2011; Bowen and Wittneben, 2011; Milne and Grubnic, 2011; Gibassier and Schaltegger, 2015; Vesty et al., 2015) with the Cuccurullo, 2017). At the level of authors commonly cited in the dataset, Figure 2 shows the visualization of the co-citation main publication venues such as Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal. The premise of such work can be seen network. At the center to the right, the presence of organization authors as based upon the calculative (or calculative agency) and persuasive features of the social need to perform (i.e., the such as International Energy Agency (IEA), European performativity in the sociology of quantification). As such Commission, United Nations Framework Convention on accounting performativity is applied in the international Climate Change (UNFCCC), Intergovernmental Panel on governance and corporate reporting and disclosure efforts, the Climate Change (IPCC), World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United notion of accountability via calculative agency becomes central to the cluster. Nations, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), clearly Transition and Scenario Cluster demonstrates the significance of these organizations as important At the upper-side of Figure 1, the network begins by Strachan sources on the carbon emissions, climate change and energy. The and Kannan. (2008), Strachan et al. (2009) and Steckel et al. work by individual lead authors consists of Beng Wah Ang’s work (2011) can be described as the “transition and scenario” cluster. on decomposition analysis for energy policymaking (e.g., Ang, Although the work by Strachan and Kannan. (2008); Strachan 2004); Rogelj et al.’s perspective published in Nature (Rogelj et al., et al. (2009) appears to be focusing on systems modelling work 2016) on the need for additional enhancement of national, sub- like the work in the “systems and technologies” cluster, the focus national and non-state actions beyond the Intended Nationally on specific policy-making insights for decarbonization scenarios Determined Contributions (INDCs) required by the Paris (United Kingdom), highlights the interface between modeling Agreement, and Böhringer et al.’s major work on carbon and policy. Similarly, the work by Steckel et al. (2011) also tariffs (Böhringer et al., 2015). The work also includes an provides scenarios-modeling work, on the case of China as opinion piece on fairness measures (Peters et al., 2015), a indispensable role in the global goals of decarbonization, major 700-page report for the United Kingdom government which in turn informed the research on “un-burnable oil” (Stern, 2007), and a body of work initiated by Gössling et al. (McGlade and Ekins, 2014). on international tourism (e.g., Gössling et al., 2006). The cluster features a line of research focusing on pathways, At the lower left of Figure 2, the blue cluster consists of non- especially on the global and national energy systems’ transition organizational authors’ work, mainly on socio-technical towards decarbonization. It features a global collaborative transition. It features the main work by Frank W. Geels and initiative to share pathway-modeling findings and capacities, Benjamin K. Sovacool, that culminates to the article called under the term “deep decarbonization” (Bataille et al., 2016a; “Sociotechnical transitions for deep decarbonization” (Geels Bataille et al., 2016b). Based on scenario-modelling findings, the et al., 2017), based on their past and ongoing work such as decarbonization pathway findings have been published for Japan socio-technical transitions (e.g., Geels, 2005; Geels, 2010; Geels, (Oshiro et al., 2016), South Africa (Altieri et al., 2016), and France 2018; Geels, 2019) and transition pathways (e.g., Sovacool, 2017; and Germany (Mathy et al., 2016), right after the Paris Agreement Köhler et al., 2019). It also presents work by Unruh (2000) on in December 2015. An exploratory analysis has been conducted “carbon lock-in” and by Bulkeley and Betsill (2003) on the role of on how such decarbonization pathways may impact on global global cities in climate change. The cluster also features work by energy trade flows (Pye et al., 2016). An approach for “dynamic the aforementioned work by Nakićenović (1996) and the seminal adaptive policy pathway” has been proposed (Mathy et al., 2016). work on energy technology and global environmental changes by In particular, how different modelling approaches can be applied Grübler et al. (1999), which will be further discussed in in different national or regional contexts for deep section 3.4.1. decarbonization pathways have be discussed for both Finally at the upper left of Figure 2, the green cluster consist of developed and developing countries (Pye and Bataille, 2016). major United Kingdom bodies such as Department of Energy and Although it is beyond the scope of the study to produce a Climate Change (DECC), Office of Gas and Electricity Markets complete stand-alone bibliometric historiography analysis, the (Ofgem), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial three clusters, as identified and discussed above, demonstrate the Strategy (BEIS), and Climate Change Committee (CCC), an common fundamental cross-cluster concerns on decarbonization independent, statutory body established under the Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 7 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 2 | Author co-citation analysis. United Kingdom Climate Change Act 2008. It also features the betweenness centrality. The measurements confirm the core- work on the analysis of government failure and rent-seeking in periphery structure. Although the top nodes for each cluster climate change policy (Helm, 2010) and the main energy (A-2, B-1, C-13, and D-16) can be close near the core of the modeling documentation (Loulou et al., 2004). network, each cluster contains other peripheral nodes with In short, the historiography (section 3.1.1) and author co- consistently high clustering coefficient values, confirming the citation network (section 3.1.2) provide several insights on the clustering outcomes. intellectual structure of the knowledge base, revealing the Note that the second part of the ID corresponds to the ranking fundamental concerns, authoritative organizational and number based on the metrics of “total links strength” first and individual sources, and divergent focuses. then “occurrences,” as shown to the right of the column ID in Table 2. The metric “total link strength” is the derived indicator Conceptual Structure and Its Evolution provided by VOSviewer to attribute the total strength of the links To explore the conceptual structure, the study begins with a of a node with other nodes in the network, and such an keyword co-occurrence analysis, followed by a selected list of attribution suggests how nodes are closely related in terms of keywords with the strongest citation bursts, and a set of thematic distance (MacDonald and Dressler, 2018; Yu et al., 2020; Elisha evolution maps. Together they will provide the relationship and and Viljoen, 2021). the temporal dynamics among the keywords as the empirical The top keyword nodes in terms of the number of occurrences bases to understand the structure of concepts and its evolution. (as visualized in Figure 3 as the size of the nodes and listed in Indeed, for instance, politics and just transition emerge as the Table 7) are “decarbonization” (B-1), with 148 occurrences, most recent component contributed by mostly European actors, “climate change” (A-2), with 128 occurrences. The study as evidenced by multiple findings as follows. describes each cluster with the top keyword accordingly. Cluster B (decarbonization, in green) and cluster A (climate Keyword Co-occurrence Analysis change, in red) occupy the central positions of the network To detect the main topics and evolving research frontiers, the diagram, taking up at least two-thirds of the space. The two study has conducted keyword co-occurrence analysis based on clusters also connect to clusters C (low-carbon transition, in blue) the author keywords. Because author keywords represent the and D (politics, in yellow). succinct concepts and topics of the articles, the keyword co- Overall, the conceptual structure is dominated by two major occurrence analysis can reveal the conceptual structure of themes of climate change and decarbonization, represented by knowledge base, as these keywords can be further clustered clusters A and B respectively, while the themes of transition and into categories of concepts based on the network relationship. politics appear to emerge, represented by clusters C and D Figure 3 and Table 2 show the keyword co-occurrence respectively. The key themes such as carbon accounting, analysis outcomes of the top 30 keywords in four clusters. The carbon neutrality and carbon trading in cluster A are closely first digit of the ID represents the membership of four clusters: related to the sectors of transport and forestry in the same cluster. two large-size clusters (A, and B), a mid-size cluster (C) and a The key themes such as decarbonization, climate policy, smaller cluster (D). The clustering coefficient values are higher for governance, and net zero in cluster B are closely related to the the peripheral and often low-ranking nodes with low-level of sector of energy and the entity of European Union in the same Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 8 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 3 | Keyword co-occurrence network visualization, with each node representing a keyword (Table 2). cluster. The main conceptual components of knowledge base can mechanism occur intensively around 2006 and 2010, and they thus be summarized as two main set of themes: one is carbon are closely related to the forestry sector and its critical role in accounting efforts for climate change mitigation (especially in carbon neutrality discussion. Then, the concepts of bioenergy relation to the sectors of transport and forestry), another is and carbon accounting occur intensively around 2013, decarbonization governance for energy transition (especially in indicating the calculative agency in analyzing technological relation to the energy sector and European Union). choices at that time. After the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, The smaller clusters indicate perhaps emerging or declining set of the themes of Germany, electricity market and transport emerge. themes. Clusters C and D represents two sets of themes: one is low- The last 3 years of 2019–2020 show the intensive occurrences of carbon and sustainability transition (especially in relation to the European Union, just transition, energy storage, city, net-zero and Paris Agreement), and another is about politics and just transition. energy transition, indicating these themes are indeed emerging, not declining ones. Keywords With Strongest Citation Bursts To further clarify the evolution of research themes (i.e., emerging Thematic Evolution and Maps or declining), the findings detailed in Table 3 further reveal the To advance further understanding of the conceptual structure, the temporal dimensions of the top keywords with strongest citation study has conducted a thematic evolution analysis, following bursts. the thematic analysis conventions (Cobo et al., 2011). Using the Indicating the intensity of attention over certain time periods, aforementioned time periods, Figure 4 shows the thematic evolution topics with the strongest citation burst provide additional graph generated from Bibliometrix. It reveals the continued focus on insights, showing the topical transitions of the knowledge base renewable energy and climate change, and the recent rise of carbon over time (Chen, 2004). For instance, the keyword “global accounting, decarbonization and sustainability transitions, especially warming” receives relatively long-lasting, intensive attention after the Paris Agreement in 2015. from 1999 to 2011, indicated by the relative strength (3.05), Using network centrality measures, thematic maps distinguish beginning and end in Table 3. the centrality (x-axis) and density (y-axis) of themes (topics or Table 3 further enriches our understanding of the keywords here), as shown in Figures 4B–D for each periods. knowledge base so far as follows. First the concepts of Applying the common interpretations of the four quadrants of carbon sequestration, afforestation, and the “Reducing themes, the maps show the flowing four themes with distinct Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation” (REDD) features based on the centrality measures: Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 9 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 2 | Main keywords: key scientometric metrics based on keyword co-occurrence network. Keywords ID Total links Occurrences Clustering Centrality strength coefficient Eigenvector Degree Closeness Betweenness Climate change A-2 186 128 0.651 0.402 0.966 0.967 0.032 Climate change mitigation A-5 114 69 0.661 0.268 0.931 0.935 0.029 Carbon emissions A-6 104 85 0.675 0.241 0.931 0.935 0.026 Carbon accounting A-9 73 64 0.737 0.159 0.690 0.763 0.011 GHG emissions A-11 66 37 0.727 0.151 0.759 0.806 0.014 Carbon neutrality A-15 50 32 0.749 0.119 0.655 0.744 0.010 Transport A-18 37 35 0.813 0.103 0.483 0.659 0.004 Global warming A-22 33 15 0.859 0.085 0.448 0.644 0.002 Carbon trading A-23 32 20 0.778 0.077 0.621 0.725 0.007 Forestry A-25 29 25 0.781 0.068 0.517 0.674 0.005 Sustainability A-26 28 23 0.735 0.052 0.586 0.707 0.008 Emissions reduction A-28 25 16 0.842 0.057 0.552 0.690 0.004 Decarbonization B-1 203 148 0.643 0.450 1.000 1.000 0.036 Renewable energy B-3 125 91 0.667 0.279 0.931 0.935 0.028 Climate policy B-4 123 74 0.681 0.292 0.931 0.935 0.025 Policy B-7 88 49 0.763 0.230 0.690 0.763 0.009 Energy policy B-8 79 43 0.727 0.184 0.759 0.806 0.014 Electricity B-10 70 38 0.723 0.186 0.759 0.806 0.015 Governance B-12 57 32 0.779 0.141 0.690 0.763 0.009 Energy transition B-14 53 29 0.743 0.138 0.655 0.744 0.010 European Union B-19 36 16 0.817 0.087 0.552 0.690 0.004 Energy efficiency B-24 30 23 0.825 0.070 0.552 0.690 0.004 Net zero B-27 26 24 0.857 0.058 0.483 0.659 0.002 Low-carbon transition C-13 55 31 0.716 0.148 0.690 0.763 0.012 Technology C-17 42 37 0.749 0.100 0.655 0.744 0.010 Sustainability transition C-20 35 22 0.743 0.085 0.586 0.707 0.008 Paris Agreement C-21 34 19 0.824 0.093 0.586 0.707 0.005 Energy C-30 19 19 0.846 0.043 0.448 0.644 0.002 Politics D-16 43 22 0.758 0.127 0.552 0.690 0.006 Just transition D-29 23 15 0.733 0.068 0.345 0.604 0.003 � Quadrant I: motor-theme, at the upper-right, indicating the confirming the findings in section 3.2.2. The policy-related themes well-established structure; remain in the basic-theme quadrant, along with themes such as net � Quadrant II: niche-theme, at the upper-left, representing zero and carbon footprint. The themes of sustainability transition, well-established but less important structure; scenarios, renewable energy, energy transition and policy appear in � Quadrant III: emerging-declining-theme, at the lower-left, the niche-theme quadrant. neither important nor developed; Altogether, the conceptual structure of the knowledge base reveals � Quadrant IV: basic-theme, at the lower-right, important but the major and emerging themes such as decarbonization, climate under-developed; change, carbon accounting, net-zero, and just transition, the most discussed sectors such as energy, forestry and transport, and entities It is revealed by Figure 4B,for the first period, themes such as such as the European Union. After first answering the “when” carbon accounting, REDD, and forestry constitute the more well- questions, the study now turns to the “where” questions. (Where established conceptual structure, whereas the themes such as climate have such social sciences activities on carbon neutrality occurred?) change mitigation, climate policy and carbon neutrality remain in the basic-theme quadrant. For the second period, as shown in Social Structure Figure 4C, themes such as carbon accounting and forestry To explore the social structure of knowledge production, the remains well-established, joined by the theme of carbon trading. study continues to examine the main journal sources and top- Themes such as carbon neutrality, GHG emissions, transport, performing countries or regions. Together they will provide the climate change mitigation appear in the niche-theme quadrant, contextual understanding of the knowledge productions in terms whereas renewable energy, climate policy and policy appear in of their geographic and disciplinary contexts. Indeed, the body of the basic-theme quadrant. Confirming the previous findings knowledge has spanned across multiple geographic and based on citation bursts, the theme of electricity markets appears disciplinary contexts, as evidenced by multiple findings as follows. in the emerging-declining-theme quadrant. For the last and most Since the distribution of publications across journal sources recent period of 2019–2021, Figure 4D shows the new concept of can provide initial answers to the “where” question, it is then just transition enters the well-established motor-theme quadrant, helpful to examine the features of top journal sources. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 10 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 3 | Top keywords with the strongest citation bursts. Keywords Strength Begin End 1983–2022 Global warming 3.05 1999 2011 Energy 2.71 2001 2008 Clean development mechanism 2.55 2004 2008 Carbon sequestration 3.53 2005 2013 REDD 4.28 2006 2014 Afforestation 2.54 2006 2010 Carbon neutrality 4.24 2009 2012 Carbon 4.17 2010 2015 Bioenergy 2.6 2010 2016 Carbon accounting 2.67 2013 2013 Carbon emission 3.03 2015 2016 Germany 2.78 2016 2017 Electricity market 2.52 2016 2016 Transport 2.95 2018 2018 European Union 5.26 2019 2019 Just transition 4.49 2019 2020 Energy storage 2.99 2019 2019 City 2.49 2019 2019 Net zero 4.36 2020 2020 Energy transition 2.96 2020 2022 bibliographic coupling of all journal sources that have five or more Top Journal Sources and Their Multi- and Cross-Disciplinary Features articles. Bibliographic coupling analysis can allow us to map and cluster the journals based on the similarities of the bibliographic As mentioned earlier, the study employed the “split-apply- combine strategy” (Wickham, 2011) of data analysis. Thus, references (Jarneving, 2007; Boyack and Klavans, 2010). Table 4 shows the cross-tabulation results by breaking up the In total, 26 journal sources out of the 887 articles of the second bibliographic records according to the publication sources (see time period met the criteria. The bibliographic coupling analysis the first column) and then exploring their respective disciplines outcomes resulted in five clusters, as visualized in Figure 5.Atthe and top topics (see the second and third columns). center is the core cluster of journal sources with label initial A in The top journal sources are Energy Policy, Climate Policy, Energy color red, such as Energy Policy (A-1), Climate Policy (A-2), Energy Economics (A-3), Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Economics, Ecological Economics, Global Environmental Change- Human and Policy Dimensions,and Technological Forecasting and Dimensions (A-4), and Technological Forecasting and Social Change (A-6). Since Figure 5 and Table 5 together show the bibliographic Social Change,asshown in the first column of Table 4.The ranking numbers are shown in parentheses before the journal title names, and coupling relationship among journal sources, the “total link strength” indicates the total strength of such a bibliographic coupling the numbers of the publications are shown after the colon following the titles. The titles of these journals reveal the clear presence of relationship of a given journal source with other sources, thereby substantiating the empirical claims of research fronts as networks of policies, economics, and environmental and social changes, indicating dynamic policy and economics concerns regarding such changes. nodes based on links of bibliometric metrics. At the upper right of The dominant social science disciplines are Business and Figure 5 is the peripheral cluster of journal sources with label initial B Economics, Public Administration, and Geography, as shown in the in color green, including Accounting Auditing and Accountability second column of Table 4. The four top journal sources also belong to Journal (B-8) and Environment and Planning C-Politics and Space (B- 12). At the lower right of Figure 5 is the peripheral cluster of sources Environmental Sciences and Ecology, within the broader category of “Life Sciences and Biomedicine”, suggesting the significant cross- labeled with the initial C in blue, including Ecological Economics (C- 5), and Journal of Forest Economics (C-10).Atthe lowerleftof disciplinary feature across the disciplines of Environmental Sciences and Ecology and the social science disciplines of Business and Figure 5 is the peripheral cluster of sources labeled with the initial D in the color yellow, including Transportation Research Part A-Policy Economics, Public Administration, and Geography. Additionally, the top journal Energy Policy belongs to the discipline of Energy and Fuels, and Practice (D-7) and Transport Policy (D-9). Revealing the main research fronts while confirming the validity of bibliometric methods, which belongs to the broader category of “Technology”.The topical features are mostly dominated by the topics of “decarbonization”, Figure 5 and Table 5 show the topical and disciplinary closeness of “climate change mitigation”, “renewable energy”, “carbon accounting”, journal sources. Core cluster A not only consists of the top journals, and “sustainability transition” for the top journal sources. but also indicates the interdisciplinary nature of policy, economics, Based on the initial answers above on the features of the top five and social change, especially for energy and climate. The cluster B largely contains cross-disciplinary research fronts across the topics of journal sources, this section advances the analysis by examining the Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 11 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 4 | Thematic evolutions: the continued focus on renewable energy and the rise of carbon accounting, decarbonization and sustainability transition. (A) Thematic evolution graph, (B) Thematic map: 1983-2015, (C) Thematic map: 2016-2019, (D) Thematic map: 2019-2021. accounting management, geography, and politics. Cluster C centrality, eigenvector centrality, and betweenness centrality) concerns the research fronts of ecological, forest, and resource and clustering coefficients. economics. Cluster D relates to transportation. Cluster E, with one Overall, clusters A, B, C, D, and E show that the core clusters A node E-20, concerns sustainable tourism. Additionally, Table 5 and B are multi-disciplinary, with C, D, and E focusing on the shows the citation attributes (i.e., the absolute and normalized cross-disciplinary topics of forestry, transportation, and numbers) and the network centrality metrics (i.e., closeness sustainable tourism, respectively. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 12 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 4 | Top journal sources and their respective disciplines and topics. Top journal sources Disciplines Top topics (1) Energy policy: 252 Business and Economics ; Energy and Fuels; decarbonization: 56; renewable energy: 38; climate change mitigation: Environmental Sciences andand Ecology 21; electricity: 19; climate policy: 17; transport: 17; climate change: 14; carbon emissions: 13; energy transition: 13; energy policy: 12; GHG emissions: 11; energy efficiency: 10; carbon accounting: 6; energy system modelling: 6; just transition: 6; Paris agreement: 6; carbon trading: 5; emissions reduction: 5; energy: 5; sustainability: 5; sustainability transition: 5; bioenergy: 4; coal phase-out: 4; energy systems modelling: 4; flexibility: 4; heat pumps: 4; hydrogen: 4; net zero: 4; policy: 4; power sector: 4; United Kingdom: 4; uncertainty: 4 (2) Climate policy: 84 Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Public climate policy: 23; climate change mitigation: 21; decarbonization: 14; Administration carbon accounting: 10; carbon trading: 8; climate change: 8; energy policy: 8; Paris agreement: 8; renewable energy: 8; emissions reduction: 7; sustainability transition: 6; carbon emissions: 5; electricity: 5; energy models: 5; energy scenarios: 4; carbon leakage: 3; climate finance: 3; Kyoto protocol: 3; NDCS: 3; transport: 3 (3) Energy economics: 38 Business and Economics climate change mitigation: 8; renewable energy: 8; decarbonization: 5; carbon emissions: 4; climate policy: 4; electricity: 4; renewable integration: 4; China: 3; climate change: 3; energy modeling: 3; energy policy: 3; integrated assessment modeling: 3 (4) Ecological economics: 23 Business and Economics ; Environmental Sciences carbon accounting: 7; climate change mitigation: 5; climate change: 4; and Ecology bioenergy: 3; carbon sequestration: 3 (5–1) Global environmental change-human Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Geography climate change: 6; sustainability transition: 3 and policy dimensions: 21 2 b (5–2) Technological forecasting and social Business and Economics ; Public Administration carbon emissions: 4; climate change: 3; climate policy: 3; scenarios: 3 change: 21 Data (“Research Areas”) as assigned by the Clarivate Analytics’ WoS for each journal or book source. Disciplines (“Research Areas”) categorized by Clarivate Analytics’ WoS as belonging to social sciences. FIGURE 5 | Main journal sources: a bibliographic coupling network visualization, with each node representing a journal source (Table 5). Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 13 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 5 | Main journal sources: key scientometric metrics. Journal source ID Total Documents Citations Clustering Centrality links coefficient Closeness Eigenvector Betweenness strength Energy policy A-1 3,936 241 5,969 0.653 1.000 0.645 0.053 Climate policy A-2 2,414 79 807 0.699 0.962 0.566 0.030 Energy economics A-3 1,392 38 558 0.699 0.962 0.358 0.030 Global environmental change-human and policy A-4 905 21 716 0.653 1.000 0.232 0.053 dimensions Technological forecasting and social change A-6 629 17 385 0.708 0.926 0.159 0.027 Energy journal A-11 248 10 100 0.802 0.694 0.064 0.007 Futures A-18 172 5 89 0.801 0.806 0.042 0.018 Politics and governance A-21 153 8 20 0.779 0.758 0.040 0.016 Economics of energy and environmental policy A-23 83 6 80 0.945 0.641 0.023 0.001 Environmental politics A-24 83 5 19 0.890 0.694 0.019 0.003 Bulletin of the atomic scientists A-25 47 6 46 0.929 0.595 0.013 0.001 Open house international A-26 7 8 28 1.000 0.543 0.002 0.000 Accounting auditing and accountability journal B-8 307 8 257 0.786 0.862 0.050 0.014 Environment and planning C-politics and space B-12 235 6 18 0.908 0.735 0.042 0.003 Global environmental politics B-14 227 7 119 0.925 0.735 0.044 0.002 Geoforum B-15 198 5 95 0.867 0.735 0.037 0.005 Sustainability accounting management and policy B-19 158 6 27 0.867 0.714 0.022 0.005 journal Environment and planning A-economy and space B-22 123 6 50 0.807 0.806 0.019 0.010 Ecological economics C-5 724 22 458 0.711 0.926 0.168 0.026 Journal of forest economics C-10 262 9 67 0.867 0.714 0.046 0.004 Environmental and resource economics C-16 187 7 43 0.885 0.676 0.043 0.003 Forest policy and economics C-17 181 10 153 0.894 0.658 0.026 0.002 Transportation research Part A-policy and practice D-7 318 5 41 0.766 0.806 0.044 0.013 Transport policy D-9 264 6 127 0.858 0.735 0.043 0.005 Journal of environmental planning and management D-13 229 5 68 0.901 0.694 0.019 0.003 Journal of sustainable tourism E-20 154 6 251 0.807 0.806 0.038 0.010 From the top 5 to the top 26 journals, the multi- and cross- Austria. Clusters B and C occupy the central positions of the disciplinary features were analyzed and visualized, showing how network diagram, connecting to the main clusters A (red) on the knowledge publication is distributed across sources with their left and clusters D (yellow) and E (purple) on the right. With the associated disciplines and topics. Business and Economics, Public highest number of nodes, cluster A on the left consists of many Administration, and Geography were shown to be the most more Asian and South American countries, such as China (A-10), dominant disciplines. Japan (A-21), Brazil (A-23), India (A-2), and Singapore (A-26). Finally, the smaller cluster D (in yellow) is shown to be at the Top-Performing Countries or Regions periphery on the lower right of Figure 6, consisting of three This sub-section advances the analysis of the features of the Nordic countries—Sweden (D-7), Norway (D-11), and Finland countries, with the aim to explore national and regional (D-18)—along with New Zealand (D-19). Based on the network contributions as well as implicit collaboration (in the form of visualization (Figure 6) and its centrality indicators (Table 6), the citing the same knowledge sources) across national and regional most central nodes are England (E-1), the United States (B-2), boundaries. and Germany (C-3). At the level of countries, Figure 6 and Table 6 show visualizations of the bibliographic coupling network and key Main Research: Most-Cited Work Across scientometric indicators. The first digit of the ID represents the membership of five clusters: four mid-size clusters (A, B, Social Science Disciplines C, and E) and a smaller cluster (D). The most important node in The previous section indicates that the body of related social terms of the number of documents (as visualized in Figure 6 as science knowledge has three core clusters and other scattered the size of the nodes and listed in the column titled “Documents” peripheral work. To explore the specific details across disciplinary in Table 7) is England (E-1), with 220 documents, as part of (and often thus geographic) contexts, a total 55 articles were cluster E with other United Kingdom regions such as Scotland (E- selected for further review based on the top two most-cited 15) and Wales (E-25), as well as Denmark (E-16). The second- articles in each social science discipline. Together they will ranking node is the United States (B-2), along with Australia (B- provide a mosaic of disciplinary research with specific 4), Canada (B-5), South Africa (B-27), and Russia (B-30). Shown disciplinary and geographic details. in the lower part of Figure 6 is cluster C, which contains four To determine the measurement of “most-cited” work, this European countries: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and research has used the data of the “Total Times Cited Count” (with Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 14 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 6 | Main countries: a bibliographic coupling network visualization, with each node representing a country (Table 6). the field tag Z9), including citation data from the following environmental impact (Grübler et al., 1999; Goldemberg et al., database: Web of Science Core Collection, BIOSIS Citation 2008). Index, Chinese Science Citation Database, Data Citation Index, Both articles were published in Energy Policy, an international Russian Science Citation Index, and SciELO Citation Index. journal for the political, economic, planning, environmental, and Table 7 lists the most-cited work across different social science social aspects of energy. This exemplar research provides a deep disciplines, and it is sorted based on the number of publications analysis of the intricate relationship between energy and the (see the column headed “Counts”), which are unevenly environment, as well as the impacts of specific technologies distributed. The following discussions were systematically and policies. The human energy technology shift from coal to organized based on the clusters found in Table 8, with the oil to natural gas requires a better understanding of the impact on aim to highlight the disciplinary features. global environmental changes over time, including measurements such as unit energy of carbon pollution Business and Economics Cross-Disciplinary Core (Grübler et al., 1999). The systematic approach is also Cluster required to gain a holistic view of both the positive and Based on the business and economics cross-disciplinary core negative impacts, as illustrated in the analysis of Brazil’s cluster shown in Table 8, this subsection will summarize the sugarcane ethanol (Goldemberg et al., 2008). Although carbon major works in the only social science discipline in the business dioxide emissions have also been reduced, this has led to and economics cluster. worsening the conditions of high-biodiversity areas—for First, business and economics research examples include the example, through deforestation, water contamination, soil energy technology and global environmental changes (Grübler degradation, and soil damage. Indeed, the sustainability et al., 1999), as well as the sustainability of sugarcane ethanol aspects of the energy–climate (or even energy–environment) (Goldemberg et al., 2008). Grübler et al. (1999) proposed a useful relationship require unpacking and clarity. technical analysis typology for analyzing the impact of energy technology on the global environment, especially global warming Public Policy Cross-Disciplinary Core Cluster (Grübler et al., 1999). Goldemberg et al. (2008) found that the As Table 8 suggests that several disciplines are in close rapid expansion of sugarcane ethanol production in Brazil has relationship with public administration (i.e., the public policy caused sustainability issues, including the positive impact of air cross-disciplinary core cluster), this subsection will summarize quality improvement and negative impacts on food security and the major work in these disciplines, as listed in Table 7. field working conditions (Goldemberg et al., 2008). Both studies Public administration work examples include climate policy point to the central policy concerns of energy policies and their (Hohne et al., 2017) and smart-sustainable cities (Yigitcanlar and Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 15 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 6 | Main countries: key scientometric metrics. Country or ID Total links Documents Citations Clustering Centrality region strength coefficient Closeness Eigenvector Betweenness France A-6 7,572 42 771 0.966 1.000 0.217 0.001 Peoples R China A-10 6,592 51 544 0.966 1.000 0.177 0.001 Switzerland A-12 5,127 35 554 0.966 1.000 0.151 0.001 Spain A-14 3,658 33 318 0.975 0.968 0.095 0.001 Greece A-17 2,477 15 306 0.966 1.000 0.060 0.001 Ireland A-20 1945 12 100 0.966 1.000 0.058 0.001 Japan A-21 1934 14 237 0.966 1.000 0.045 0.001 Belgium A-22 1920 16 252 0.966 1.000 0.048 0.001 Brazil A-23 1854 15 682 0.966 1.000 0.045 0.001 India A-24 1,434 6 186 0.989 0.909 0.039 0.000 Singapore A-26 1,097 8 153 0.973 0.968 0.029 0.001 Poland A-28 689 8 96 0.984 0.938 0.019 0.001 Portugal A-29 678 9 102 0.993 0.857 0.015 0.000 Lithuania A-31 496 5 55 0.993 0.857 0.010 0.000 United States B-2 16,422 191 3,608 0.966 1.000 0.420 0.001 Australia B-4 8,614 93 1,686 0.966 1.000 0.245 0.001 Canada B-5 7,586 55 839 0.966 1.000 0.237 0.001 South Africa B-27 994 11 125 0.975 0.968 0.030 0.001 Russia B-30 630 6 24 0.997 0.857 0.020 0.000 Germany C-3 13,129 102 1,584 0.966 1.000 0.358 0.001 Italy C-8 7,240 48 570 0.966 1.000 0.206 0.001 Netherlands C-9 7,031 41 1,036 0.966 1.000 0.200 0.001 Austria C-13 4,232 24 319 0.975 0.968 0.130 0.001 Sweden D-7 7,307 42 920 0.966 1.000 0.207 0.001 Norway D-11 5,319 33 409 0.966 1.000 0.152 0.001 Finland D-18 2,353 22 331 0.966 1.000 0.069 0.001 New Zealand D-19 2,314 13 297 0.975 0.968 0.071 0.001 England E-1 22,783 220 4,458 0.966 1.000 0.498 0.001 Scotland E-15 3,571 38 776 0.966 1.000 0.130 0.001 Denmark E-16 2,968 22 318 0.970 0.968 0.101 0.001 Wales E-25 1,142 8 167 0.997 0.882 0.043 0.000 Lee, 2014). In specific, the importance and implications of the (2012) conducted semi-structured interviews of practitioners 2015 Paris Agreement were discussed and examined by Hohne and found that a clear definition of carbon-neutral building is et al. (2017), with the analytical focus on the “individual intended needed, along with other facilitating factors such as material nationally determined contributions” (INDCs); they found that choice, managers’ knowledge, market demand, government the progress of decarbonization has been made faster than expected support, and leadership (Zuo et al., 2012). Kibwami and in sectors such as solar photovoltaics, onshore wind, and electric Tutesigensi (2016) investigated whether and how the cars, and they argued that policies must be implemented in order to integration of embodied carbon in the development approval meet the INDC pledges made by national governments to resolve process by regulators can facilitate sustainability in construction, the inconsistency between INDCs and global goals such as the 2015 based on a set of structured interviews regarding policy proposals Paris Agreement (Hohne et al., 2017). At the city level, eco-city in Uganda (Kibwami and Tutesigensi, 2016). In the development initiatives were studied by Yigitcanlar and Lee (2014),focusing on approval process, the authors argue, both environmental and the Korean case of ubiquitous-eco-city (u-eco-city), with the goal social sustainability should be considered, even in developing being to distinguish whether this contributes to an ideal model of countries. Similarly, an exemplar work in education discussed sustainable and smart urban forms beyond being a mere branding sustainability initiatives at a Canadian university and proposed a event (Yigitcanlar and Lee, 2014). Both studies hint at the political, multi-bottom line approach based on a set of tools using a financial, technological, and other forms of support in driving-force–pressure–state–exposure–effect–action implementing such policy initiatives (Yigitcanlar and Lee, 2014; framework (Waheed et al., 2011). Stadel et al. (2011) developed Hohne et al., 2017). engineering education that integrates carbon accounting and Published in the journal Habitat International (Zuo et al., building information modeling as the basis for intelligent 2012; Kibwami and Tutesigensi, 2016), these exemplar works in sustainable design (Stadel et al., 2011). urban studies recognize the importance of sustainability agenda in the building sector as one of the biggest contributors of carbon Social Science Disciplinary Core Cluster emissions and energy consumption. With the aim of examining Based on the social science disciplinary core cluster shown in the factors that hinder or help carbon neutrality goals regarding Table 8, this subsection will summarize the most-cited works in reducing emissions in commercial developments, Zuo et al. these disciplines, as listed in Table 7. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 16 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 7 | Main research: social science work. Disciplines Counts Main work Key ideas Business and economics 557 Grübler et al. (1999), Goldemberg et al. (2008) Energy technology and global environmental changes Grübler et al.(1999); sustainability of sugarcane ethanol Goldemberg et al. (2008). Public administration 172 Hohne et al. (2017), Yigitcanlar and Lee (2014) Individual intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) Hohne et al.(2017); Eco-city initiatives, Korean u-eco-city initiatives Yigitcanlar and Lee (2014) Government and law 75 Vandenbergh and Steinemann (2007), Green The carbon-neutral individual, carbon neutrality norms Vandenbergh and (2013) Steinemann (2007), the institutional complexity of carbon neutrality, and carbon management Green (2013) Geography 70 Bumpus and Liverman (2008), Byers et al. International governance of carbon offsets Bumpus and Liverman (2008); (2014) United Kingdom decarbonization pathways for the United Kingdom Byers et al. (2014) Urban studies 33 Zuo et al. (2012), Kibwami and Tutesigensi Sustainability agenda in the building sector Zuo et al. (2012) and related regulatory (2016) policies Kibwami and Tutesigensi (2016) International relations 32 Green (2013), van der Ven et al. (2017) Institutional complexity under the Kyoto Protocol (Green, 2013); contributions by nonstate and subnational actors on climate governance van der Ven et al. (2017) Development studies 31 Zuo et al. (2012), Andrews (2008) Sustainability agenda in the building sector Zuo et al. (2012); land-use pattern changes Andrews (2008) Social sciences-other topics 29 Higham and Cohen (2011), Gössling (2009) Consumers’ attitudes regarding the impact of tourism and travel on climate change Higham and Cohen (2011); industrial actors’ role in greenhouse gas emissions Gössling (2009) Sociology 15 Scott et al. (2019), Marres (2011) Public consent and acceptability Scott et al. (2019); the role of technology in carbon accounting Marres (2011) Social issues 12 Pidgeon and Demski (2012), Public consent and acceptability Pidgeon and Demski (2012); the role of Boehmer-Christiansen (2003) technology in carbon accounting Boehmer-Christiansen (2003) Education and educational 11 Waheed et al. (2011), Stadel et al. (2011) University sustainability initiatives, using a driving force-pressure-state-exposure- research effect-action framework Waheed et al. (2011); intelligent sustainable design education that integrates carbon accounting for engineers Stadel et al. (2011) Area studies 4 Benjaminsen (2017), Gilley (2017) The legitimacy of the local adoption of global policy frameworks such as REDD+ Benjaminsen (2017); integrated governance solutions and central-local relations on environmental issues Gilley (2017) Psychology 4 Quimby and Angelique (2011), Payne (2020) Pro-environmental behavior research and community psychology knowledge aiming for a carbon neutral future Quimby and Angelique (2011); psychologically vulnerable groups impacted by decarbonization Payne (2020) Communication 2 Hopke and Hestres (2018), Koteyko (2012) Visual narratives, the media and climate stakeholder relationship Hopke and Hestres (2018); critical discourse analysis work on carbon neutrality Koteyko (2012) Linguistics 2 Dury (2008), Koteyko (2012) The English term “carbon neutral” evolution Dury (2008); critical discourse analysis work on carbon neutrality Koteyko (2012) Social work 2 Quimby and Angelique (2011), Chapman and Community psychology knowledge relating to a carbon-neutral future Quimby and Boston (2007) Angelique (2011); public attitudes towards and behaviors concerning carbon emission reduction Chapman and Boston (2007) Archaeology 1 Pigliautile et al. (2019) Environmental sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings Pigliautile et al. (2019) Cultural studies 1 Pallesen (2016) Cultural and framing politics of pricing Pallesen (2016) Government and law discipline works include the seminal regulatory imagination to address the governance and work by Vandenbergh and Steinemann (2007) on the legal and management issues surrounding carbon neutrality and carbon regulatory basis on the notion of the carbon-neutral individual management. (Vandenbergh and Steinemann, 2007) and the analysis of carbon Works on major international relations includes the article by management standards by Green (2013). Drawing upon Green (2013), which was not only published in Global empirical studies and norms theory, the notion of the carbon- Environmental Politics but also touches upon the institutional neutral individual suggests the possibility of advancing legal complexity under the Kyoto Protocol (Green, 2013). reforms that combine the existing norm of personal Additionally, the article by van der Ven et al. (2017) that was responsibility with the emerging norm of carbon neutrality published in the same journal examined the effect of the valuable (Vandenbergh and Steinemann, 2007). Focusing on the role of contributions of non-state and subnational actors on climate private authority, the network analysis of public and private governance. It proposes an approach that is more comprehensive standards for carbon management reveals an emerging climate in identifying how such contributions can become far-reaching change governance order that is complex, suggesting the and durable (Van der ven et al., 2017). Such an approach is importance of private authority in institutional complexity applied to an analysis of the Carbon Trust’s initiative on the (Green, 2013). Both articles have contributed to the legal and creation of product carbon footprints, indicating some initial Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 17 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 8 | Main disciplines: key scientometric metrics. Disciplines ID Total links Documents Citations Clustering Centrality strength coefficient Closeness Eigenvector Betweenness Public administration A-4 26,649 161 1762 0.783 1.000 0.216 0.023 Science and technology-other topic A-9 4,767 28 486 0.871 0.920 0.031 0.008 Urban studies A-11 3,837 32 196 0.831 0.958 0.023 0.014 Education and educational research A-19 598 11 54 0.895 0.852 0.003 0.007 Operations research and management science A-20 502 7 90 0.895 0.742 0.005 0.004 Engineering A-21 427 5 57 0.912 0.719 0.002 0.003 Architecture A-22 401 9 30 0.956 0.639 0.002 0.001 Government and law B-6 10,623 74 517 0.852 0.920 0.075 0.011 International relations B-7 6,567 32 271 0.930 0.852 0.044 0.003 Social sciences-other topics B-10 4,282 27 546 0.818 0.958 0.026 0.017 Sociology B-14 2,589 15 273 0.895 0.885 0.017 0.006 Social issues B-18 743 11 56 0.971 0.742 0.003 0.001 Area studies B-23 181 4 16 1.000 0.697 0.001 0.000 Environmental sciences and ecology C-1 80,444 500 9,497 0.783 1.000 0.598 0.023 Business and economics C-2 72,624 535 10,737 0.783 1.000 0.585 0.023 Energy and fuels C-3 47,617 255 6,096 0.783 1.000 0.481 0.023 Forestry C-13 2,704 21 228 0.930 0.852 0.027 0.003 Development studies D-8 5,104 29 383 0.818 0.958 0.033 0.017 Transportation D-12 3,081 18 251 0.967 0.767 0.026 0.001 Agriculture D-16 1,143 5 76 0.930 0.852 0.010 0.003 Geography E-5 12,052 69 1,479 0.783 1.000 0.096 0.023 Psychology E-24 27 3 16 1.000 0.590 0.000 0.000 Physical geography F-15 1,444 16 628 0.963 0.793 0.008 0.002 Geology F-17 744 9 349 1.000 0.767 0.003 0.000 Disciplines (“Research Areas”) as assigned by Clarivate Analytics’ WoS. failures and suggestions for policymakers to measure the work by Boehmer-Christiansen (2003) on the need for global contribution to global decarbonization more accurately. treaty obligations to advance the transition to green fuels and A key “social sciences-other topics” work consists of an article technologies asks several questions regarding equity and political on Norwegian attitudes towards the impact of air travel on instability during the decarbonization of global energy supplies climate change. The article concludes that Norway is sensitive (Boehmer-Christiansen, 2003). to climate issues and thus a vanguard European tourism market From area studies, the work by Benjaminsen (2017) examined (Higham and Cohen, 2011). Additionally, on the topic of tourism why the global policy framework known as Reducing Emissions Gössling (2009) provides a critical review of carbon neutrality from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in within the context of the UNWTO’s Davos Declaration, which Zanzibar is at risk of early enthusiasm and then ensuing ascribed the responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to abandonment due to its lack of legitimacy in terms of durable the main tourism industrial actors (Gössling, 2009). community forest management (Benjaminsen, 2017). Another One sociology paper by Scott et al. (2019) also contributes to area studies work by Gilley (2017) compared the local success in the understanding of the consequences facing the tourism sector reducing greenhouse gas emissions in China (Guangzhou) and through the systematic construction of the Climate Change India (Gujarat), revealing similar patterns of integrated Vulnerability Index for Tourism (CVIT) (Scott et al., 2019). governance solutions but different institutional linkages: This research found that Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, mainly intra-governmental linkages for China and mainly and Small Island Developing States are highly vulnerable and that state-society linkages for India. The research also showed the climate change will hinder the contributions of tourism to the insignificant to marginal effects of international negotiations and Sustainable Development Goals. From the perspective of national frameworks, with implications for central–local relations everyday life and devices of accounting, another sociology regarding environmental issues and for international aid and work carried out by Marres (2011) examined the role of assistance (Gilley, 2017). technology in public participation in carbon accounting, suggesting the capacity to “co-articulate” participation (Marres, Other Peripheral Disciplinary Work 2011). Other social science disciplines consist of Development Studies, From the discipline of social issues, the exemplar work by Geography, Psychology, Communication, Linguistics, Social Pidgeon and Demski (2012) on the public’s attitudes towards Work, Archaeology, and Cultural Studies, each with a few energy transformation highlights the importance of public publications (some four and often two). Nonetheless, it is consent and acceptability in the adoption of emerging helpful to examine how each social science discipline has renewable energy projects (Pidgeon and Demski, 2012). The contributed to this topic so far. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 18 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies One major development studies work by Zuo et al. (2012) media discourse analysis by Koteyko (2012) examined the was previously discussed in the urban studies discipline, not “market-driven sustainability” in the British media, specifically only because it was published in the cross-disciplinary journal United Kingdom national newspapers, between 1990 and 2009 Habitat International but also because it discusses the need for (Koteyko, 2012). The findings reveal that finance-related carbon cultural change in the construction industry towards compound phrases (1990–2005) occur before other compound sustainability (Green, 2013). Another research article by phrases, such as “low-carbon”, “zero-carbon”, and “carbon- Andrews (2008) investigated how land use and greenhouse neutral” (popular after 2005). This study argues that the gas emissions are related using exploratory case studies to climate change debate has been narrowed because carbon illustrate the varying per capita carbon dioxide emissions. compound phrases suggest that carbon emissions management This study found that buildings typically contribute more starts from calculation and monetization. emissions than personal transportation and argued that Linguistics works include the communications research work holistic solutions to this problem must incorporate carried out by Koteyko (2012), as discussed earlier, as it was technical fixes (especially green buildings) and land-use published in a cross-disciplinary journal called Language and pattern changes (considering population densities and Communication. Additionally related to communication transportation). research is an article by Dury (2008) from the linguistics One important work in the field of geography is an article journal Terminology, based on a bilingual (French and published in Economic Geography by Bumpus and Liverman English) comparable corpus, which shows that the English (2008) on the governance of carbon offsets. Its political economy term “carbon neutral” has followed a particular development analysis contextualized the governance structures of the Kyoto pattern: it becomes more widespread in the media over time Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. The analysis (i.e., determinologized) and then moves into the ecology lexicon illustrates how carbon offsets represent the strategies of capital (i.e., terminologized) (Dury, 2008). accumulation. Another geography research article tested six From the discipline of social work, the previously discussed decarbonization pathways for the United Kingdom, with work by Quimby and Angelique (2011) is included, since it specific discussions of the role of water in electricity was published in the cross-disciplinary journal American generation and cooling water use (Byers et al., 2014). Journal of Community Psychology (Quimby and Angelique, Following the traditions of pro-environmental behavior 2011). The social work article by Chapman and Boston (2007) research, one essential psychology work by Quimby and examines the social implications of decarbonization in the Angelique (2011) analyzed the perceived barriers and catalysts New Zealand economy, outlining the likely economic and for encouraging pro-environmental behavior within the distributional impacts of related policies on public attitudes environmental movement. Based on the perceived barriers towards and behaviors concerning carbon emission reduction they found (such as hopelessness, low efficacy, and time and (Chapman and Boston, 2007). The archaeology work by money resources) and the catalysts identified (such as changing Pigliautile et al. (2019) examines historical buildings to social norms through institutional and educational explore an innovative approach to microclimate transformation), the article argues that knowledge of enhancement using thin-envelope materials (Pigliautile community psychology can contribute to the fight for a et al., 2019). The cultural studies work by Pallesen (2016) carbon-neutral future (Quimby and Angelique, 2011). Based examines the cultural and framing politics of pricing by on the fieldwork examining cobalt mining in the Democratic examining the adoption of tariffs and wind power pricing Republic of the Congo (DRC), another important psychology in France during the decarbonization of the electricity sector, work by Payne (2020) highlighted the injustice of the raising the issues of the social and governance dynamics of “decarbonization divide”, connecting decarbonization with value attribution and negotiation (Pallesen, 2016). issues of environmental destruction, child labor, energy dispossession, and gender inequality, with certain ethnic groups being rendered more psychologically vulnerable DISCUSSION (Payne, 2020). Coming from the discipline of communication research, Overall, our findings confirm our assumption that the issues of Hopke and Hestres (2018) visualized the media and climate carbon neutrality and decarbonization are multi- and cross- stakeholder relationship based on Twitter activity relating to disciplinary; these detailed and systematic findings provide the Paris Climate Talks (Hopke and Hestres, 2018). The specific empirical evidence to quantify and qualify the existing findings showed that the Twitter accounts of fossil fuel and knowledge in this area. As carbon-neutral efforts are shown to be trade association, as major outliers, had put more emphasis on made in response to various issues of climate change, collective former US President Barack Obama’s climate policy instead of action requires not only technical innovations for transforming the more common climate change visual framing used by various modern industrial sectors, but also social science understanding of the ways in which carbon information can activists, movement organizations, multinational representatives, and scientific experts. These accounts’ be instrumental in reshaping our social, economic, and political messages aimed to create a visual narrative of the lack of interactions. Researchers and policy-makers have so far domestic support for his climate policies in the global arena. contributed to the discussions on the role of technologies, Additionally, focusing on the discourse surrounding carbon, the policies, and markets in achieving carbon neutrality. Facing Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 19 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies the climate change mitigation opportunities and challenges, the aforementioned intellectual structural base. Specific issues such as measuring and accounting decarbonization connections have been explored in discussing the specific main efforts, sustainability transition, and just transition have been research works in section 3.4, revealing a vibrant picture of discussed in specific sectors such as energy, transport, forestry, policy, professional, educational, and academic work that agriculture, forestry, and tourism. contributes to human knowledge on carbon neutrality and Our descriptive summary of 907 articles revealed the fast- decarbonization. While the backbone of cross-disciplinary growing publications patterns, especially after the Paris carbon neutrality research remains at the intersection between Agreement in 2015, with temporal evolution in intellectual the “Business and Economics” and “Life Sciences and and conceptual structures of the knowledge. Biomedicine” disciplines, an emerging critical body of work In terms of intellectual structure, the established state-of-the- has begun to question the limitations of “market-driven art knowledge has been built based on the intellectual origin of 1) sustainability” and the social and emotional costs and systems and technology cluster, 2) accounting and accountability implications of decarbonization, which coincides with the cluster, and 3) transition and scenario clusters. Both emerging notion of just transitions. historiography and author co-citation analysis have revealed the intellectual origins and authoritative sources that have founded and shaped the body of knowledge. The largely CONCLUSION macro-, regional, sectorial and country-level of analysis aim to Significant progress has been made, especially since the Paris address the fundamental concerns of human technologies’ impact on the environment, with the initial system modelling work Agreement in 2015, on the issues of decarbonization and carbon growing into technology-, policy- and organization-level neutrality, as part of the arguably the largest human efforts in analysis towards more sustainable scenarios and pathways. transitioning energy, transport, industries, and cities towards In terms of conceptual structure, the last few years low-carbon and net-zero sustainability. It is significant because (2019–2022) have seen the rise of keywords such as human-caused climate change needs human efforts and decarbonization, energy transition, the Paris Agreement, just knowledge to change the socio-technical and socio-ecological transition, European Union, and net-zero. Such a trend systems we have constructed. The emphasis on the “socio” indicates the impacts of political actions and policies on requires a comprehensive overview of the state of art in social carbon neutrality research for just and equal transitions science knowledge on the topic. towards sustainability. Undoubtedly, what decarbonization This scientometric and systematic review provides a comprehensive and disciplinary examination of the body of opportunities and challenges may occur for the industry and environment has become the basis for the most relevant and social science knowledge produced so far on the topic of cutting-edge research topics across various social science carbon neutrality. However, it is acknowledged that the scope disciplines. of this review does not include conference proceedings and other In terms of social structure of knowledge publication, the works that are not indexed by the Web of Science database. It has bibliographic coupling analysis of journals shows that the two limitations in depth because more specific carbon-neutrality main core journal clusters are multidisciplinary while the other keywords such as forest carbon sinks, carbon capture, three smaller clusters focus on cross-disciplinary topics such as utilization and storage (CCUS), and so on were not included forestry, transportation, and sustainable tourism. Throughout in the search query design. It is also limited to the trade-off the years, main journals such as Energy Policy, Climate Policy, between comprehensiveness and depth that any scientometric Energy Economics, Ecological Economics, Global and systematic review must decide and justify. More in-depth analysis in the future should include more specific keywords by Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions,and Technological Forecasting and Social Change have accumulated snowballing specific set of keywords, and the conceptual structure findings here can be useful references. Future work must a substantial number of studies, connecting social science disciplines such as Business and Economics, Public determine such trade-off in using scientometric and systematic Administration, and Geography with other disciplines such reviews to understand the multi-disciplinary topic of as Energy and Fuels and Environmental Sciences and Ecology. decarbonization. Publishing works on carbon neutrality that connect social Nonetheless, the findings presented here amount to the first science and non-social science categories; the journals have scientometric analysis of the social science knowledge of carbon been identified in their contribution to have bridged the related neutrality. This study provides an updated understanding and disciplines. The empirical evidence on top-performing highlights the established and emerging relationship between countries shows the relatively low presence of Asia and policies and technologies, especially those relating to energy, Africa, indicating a gap in the knowledge production and transport, construction, education, and other sectors. The collaboration needed to tackle the issues of decarbonization main body of work have been policy-oriented to examine the industrial and economic activities, especially those surrounding as part of the global goals for sustainable and just transitions. In terms of social discipline perspective, the scientometric energy, transport, forestry, and cities-related technologies, with approach of science mapping has revealed the otherwise partial the practical purpose to outline transitioning pathways and and incomplete impressions of the social science literature in a scenarios. The emerging conceptual structure findings reveal systematic whole. The overall picture is much more diverse than the substantial impact of just transition, European Union, net- Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 20 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies zero, cites, and energy transition on the most recent literature. carbon information, including GHG emission information, is key Such a phenomena can be explained by the social structure of the for constructing a sustainable future, it is important to current knowledge production, where European and North understand the overall and specific datafication processes of American regions remain dominant. selecting, recording, monitoring, and acting upon any specific The main controversy appears to be about justice in the piece and set of carbon information concerning human activities decarbonization processes, as reflected in the recent literature and the environment, as a necessary and evidence-based and European Union policy on “just transition.” Research gaps in grounding. The datafication of carbon information requires the case studies beyond European and North American regions, better knowledge in data science and social data science that cities, and people must be filled, especially the impact of climate can identify relevant and critical carbon information that change is expected to be more severe in developing regions such contributes to the socio-technical transition to a sustainable as Asia, Africa, and South America. future, especially the unjust cost of decarbonization processes. In terms of the potential development, we believe that, based Second, as carbon information-based products, systems, and on the findings presented here, the existing backbone of cross- stories have increasingly involved several important industrial disciplinary carbon neutrality research, which remains at the bodies and various human daily activities, it is vital to intersection between the “Business and Economics” and “Life understand the conflicts, struggles, and negotiations that Sciences and Biomedicine” disciplines, must engage the emerging institutions, organizations, and individuals are likely to critical literature to reflect on the limitations of the mainstream encounter. Decisions, interactions, and participation processes market-driven, business-driven, and data-driven approaches of relating to carbon information, ranging from carbon trading to decarbonization efforts aiming at carbon neutrality. Given the sustainable consumption, demands adequate empirical and increasing knowledge demand for the development of policies theoretical knowledge that can help in integrating relevant and technologies relating to carbon neutrality across various carbon information into the socio-technical systems of industrial sectors and different academic disciplines, such a everyday life. Third, collaboration surrounding carbon systematic science-mapping work provides significant results information, carbon accounting, and carbon neutrality will that will help to foster new conversations and enrich old ones. and should have become the focus of research and The descriptions on the most-cited work in each social science development for stakeholders across geographic boundaries, discipline in section 3.4 should begin to provide a more balanced industrial sectors, and academic disciplines. Digital perspective in terms of disciplines. Such knowledge, for instance, collaborations, especially those leveraging digital technologies can be more personal and emotional at the micro-levels, beyond such as AI, Blockchains, cloud computing, and data the initial knowledge base on country- and organization-level analytics, should track the social and environmental impacts scenarios and pathways. Future work is needed, for instance, to of the human footprint on Earth, and act upon such impacts. deliver in-depth systematic reviews for each social science Acting upon the understanding of human impacts, it is then discipline. possible to create a future that is not only carbon neutral These science-mapping outcomes lead to the final research but also sustainable for the planet and its inhabitants. In question we will raise upfront: How can researchers and policy- conclusion, as many aspects of the planet and humans have makers understand this overview of social science literature become datafied, digitized, and networked, carbon neutrality relating to the topic of carbon neutrality, with a conceptual or must take on a central role in guiding our conscious green taxonomic framework, to address the issues in achieving digital transformation of many political, economic, social and decarbonization and carbon neutrality, especially in terms of psychological aspects of our societies according to the existing the design and application of relevant policies and technologies? and emerging social science knowledge. While the findings described here may not be sufficient to generate a definitive conceptual framework, a set of common taxonomic features across disciplines and sectors can be built that DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT includes decarbonization, carbon management, carbon accounting, sustainability, sustainable development, and just The original contributions presented in the study are included in transition. Future work can advance more in-depth analysis the article/Supplementary Material, further inquiries can be within a specific social science discipline or a specific cross- directed to the corresponding author. disciplinary mix. As carbon-neutral efforts are shown to be carried out in response to various issues of climate change, a collective action that requires not only technical innovation for AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS transforming various modern industrial sectors but also a social Conceptualization, YZ, H-TL, and C-LP; methodology, H-TL and science understanding of how carbon information can be instrumental in reshaping our social, economic, and political C-LP; software, H-TL and C-LP; data curation, YZ, H-TL, and C-LP; writing—original draft preparation, H-TL, C-LP, and YZ; interactions, especially for coming up with new strategy for green and digital transitions, is needed (European Commission, 2020). writing—review and editing, YZ, H-TL, and C-LP; visualization, Several directions for future research relating to social science H-TL, YZ, and C-LP; funding acquisition, YZ. All authors have knowledge about carbon neutrality are discussed here. First, since read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 21 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies Guangzhou Nanfang College for the curriculum project of FUNDING “Information Visualization Design” (Grant Number NFU 02- This research was funded mainly by the Department of 40250). Education of Guangdong Province for the project “Enterprise energy privilege trading scheme in Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao Greater Bay Area” (Grant Number 2020WTSCX138), ACKNOWLEDGMENTS partly by the Department of Education of Guangdong Province in the project called “Smart App Design Innovation Research The authors wish to express their gratitude to all colleagues who in the Age of New Business, Arts and Engineering directly or indirectly contributed to the making of the VOSviewer, Disciplines” (Grant Number 2019GXJK186), and partly by Bibliometrix, and Citespace software. and Co-Citation Analyses for Green and Digital Transformation,” in 2020 REFERENCES Management Science Informatization and Economic Innovation Development Conference (MSIEID, 18-20 Dec. 2020, Guangzhou, China), New York, NY, Altieri, K. E., Trollip, H., Caetano, T., Hughes, A., Merven, B., and Winkler, H. USA (IEEE), 281–284. doi:10.1109/MSIEID52046.2020.00058 (2016). 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Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies: A Scientometric Analysis of Social Science Disciplines

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ORIGINAL RESEARCH published: 18 October 2021 doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.761736 Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies: A Scientometric Analysis of Social Science Disciplines 1 1,2 2,3,4 Yuan Zhang , Chung-Lien Pan and Han-Teng Liao * 1 2 Accounting School, Nanfang College, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China, Higher Education Impact Assessment Center, Nanfang College, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China, School of Public Administration, Nanfang College, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China, School of Literature and Communication, Nanfang College, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China Carbon neutrality, or “net zero”, has become the impact assessment project of human impact on Earth, increasingly structured to examine the implications, for the environment and people, of proposed actions and consequences of inaction. International and local collaboration efforts have been made with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality or “net- zero” emissions; thus, policies and technological innovations have been developed. Such impact-oriented risk assessment and control efforts amount to carbon-neutral pathways. Although such pathways may diverge in terms of energy, resources, and cost, it is critical to Edited by: summarize essential and promising preparatory work on related policies and technologies Tsun Se Cheong, to inform both policy-makers and social scientists to take actions. Through a scientometric Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR China analysis and systematic review of the latest social science literature, the study identified the Reviewed by: size, scope and exemplar work for each social science discipline on carbon neutrality, Benson Lam, based on 907 articles collected in early 2021 from the Web of Science database. This Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR China study reveals a set of disciplines focusing on certain common and distinct aspects of Yongping Sun, carbon neutrality. By outlining the possibilities and application areas for future research and Hubei University of Economics, China policy development for socio-technical transition towards a net-zero or post-carbon future, *Correspondence: this study has contributed to the understanding of the global efforts to achieve a clearer Han-Teng Liao and viable carbon-neutral pathway. In conclusion, as many aspects of the planet and h.liao@oxon.org humans have become datafied, digitized, and networked, carbon neutrality, as the Specialty section: ecological indicator that guide human production and consumption patterns, must This article was submitted to take on a central role in guiding our conscious green digital transformation of many Environmental Economics and Management, political, economic, social and psychological aspects of our societies according to the a section of the journal existing and emerging social science knowledge. Frontiers in Environmental Science Keywords: decarbonization, carbon information, sustainable consumption and production, carbon accounting, Received: 20 August 2021 social science, just transition, socio-technical transition, carbon management Accepted: 20 September 2021 Published: 18 October 2021 Citation: Zhang Y, INTRODUCTION Pan C-L and Liao H-T (2021) Carbon Neutrality To prevent global warming, an urgent threat to life on Earth, achieving carbon neutrality has become Policies and Technologies: A an important goal that is pursued by various organizations across the world, with the ultimate aim of Scientometric Analysis of Social measuring and controlling direct and indirect emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other Science Disciplines. greenhouse gasses (GHG), such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) (Smith and Front. Environ. Sci. 9:761736. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.761736 Fletcher, 2020). When governments adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015 at the 21st Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 1 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies Conference of the Parties (COP21) in the United Nations interactions between the human world and planetary systems Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the (Pihl et al., 2021). New methods and data are needed to support Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was monitoring and decision-making systems, such as using remote requested to publish a report. The report was later released in sensing big data for more precise and efficient forest resource 2018 and was titled, “Global Warming of 1.5 C, an IPCC special management and policy-making (Wang et al., 2021). Thus, to report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 C above pre- achieve carbon neutrality, social science knowledge must be industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission developed to understand the multiple aspects of preparing pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response human societies for a sustainable transition for the mitigation to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and of climate change. By informing decision-makers and collective efforts to eradicate poverty” (IPCC, 2018). In this report, scientific actions, such knowledge will help researchers and policy-makers findings regarding the potential impacts and associated risks of design and implement policies and technologies that work in global warming were summarized, with language phrases such as initiating and implementing individual, organizational, and social “to neutralize emissions,”“carbon neutrality,” etc. In short, changes. This explains the rationales behind global initiatives neutralizing the emissions of greenhouse gases caused by such as bringing transparency and rigor to the voluntary carbon human activities [“the root cause of global warming” (IPCC, market (Twidale, 2021) and research that connects mortality with 2018)] requires both robust scientific understanding of the carbon emissions under the notion of “the mortality cost of impacts of global warming on both natural and human carbon” (Bressler, 2021; Schwartz, 2021). Social science systems and collective action on strengthening and knowledge matters. implementing the global response. In 2020, China and the To the best knowledge of the authors, based on our research European Union (EU), two of the world’s top emitters, and analysis of related literature, there has so far been no pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060 and 2050, systematic review of social science knowledge on carbon respectively (Harvey, 2020), by invoking policies to move the neutrality using scientometric or bibliometric methods, economy towards sustainability (Mallapaty, 2020). Japan also has whereas such bibliometric analysis on the wider and more made a similar pledge for the date of 2050 (METI, 2020). Major developed topic such as circular economy have be conducted companies such as Apple, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, BP, Ford, (e.g., Cui and Zhang, 2018; Meseguer-Sánchez et al., 2021). An General Motors, and FedEx have also pledged to become carbon updated understanding of carbon neutrality social science neutral. Companies’ disclosures of their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) literature focusing on the relationship between policies and emissions also highlight the vital role of companies in mitigating technologies is expected to be useful in informing the debates the effects of global warming, which requires cost-effective and and decisions surrounding the goal of achieving carbon verifiable accounting for emissions (Downie and Stubbs, 2013; neutrality, along with diverse stakeholders across different Diniz et al., 2021). These carbon neutrality pledges made by industrial sectors and knowledge domains. Such an major political and economic entities demonstrate the understanding will not only help to guide the urgent policy, widespread commitment to galvanize action on the climate research, and technology innovations with an initial road map, crisis. Since the pathways used to achieve carbon neutrality but also identify the challenges and opportunities in the design require a viable socio-technical transition from industrial and application of relevant policies and technologies. To gain processes based on petroleum, coal, and gasoline towards a both general and specific social knowledge, it is important to more environmentally friendly sustainable future (Wang et al., provide a systematic review of carbon neutrality literature to 2020), it is thus essential to focus on the political, economic, summarize how social science knowledge can contribute to the social, and psychological aspects of carbon neutrality. worldwide collective efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. Indeed, the multidisciplinary nature of carbon neutrality goes The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of social beyond science and technology and involves issues such as science literature on the topic of carbon neutrality, asking the policies, investment, communication, behavior change and following research questions: adaption, and international relations (Hawken, 2017; Farnworth, 2018). For instance, combining social science 1) When has the intellectual structure of the knowledge base knowledge and artificial intelligence techniques can advance developed, and by whom? innovations, as exemplified by a promising research agenda on 2) How and when has the conceptual structure of the knowledge transnational industry cooperation (TIC) and transnational base developed? university cooperation (TUC) innovations, especially in the 3) Where and how has the social structure of the knowledge base context of EU–China science, technology, and innovation developed? cooperation (Cai et al., 2019). In another example, efforts to 4) Where and what has been contributed from the social science contribute to a sustainable transition have encountered reactions disciplines? from entities with vested interests, such as the petroleum and coal industry, often in political lobby activities and misinformation To answer the above questions regarding the overall campaigns or “green washing” efforts (Smith and Fletcher, 2020). contribution of social sciences to the topic of carbon neutrality Ten social, economic and legal insights have also been or decarbonization, a scientometric and systematic review was summarized in climate science research since mid-2019, conducted based on Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science (WoS) highlighting the need for advancing knowledge about the database using science mapping tools, as detailed in the next Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 2 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies section. By answering these descriptive, analytical, and reflective As one important dimension of the research fronts is “a questions, this paper aims to contribute to the existing human posteriori constructs that provide both highly specificand knowledge on the topic of carbon neutrality by focusing on the broad access to the subject matter” (Garfield, 1994), the socio-technical pathways that social science knowledge has WoS research area’s social sciences category contains 25 already contributed and ought to contribute. disciplines ranging from archaeology to women’sstudies. Such categorization has been assigned by the WoS experts at the levels of journals and books. Thus, the WoS research areas are features at the level of journals. Given the multi- MATERIALS AND METHODS disciplinary nature of carbon neutrality, it is important to Science mapping (Cobo et al., 2011) and scoping review mapping examine the disciplinary features of the literature by not (Fridell et al., 2019) aim to use the visualization (Small, 1999)of limiting our scope of search to the social-science-only index “research fronts” (Garfield, 1994), knowledge structure, or such as SSCI. intellectual bases (Persson, 1994) to gain insight. For such In terms of the document type, this review examined articles, visualization outcomes to be meaningful, especially for the book chapters, and reviews. Although the WoS does provide research questions raised above, a careful research design is conference proceedings such as CPCI, this review does not needed to analyze social science knowledge in various include them because the quality and quantity of such “research fronts” that are accessible for both policy makers proceedings may differ widely across various social science and researchers. disciplines. By focusing on journal articles and books, this review should provide a more succinct picture of the overall Science Mapping Approach knowledge base of the carbon neutrality literature. Our science mapping research, which aims to facilitate theoretical In terms of topics, a series of synonyms of carbon neutrality, and empirical development across the main and emerging social along with its related topics of carbon accounting and sciences disciplines, has conducted a scientometric analysis on the decarbonization, were chosen. The assumption is that the use topic of carbon neutrality. The ultimate objective of this paper is of these terms in the title, abstract, or keywords of work indicates to provide a holistic and systematic overview of the social science the authors’ intention to discuss, at the very least, topics such as research of carbon neutrality worldwide over the years to shed carbon footprints or decarbonization, which have implications on light on carbon neutrality policies and technologies. Instead of reaching carbon neutrality. examining a specific policy or technology, the scientometric The overall research design consists of a query design, a data approach, along with its bibliometric methods and data, can process, and a taxonomy design to explore the policies and provide a valuable overall picture that allows researchers across technologies that contribute to the goal of carbon neutrality, different disciplines to understand the composition and structure with a focus on the work across social science disciplines. of the intellectual knowledge base of carbon neutrality. To this end, this paper used quantitative science mapping techniques to Query Design categorize and visualize the disciplinary venues and topical focus The query design consists mainly of two parts: topics and of carbon neutrality research and then complemented it with brief disciplines. As shown in the query below, the first part aims to traditional research reviews of selected articles that are relevant to cover the relevant literature, which is expressed by the field tag of the overall discussions of carbon neutrality policies and “Topic” (i.e., TS) and a series of synonyms and underlying topics technologies. of carbon neutrality that are joined by “OR” Boolean operators. Raw Materials � TS  (“carbon neutrality” OR “carbon neutral*” OR Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science (WoS) database was used, “carbon-neutral*” OR “carbon positive*” OR “carbon- along with the WoS Core Collection of SCI-Expanded, SSCI, positive*” OR “carbon negative*” OR “carbon-negative*” A&HCI, and ESCI indices, to collect the bibliometric data for OR “carbon accounting” OR “net-zero” OR “decarboni? analysis in this review. It should be noted that SCI-Expanded and ation”) AND SU  (“Social Sciences” OR “Archaeology” OR ESCI journals were included. Some journals are indexed in more “Area Studies” OR “Biomedical Social Sciences” OR than one index, for instance, one of the top journals, Energy “Business and Economics” OR “Communication” Policy, is indexed both by SCI-Expanded and SSCI. OR “Criminology and Penology” OR “Cultural Studies” Web of Science offers a subject categorization scheme called OR “Demography” OR “Development Studies” OR “research areas” that covers five broad disciplinary categories “Education and Educational Research” OR “Ethnic (Clarivate Analytics, 2020): Studies” OR “Family Studies” OR “Geography” OR “Government and Law” OR “International Relations” OR � Arts and Humanities, “Linguistics” OR “Mathematical Methods In Social � Life Sciences and Biomedicine, Sciences” OR “Psychology” OR “Public Administration” � Physical Sciences, OR “Social Issues” OR “Social Sciences Other Topics” � Social Sciences, OR “Social Work” OR “Sociology” OR “Urban Studies” � Technology. OR “Women’s Studies”) Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 3 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies Similarly, the second part consists of the field tag of “Research were replaced by the common name without volume numbers. Area” (i.e., SU) and a set of disciplines under the WoS research Such data preparation work facilitated more accurate science area’s social sciences category. The two parts of the “Topic” query mapping (van Eck and Waltman, 2014). These thesaurus files are and “Research Area” query were joined by an “AND” Boolean essential ground work for scientometric methods such as operator, which should give us initial database search results keyword co-occurrence analysis because the preprocessing containing social science literature on carbon neutrality. work can remove duplicate terms and expressions in a more It should be noted that the series of synonyms have been standardized consistent fashion. gathered through an iterative snowballing process that begins To implement scientometric analysis, the data sets were with the baseline terms of decarbonization and carbon neutrality. processed by VOSviewer (Yu et al., 2020) Bibliometrix (Aria Based on the top keywords of the initial datasets, closely-related and Cuccurullo, 2017) and Python data science packages to gain terms such as “net-zero” and “carbon accounting” terminologies insight. In particular, the use of the Python Data Analysis Library (e.g., those containing negative and positive sides) have been (a.k.a. pandas) allowed the “split-apply combine strategy” included in the search query. Other more detailed methods or (Wickham, 2011) to be implemented to break up the searched terms were not included because the purpose of research aims to outcomes into manageable pieces (e.g., the WoS disciplines of focus first on the comprehensive overview of the carbon “research areas”, topics, sources, etc.) and then explore how these neutrality literature, and thus adding terms from specific pieces constitute the whole. Based on the “split-apply-combine subfields or subdomains may render such comprehensive strategy”, the largely quantitative data analysis based on a series of coverage unbalanced. This component of research design will combined descriptive statistics, scientometric analyses, or social be further discussed later in the Conclusion section as the trade- network analyses of scientometric relationships aimed to provide off between comprehensiveness and depth. the empirical structure of the knowledge base. The statistical network analysis was conducted using the Data Processes Network Analysis in Python (a.k.a. NetworkX) library, In accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for resulting in network centrality metrics (i.e., closeness Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines (Moher et al., centrality, eigenvector centrality, and betweenness centrality) 2009), the screened resources for the study consist of searched and clustering coefficient (Onnela et al., 2005). Although these articles indexed by Clarivate Analytics’ SCI-EXPANDED, SSCI, advanced metrics are not often reported in full by bibliometric A&HCI, and ESCI indices for articles published in reliable analysis (e.g. Cui and Zhang, 2018; Meseguer-Sánchez et al., academic sources. Our initial database searching resulted in 2021), the study will report them as complementary 918 articles, which was collected on February 1, 2021. verification of the visualization outcomes. Based on the Bibliographic data (the “Full Record and Citation References” network analysis conventions (Freeman, 1978; Hansen et al., option was selected) of the documents were downloaded for 2020), the centrality measures consists of closeness centrality further analysis, along with “meta data” such as the article title, (how close a node is to the rest of the nodes), eigenvector author name(s), organization affiliations, keywords, abstracts, centrality (how central a node is based on its neighbors), and publication source, reference citations, and various data. betweenness centrality (how central a node is in bridging different Second, during the eligibility phase, we first decided to segments of the network). In addition, different from these examine the literature written in the English language, leaving centrality measures, the clustering coefficient metric measures out 11 articles. The 907 articles found constitute the basis of this the density of the 1.5-degree egocentric network for each node, scientometric analysis. We then decided to examine the full-text indicating how connected the connected nodes are. These metrics articles of the most relevant ones, for further qualitative synthesis, can then complement and verify the observations of network in terms of 1) the number of citations received and 2) the most visualization. Following the bibliometric analysis conventions, recently published. The selection criteria reflect the research the number of clusters are determined by human trial-and-error inquiries on 1) knowledge bases and 2) emerging research. For for meaningful and succinct algorithm-based grouping outcomes each discipline, we identified the most cited and most recent for the authors. Such clustering outcomes are reproducible with a documents, then the documents were examined based on the set of parameters, but other outcomes can be produced for fewer relevance of their contribution to the carbon neutrality social or more groups. science literature. More classic literature review work was CiteSpace (Chen, 2016) was also used—mainly for creating the conducted on the selected work across different social science citation burst tables—with the aim to see which topics had gained disciplines. significantly more attention in recent years or over certain periods Third, during the final “included phase” of the PRISMA, data of time. This can complement the time-related findings as part of preparation work was conducted to provide more meaningful a more holistic understanding over time (Chen, 2004). insights. Via iterative processes of three experts’ work, two thesaurus files were compiled for both keywords and Scientometric Methods to Show the publication sources to disambiguate concepts and entities. For example, author keywords such as “climate change policy” and Structure of Knowledge Base “climate policy frameworks” were replaced by the more This study implements several scientometric methods to frequently used term “climate policy”. Different volumes of determine the overall intellectual, conceptual, and social book sources (e.g., Annual Review of Resource Economics) structure of the knowledge base (Donthu et al., 2021), Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 4 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 1 | Basic information about the bibliometric dataset. base as documented and cited in the empirical evidence of academic publications. Description Results Size Timespan 1983–2021 Sources (Journals, Books, etc) 266 RESULTS Documents 907 References 42,244 The findings of the study are organized into four sections, moving Descriptive statistics Average years from publication 5.15 Average citations per documents 16.94 from the main structural work to the emerging peripheral work, Average citations per year per doc 2.248 with the purpose to cover both the common and distinct features Contents Keywords Plus (ID) 1,685 of the social science knowledge on the topic. The first three Author’s Keywords (DE) 2,114 sections demonstrate the intellectual, conceptual, and social Author Authors 2,247 Author Appearances 2,716 structure of the knowledge base, and the last section samples Authors of single-authored documents 206 the main work across various social science sub-disciplines. Authors of multi-authored documents 2,041 Table 1 lists basic information about the dataset, with its size, Author collaboration Single-authored documents 223 descriptive statistics, contents, author and author collaboration Documents per Author 0.404 numbers. It has 907 documents over the timespan of 1983–2021. Authors per Document 2.48 Co-Authors per Documents 2.99 For the purpose of examining policy implications, the years of Collaboration Index 2.98 2015 and 2020 were chosen based on the Paris Agreement in December 2015. The first time period (1983–2015, N  310) marks the early period before the Paris Agreement which includes complemented by systematic review of the top-cited work from the Kyoto Protocol adopted in December 2012. The second time the social science disciplinary perspective. period (2016–2019, N  382) covers the most of the 5-years circle To answer the first question regarding the intellectual of the global climate action. The main reason for the third time structure, the scientometric methods of historiograph and period (2020–2021, N  215) is to explore the emerging author-co-citation analysis have been implemented to reveal knowledge by comparisons. Note that the number of the clusters of organizational and individual authors have been publications is relatively even for each period, ranging from contributed to the main knowledge base. Since published work 215 to 382. can accumulate citations over time, the citation approach (Small, Intellectual Structure 1999) can provide an accurate mapping of clusters of items (e.g., documents, sources, etc.). Based on the most prominent direct To explore the intellectual structure of the knowledge base, the citations, the historiograph maps out the intellectual links in a study begins with a historiography and an author co-citation chronological order, revealing the basic works in the dataset. The network, thereby describing the most cited work and its authors author co-citation analysis visualizes the relationship network (including the organization authors). The findings should provide among cited work as the fundamental sources. some descriptions that may amount to the summary of the main To answer the second question on the conceptual structure, schools of thought, and their shared and divergent concepts/ the scientometric methods of keyword co-occurrence, keywords issues. Indeed, for instance, the main individual and organization with strongest citation bursts, and a series of thematic maps have authors have evolved mostly from European and international been conducted to reveal the clusters of ideas and their dynamic organization actors, as evidenced by findings below. evolutions over different time periods. Keyword co-occurrence Historiograph maps show the existing relationship among topics, and the advanced methods of thematic maps and keywords with Figure 1 shows the bibliometric historiograph by using science mapping tool bibliometrix (Aria and Cuccurullo, 2017). Such citation bursts provide additional temporal insights to the evolution of conceptual structure. mapping first creates the historical direct citation network from To answer the third question on the social structure, the the most-cited work and then visualizes the network in a scientometric methods of bibliometric coupling analysis chronological order (Garfield, 2004). The following subsections (Jarneving, 2007; Boyack and Klavans, 2010) have been will describe these networks, from bottom to the top. applied to the journal, discipline, organization, and country information of the bibliometric data. Previous work has also Systems and Technologies Cluster shown that insights into clusters of disciplines can be derived The two networks at the bottom of Figure 1 can be described as the based on WoS disciplinary information (Chen and Liao, 2020). “systems and technologies” cluster of networks for its focus on To answer the last question on the social science contribution, technology and systems thinking. The concerns on technological the study uses the bibliometric data provided by the WoS’ subject forecasting and socio-economic change have shown in the relatively more early work by Nakićenović (1996) on categorization scheme’s social sciences category. Thus, the disciplinary landscape will be shown according to, and based decarbonization and later by Tapio et al. (2007) on European upon, such a categorization assignment. energy and transport sectorial development on both Altogether, the scientometric analysis of carbon neutrality decarbonization and dematerialization. Both work highlights the social science literature is expected to show the knowledge strong link between decarbonization and dematerialization, Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 5 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 1 | Bibliometric historiography graph showing the historical evolution of the most-cited work: with parameter node value 30. arguing that carbon emission represents one of the largest mass decomposition analysis of the decarbonization pathways in four flows in the human activities on Earth. Most cited work is the major economies of China, India, Europe and U.S., suggesting that article by Grübler et al. (1999) on energy technologies and global while energy efficiency remains the main strategy, the change, of which Nakićenović is the second author. The main decarbonization strategy after 2030, and the negative carbon research question is framed as technological choices that have long- emissions after 2050 are critical. The work informs the term deterministic impacts on industrial societies and the natural computable general equilibrium (CGE) analysis of the EU environment, with an analytical focus on energy technologies that Decarbonisation Roadmap 2050 by Hübler and Löschel (2013). have been creating problems in the atmospheric environment. It proposes a framework that integrates a forest sector model, a Such a research agenda has assumed the historical trend of carbon accounting model, an ecosystem model, and climate change decarbonization must be accelerated by the conscious scenarios. The computable general equilibrium (CGE) is also used technological choice and social change. As shown in the second earlier by Fragkos et al. (2017) to draw policy implications on line of work from the bottom of Figure 1, the article by Grübler European Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). et al. (1999) is cited by Lilliestam et al. (2012) on the costs and risks Altogether, such a line of work, as presented in the two networks at analysis of carbon capture and storage (CCS) versus concentrating the bottom of Figure 1, can thus be called “systems and solar power (CSP) comparison. In turn, the work is cited by technologies” for their focus on the technologies and systems Marcucci and Fragkos (2015) on the exploratory multi-model perspective. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 6 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies Accounting and Accountability Cluster (especially energy-related issues as related to carbon emissions) and different focuses thus their main approaches (i.e., the system- At the middle of Figure 1, the network begins by Bumpus and Liverman (2008) and Kolk et al. (2008) can be described as the modelling for the systems and technologies cluster, calculative “accounting and accountability” cluster. Although Bumpus and accountability for the accounting and accountability cluster, the Liverman (2008) focus more on international governance of pathway research for the transition and scenario cluster). carbon offsets (i.e., Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism), and Bumpus and Liverman (2008) focus more Author Co-citation Analysis on corporate responses in the form of carbon emission Providing another perspective into the intellectual structure, the author-co-citation analysis is a bibliometric method commonly reporting and disclosure mechanisms, both have informed the ensuing carbon accounting research (Lohmann, 2009; Ascui and used to show the authors’ influence and impact through co- citation networks (Boyack and Klavans, 2010; Aria and Lovell, 2011; Bowen and Wittneben, 2011; Milne and Grubnic, 2011; Gibassier and Schaltegger, 2015; Vesty et al., 2015) with the Cuccurullo, 2017). At the level of authors commonly cited in the dataset, Figure 2 shows the visualization of the co-citation main publication venues such as Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal. The premise of such work can be seen network. At the center to the right, the presence of organization authors as based upon the calculative (or calculative agency) and persuasive features of the social need to perform (i.e., the such as International Energy Agency (IEA), European performativity in the sociology of quantification). As such Commission, United Nations Framework Convention on accounting performativity is applied in the international Climate Change (UNFCCC), Intergovernmental Panel on governance and corporate reporting and disclosure efforts, the Climate Change (IPCC), World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United notion of accountability via calculative agency becomes central to the cluster. Nations, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), clearly Transition and Scenario Cluster demonstrates the significance of these organizations as important At the upper-side of Figure 1, the network begins by Strachan sources on the carbon emissions, climate change and energy. The and Kannan. (2008), Strachan et al. (2009) and Steckel et al. work by individual lead authors consists of Beng Wah Ang’s work (2011) can be described as the “transition and scenario” cluster. on decomposition analysis for energy policymaking (e.g., Ang, Although the work by Strachan and Kannan. (2008); Strachan 2004); Rogelj et al.’s perspective published in Nature (Rogelj et al., et al. (2009) appears to be focusing on systems modelling work 2016) on the need for additional enhancement of national, sub- like the work in the “systems and technologies” cluster, the focus national and non-state actions beyond the Intended Nationally on specific policy-making insights for decarbonization scenarios Determined Contributions (INDCs) required by the Paris (United Kingdom), highlights the interface between modeling Agreement, and Böhringer et al.’s major work on carbon and policy. Similarly, the work by Steckel et al. (2011) also tariffs (Böhringer et al., 2015). The work also includes an provides scenarios-modeling work, on the case of China as opinion piece on fairness measures (Peters et al., 2015), a indispensable role in the global goals of decarbonization, major 700-page report for the United Kingdom government which in turn informed the research on “un-burnable oil” (Stern, 2007), and a body of work initiated by Gössling et al. (McGlade and Ekins, 2014). on international tourism (e.g., Gössling et al., 2006). The cluster features a line of research focusing on pathways, At the lower left of Figure 2, the blue cluster consists of non- especially on the global and national energy systems’ transition organizational authors’ work, mainly on socio-technical towards decarbonization. It features a global collaborative transition. It features the main work by Frank W. Geels and initiative to share pathway-modeling findings and capacities, Benjamin K. Sovacool, that culminates to the article called under the term “deep decarbonization” (Bataille et al., 2016a; “Sociotechnical transitions for deep decarbonization” (Geels Bataille et al., 2016b). Based on scenario-modelling findings, the et al., 2017), based on their past and ongoing work such as decarbonization pathway findings have been published for Japan socio-technical transitions (e.g., Geels, 2005; Geels, 2010; Geels, (Oshiro et al., 2016), South Africa (Altieri et al., 2016), and France 2018; Geels, 2019) and transition pathways (e.g., Sovacool, 2017; and Germany (Mathy et al., 2016), right after the Paris Agreement Köhler et al., 2019). It also presents work by Unruh (2000) on in December 2015. An exploratory analysis has been conducted “carbon lock-in” and by Bulkeley and Betsill (2003) on the role of on how such decarbonization pathways may impact on global global cities in climate change. The cluster also features work by energy trade flows (Pye et al., 2016). An approach for “dynamic the aforementioned work by Nakićenović (1996) and the seminal adaptive policy pathway” has been proposed (Mathy et al., 2016). work on energy technology and global environmental changes by In particular, how different modelling approaches can be applied Grübler et al. (1999), which will be further discussed in in different national or regional contexts for deep section 3.4.1. decarbonization pathways have be discussed for both Finally at the upper left of Figure 2, the green cluster consist of developed and developing countries (Pye and Bataille, 2016). major United Kingdom bodies such as Department of Energy and Although it is beyond the scope of the study to produce a Climate Change (DECC), Office of Gas and Electricity Markets complete stand-alone bibliometric historiography analysis, the (Ofgem), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial three clusters, as identified and discussed above, demonstrate the Strategy (BEIS), and Climate Change Committee (CCC), an common fundamental cross-cluster concerns on decarbonization independent, statutory body established under the Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 7 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 2 | Author co-citation analysis. United Kingdom Climate Change Act 2008. It also features the betweenness centrality. The measurements confirm the core- work on the analysis of government failure and rent-seeking in periphery structure. Although the top nodes for each cluster climate change policy (Helm, 2010) and the main energy (A-2, B-1, C-13, and D-16) can be close near the core of the modeling documentation (Loulou et al., 2004). network, each cluster contains other peripheral nodes with In short, the historiography (section 3.1.1) and author co- consistently high clustering coefficient values, confirming the citation network (section 3.1.2) provide several insights on the clustering outcomes. intellectual structure of the knowledge base, revealing the Note that the second part of the ID corresponds to the ranking fundamental concerns, authoritative organizational and number based on the metrics of “total links strength” first and individual sources, and divergent focuses. then “occurrences,” as shown to the right of the column ID in Table 2. The metric “total link strength” is the derived indicator Conceptual Structure and Its Evolution provided by VOSviewer to attribute the total strength of the links To explore the conceptual structure, the study begins with a of a node with other nodes in the network, and such an keyword co-occurrence analysis, followed by a selected list of attribution suggests how nodes are closely related in terms of keywords with the strongest citation bursts, and a set of thematic distance (MacDonald and Dressler, 2018; Yu et al., 2020; Elisha evolution maps. Together they will provide the relationship and and Viljoen, 2021). the temporal dynamics among the keywords as the empirical The top keyword nodes in terms of the number of occurrences bases to understand the structure of concepts and its evolution. (as visualized in Figure 3 as the size of the nodes and listed in Indeed, for instance, politics and just transition emerge as the Table 7) are “decarbonization” (B-1), with 148 occurrences, most recent component contributed by mostly European actors, “climate change” (A-2), with 128 occurrences. The study as evidenced by multiple findings as follows. describes each cluster with the top keyword accordingly. Cluster B (decarbonization, in green) and cluster A (climate Keyword Co-occurrence Analysis change, in red) occupy the central positions of the network To detect the main topics and evolving research frontiers, the diagram, taking up at least two-thirds of the space. The two study has conducted keyword co-occurrence analysis based on clusters also connect to clusters C (low-carbon transition, in blue) the author keywords. Because author keywords represent the and D (politics, in yellow). succinct concepts and topics of the articles, the keyword co- Overall, the conceptual structure is dominated by two major occurrence analysis can reveal the conceptual structure of themes of climate change and decarbonization, represented by knowledge base, as these keywords can be further clustered clusters A and B respectively, while the themes of transition and into categories of concepts based on the network relationship. politics appear to emerge, represented by clusters C and D Figure 3 and Table 2 show the keyword co-occurrence respectively. The key themes such as carbon accounting, analysis outcomes of the top 30 keywords in four clusters. The carbon neutrality and carbon trading in cluster A are closely first digit of the ID represents the membership of four clusters: related to the sectors of transport and forestry in the same cluster. two large-size clusters (A, and B), a mid-size cluster (C) and a The key themes such as decarbonization, climate policy, smaller cluster (D). The clustering coefficient values are higher for governance, and net zero in cluster B are closely related to the the peripheral and often low-ranking nodes with low-level of sector of energy and the entity of European Union in the same Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 8 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 3 | Keyword co-occurrence network visualization, with each node representing a keyword (Table 2). cluster. The main conceptual components of knowledge base can mechanism occur intensively around 2006 and 2010, and they thus be summarized as two main set of themes: one is carbon are closely related to the forestry sector and its critical role in accounting efforts for climate change mitigation (especially in carbon neutrality discussion. Then, the concepts of bioenergy relation to the sectors of transport and forestry), another is and carbon accounting occur intensively around 2013, decarbonization governance for energy transition (especially in indicating the calculative agency in analyzing technological relation to the energy sector and European Union). choices at that time. After the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, The smaller clusters indicate perhaps emerging or declining set of the themes of Germany, electricity market and transport emerge. themes. Clusters C and D represents two sets of themes: one is low- The last 3 years of 2019–2020 show the intensive occurrences of carbon and sustainability transition (especially in relation to the European Union, just transition, energy storage, city, net-zero and Paris Agreement), and another is about politics and just transition. energy transition, indicating these themes are indeed emerging, not declining ones. Keywords With Strongest Citation Bursts To further clarify the evolution of research themes (i.e., emerging Thematic Evolution and Maps or declining), the findings detailed in Table 3 further reveal the To advance further understanding of the conceptual structure, the temporal dimensions of the top keywords with strongest citation study has conducted a thematic evolution analysis, following bursts. the thematic analysis conventions (Cobo et al., 2011). Using the Indicating the intensity of attention over certain time periods, aforementioned time periods, Figure 4 shows the thematic evolution topics with the strongest citation burst provide additional graph generated from Bibliometrix. It reveals the continued focus on insights, showing the topical transitions of the knowledge base renewable energy and climate change, and the recent rise of carbon over time (Chen, 2004). For instance, the keyword “global accounting, decarbonization and sustainability transitions, especially warming” receives relatively long-lasting, intensive attention after the Paris Agreement in 2015. from 1999 to 2011, indicated by the relative strength (3.05), Using network centrality measures, thematic maps distinguish beginning and end in Table 3. the centrality (x-axis) and density (y-axis) of themes (topics or Table 3 further enriches our understanding of the keywords here), as shown in Figures 4B–D for each periods. knowledge base so far as follows. First the concepts of Applying the common interpretations of the four quadrants of carbon sequestration, afforestation, and the “Reducing themes, the maps show the flowing four themes with distinct Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation” (REDD) features based on the centrality measures: Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 9 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 2 | Main keywords: key scientometric metrics based on keyword co-occurrence network. Keywords ID Total links Occurrences Clustering Centrality strength coefficient Eigenvector Degree Closeness Betweenness Climate change A-2 186 128 0.651 0.402 0.966 0.967 0.032 Climate change mitigation A-5 114 69 0.661 0.268 0.931 0.935 0.029 Carbon emissions A-6 104 85 0.675 0.241 0.931 0.935 0.026 Carbon accounting A-9 73 64 0.737 0.159 0.690 0.763 0.011 GHG emissions A-11 66 37 0.727 0.151 0.759 0.806 0.014 Carbon neutrality A-15 50 32 0.749 0.119 0.655 0.744 0.010 Transport A-18 37 35 0.813 0.103 0.483 0.659 0.004 Global warming A-22 33 15 0.859 0.085 0.448 0.644 0.002 Carbon trading A-23 32 20 0.778 0.077 0.621 0.725 0.007 Forestry A-25 29 25 0.781 0.068 0.517 0.674 0.005 Sustainability A-26 28 23 0.735 0.052 0.586 0.707 0.008 Emissions reduction A-28 25 16 0.842 0.057 0.552 0.690 0.004 Decarbonization B-1 203 148 0.643 0.450 1.000 1.000 0.036 Renewable energy B-3 125 91 0.667 0.279 0.931 0.935 0.028 Climate policy B-4 123 74 0.681 0.292 0.931 0.935 0.025 Policy B-7 88 49 0.763 0.230 0.690 0.763 0.009 Energy policy B-8 79 43 0.727 0.184 0.759 0.806 0.014 Electricity B-10 70 38 0.723 0.186 0.759 0.806 0.015 Governance B-12 57 32 0.779 0.141 0.690 0.763 0.009 Energy transition B-14 53 29 0.743 0.138 0.655 0.744 0.010 European Union B-19 36 16 0.817 0.087 0.552 0.690 0.004 Energy efficiency B-24 30 23 0.825 0.070 0.552 0.690 0.004 Net zero B-27 26 24 0.857 0.058 0.483 0.659 0.002 Low-carbon transition C-13 55 31 0.716 0.148 0.690 0.763 0.012 Technology C-17 42 37 0.749 0.100 0.655 0.744 0.010 Sustainability transition C-20 35 22 0.743 0.085 0.586 0.707 0.008 Paris Agreement C-21 34 19 0.824 0.093 0.586 0.707 0.005 Energy C-30 19 19 0.846 0.043 0.448 0.644 0.002 Politics D-16 43 22 0.758 0.127 0.552 0.690 0.006 Just transition D-29 23 15 0.733 0.068 0.345 0.604 0.003 � Quadrant I: motor-theme, at the upper-right, indicating the confirming the findings in section 3.2.2. The policy-related themes well-established structure; remain in the basic-theme quadrant, along with themes such as net � Quadrant II: niche-theme, at the upper-left, representing zero and carbon footprint. The themes of sustainability transition, well-established but less important structure; scenarios, renewable energy, energy transition and policy appear in � Quadrant III: emerging-declining-theme, at the lower-left, the niche-theme quadrant. neither important nor developed; Altogether, the conceptual structure of the knowledge base reveals � Quadrant IV: basic-theme, at the lower-right, important but the major and emerging themes such as decarbonization, climate under-developed; change, carbon accounting, net-zero, and just transition, the most discussed sectors such as energy, forestry and transport, and entities It is revealed by Figure 4B,for the first period, themes such as such as the European Union. After first answering the “when” carbon accounting, REDD, and forestry constitute the more well- questions, the study now turns to the “where” questions. (Where established conceptual structure, whereas the themes such as climate have such social sciences activities on carbon neutrality occurred?) change mitigation, climate policy and carbon neutrality remain in the basic-theme quadrant. For the second period, as shown in Social Structure Figure 4C, themes such as carbon accounting and forestry To explore the social structure of knowledge production, the remains well-established, joined by the theme of carbon trading. study continues to examine the main journal sources and top- Themes such as carbon neutrality, GHG emissions, transport, performing countries or regions. Together they will provide the climate change mitigation appear in the niche-theme quadrant, contextual understanding of the knowledge productions in terms whereas renewable energy, climate policy and policy appear in of their geographic and disciplinary contexts. Indeed, the body of the basic-theme quadrant. Confirming the previous findings knowledge has spanned across multiple geographic and based on citation bursts, the theme of electricity markets appears disciplinary contexts, as evidenced by multiple findings as follows. in the emerging-declining-theme quadrant. For the last and most Since the distribution of publications across journal sources recent period of 2019–2021, Figure 4D shows the new concept of can provide initial answers to the “where” question, it is then just transition enters the well-established motor-theme quadrant, helpful to examine the features of top journal sources. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 10 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 3 | Top keywords with the strongest citation bursts. Keywords Strength Begin End 1983–2022 Global warming 3.05 1999 2011 Energy 2.71 2001 2008 Clean development mechanism 2.55 2004 2008 Carbon sequestration 3.53 2005 2013 REDD 4.28 2006 2014 Afforestation 2.54 2006 2010 Carbon neutrality 4.24 2009 2012 Carbon 4.17 2010 2015 Bioenergy 2.6 2010 2016 Carbon accounting 2.67 2013 2013 Carbon emission 3.03 2015 2016 Germany 2.78 2016 2017 Electricity market 2.52 2016 2016 Transport 2.95 2018 2018 European Union 5.26 2019 2019 Just transition 4.49 2019 2020 Energy storage 2.99 2019 2019 City 2.49 2019 2019 Net zero 4.36 2020 2020 Energy transition 2.96 2020 2022 bibliographic coupling of all journal sources that have five or more Top Journal Sources and Their Multi- and Cross-Disciplinary Features articles. Bibliographic coupling analysis can allow us to map and cluster the journals based on the similarities of the bibliographic As mentioned earlier, the study employed the “split-apply- combine strategy” (Wickham, 2011) of data analysis. Thus, references (Jarneving, 2007; Boyack and Klavans, 2010). Table 4 shows the cross-tabulation results by breaking up the In total, 26 journal sources out of the 887 articles of the second bibliographic records according to the publication sources (see time period met the criteria. The bibliographic coupling analysis the first column) and then exploring their respective disciplines outcomes resulted in five clusters, as visualized in Figure 5.Atthe and top topics (see the second and third columns). center is the core cluster of journal sources with label initial A in The top journal sources are Energy Policy, Climate Policy, Energy color red, such as Energy Policy (A-1), Climate Policy (A-2), Energy Economics (A-3), Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Economics, Ecological Economics, Global Environmental Change- Human and Policy Dimensions,and Technological Forecasting and Dimensions (A-4), and Technological Forecasting and Social Change (A-6). Since Figure 5 and Table 5 together show the bibliographic Social Change,asshown in the first column of Table 4.The ranking numbers are shown in parentheses before the journal title names, and coupling relationship among journal sources, the “total link strength” indicates the total strength of such a bibliographic coupling the numbers of the publications are shown after the colon following the titles. The titles of these journals reveal the clear presence of relationship of a given journal source with other sources, thereby substantiating the empirical claims of research fronts as networks of policies, economics, and environmental and social changes, indicating dynamic policy and economics concerns regarding such changes. nodes based on links of bibliometric metrics. At the upper right of The dominant social science disciplines are Business and Figure 5 is the peripheral cluster of journal sources with label initial B Economics, Public Administration, and Geography, as shown in the in color green, including Accounting Auditing and Accountability second column of Table 4. The four top journal sources also belong to Journal (B-8) and Environment and Planning C-Politics and Space (B- 12). At the lower right of Figure 5 is the peripheral cluster of sources Environmental Sciences and Ecology, within the broader category of “Life Sciences and Biomedicine”, suggesting the significant cross- labeled with the initial C in blue, including Ecological Economics (C- 5), and Journal of Forest Economics (C-10).Atthe lowerleftof disciplinary feature across the disciplines of Environmental Sciences and Ecology and the social science disciplines of Business and Figure 5 is the peripheral cluster of sources labeled with the initial D in the color yellow, including Transportation Research Part A-Policy Economics, Public Administration, and Geography. Additionally, the top journal Energy Policy belongs to the discipline of Energy and Fuels, and Practice (D-7) and Transport Policy (D-9). Revealing the main research fronts while confirming the validity of bibliometric methods, which belongs to the broader category of “Technology”.The topical features are mostly dominated by the topics of “decarbonization”, Figure 5 and Table 5 show the topical and disciplinary closeness of “climate change mitigation”, “renewable energy”, “carbon accounting”, journal sources. Core cluster A not only consists of the top journals, and “sustainability transition” for the top journal sources. but also indicates the interdisciplinary nature of policy, economics, Based on the initial answers above on the features of the top five and social change, especially for energy and climate. The cluster B largely contains cross-disciplinary research fronts across the topics of journal sources, this section advances the analysis by examining the Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 11 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 4 | Thematic evolutions: the continued focus on renewable energy and the rise of carbon accounting, decarbonization and sustainability transition. (A) Thematic evolution graph, (B) Thematic map: 1983-2015, (C) Thematic map: 2016-2019, (D) Thematic map: 2019-2021. accounting management, geography, and politics. Cluster C centrality, eigenvector centrality, and betweenness centrality) concerns the research fronts of ecological, forest, and resource and clustering coefficients. economics. Cluster D relates to transportation. Cluster E, with one Overall, clusters A, B, C, D, and E show that the core clusters A node E-20, concerns sustainable tourism. Additionally, Table 5 and B are multi-disciplinary, with C, D, and E focusing on the shows the citation attributes (i.e., the absolute and normalized cross-disciplinary topics of forestry, transportation, and numbers) and the network centrality metrics (i.e., closeness sustainable tourism, respectively. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 12 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 4 | Top journal sources and their respective disciplines and topics. Top journal sources Disciplines Top topics (1) Energy policy: 252 Business and Economics ; Energy and Fuels; decarbonization: 56; renewable energy: 38; climate change mitigation: Environmental Sciences andand Ecology 21; electricity: 19; climate policy: 17; transport: 17; climate change: 14; carbon emissions: 13; energy transition: 13; energy policy: 12; GHG emissions: 11; energy efficiency: 10; carbon accounting: 6; energy system modelling: 6; just transition: 6; Paris agreement: 6; carbon trading: 5; emissions reduction: 5; energy: 5; sustainability: 5; sustainability transition: 5; bioenergy: 4; coal phase-out: 4; energy systems modelling: 4; flexibility: 4; heat pumps: 4; hydrogen: 4; net zero: 4; policy: 4; power sector: 4; United Kingdom: 4; uncertainty: 4 (2) Climate policy: 84 Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Public climate policy: 23; climate change mitigation: 21; decarbonization: 14; Administration carbon accounting: 10; carbon trading: 8; climate change: 8; energy policy: 8; Paris agreement: 8; renewable energy: 8; emissions reduction: 7; sustainability transition: 6; carbon emissions: 5; electricity: 5; energy models: 5; energy scenarios: 4; carbon leakage: 3; climate finance: 3; Kyoto protocol: 3; NDCS: 3; transport: 3 (3) Energy economics: 38 Business and Economics climate change mitigation: 8; renewable energy: 8; decarbonization: 5; carbon emissions: 4; climate policy: 4; electricity: 4; renewable integration: 4; China: 3; climate change: 3; energy modeling: 3; energy policy: 3; integrated assessment modeling: 3 (4) Ecological economics: 23 Business and Economics ; Environmental Sciences carbon accounting: 7; climate change mitigation: 5; climate change: 4; and Ecology bioenergy: 3; carbon sequestration: 3 (5–1) Global environmental change-human Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Geography climate change: 6; sustainability transition: 3 and policy dimensions: 21 2 b (5–2) Technological forecasting and social Business and Economics ; Public Administration carbon emissions: 4; climate change: 3; climate policy: 3; scenarios: 3 change: 21 Data (“Research Areas”) as assigned by the Clarivate Analytics’ WoS for each journal or book source. Disciplines (“Research Areas”) categorized by Clarivate Analytics’ WoS as belonging to social sciences. FIGURE 5 | Main journal sources: a bibliographic coupling network visualization, with each node representing a journal source (Table 5). Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 13 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 5 | Main journal sources: key scientometric metrics. Journal source ID Total Documents Citations Clustering Centrality links coefficient Closeness Eigenvector Betweenness strength Energy policy A-1 3,936 241 5,969 0.653 1.000 0.645 0.053 Climate policy A-2 2,414 79 807 0.699 0.962 0.566 0.030 Energy economics A-3 1,392 38 558 0.699 0.962 0.358 0.030 Global environmental change-human and policy A-4 905 21 716 0.653 1.000 0.232 0.053 dimensions Technological forecasting and social change A-6 629 17 385 0.708 0.926 0.159 0.027 Energy journal A-11 248 10 100 0.802 0.694 0.064 0.007 Futures A-18 172 5 89 0.801 0.806 0.042 0.018 Politics and governance A-21 153 8 20 0.779 0.758 0.040 0.016 Economics of energy and environmental policy A-23 83 6 80 0.945 0.641 0.023 0.001 Environmental politics A-24 83 5 19 0.890 0.694 0.019 0.003 Bulletin of the atomic scientists A-25 47 6 46 0.929 0.595 0.013 0.001 Open house international A-26 7 8 28 1.000 0.543 0.002 0.000 Accounting auditing and accountability journal B-8 307 8 257 0.786 0.862 0.050 0.014 Environment and planning C-politics and space B-12 235 6 18 0.908 0.735 0.042 0.003 Global environmental politics B-14 227 7 119 0.925 0.735 0.044 0.002 Geoforum B-15 198 5 95 0.867 0.735 0.037 0.005 Sustainability accounting management and policy B-19 158 6 27 0.867 0.714 0.022 0.005 journal Environment and planning A-economy and space B-22 123 6 50 0.807 0.806 0.019 0.010 Ecological economics C-5 724 22 458 0.711 0.926 0.168 0.026 Journal of forest economics C-10 262 9 67 0.867 0.714 0.046 0.004 Environmental and resource economics C-16 187 7 43 0.885 0.676 0.043 0.003 Forest policy and economics C-17 181 10 153 0.894 0.658 0.026 0.002 Transportation research Part A-policy and practice D-7 318 5 41 0.766 0.806 0.044 0.013 Transport policy D-9 264 6 127 0.858 0.735 0.043 0.005 Journal of environmental planning and management D-13 229 5 68 0.901 0.694 0.019 0.003 Journal of sustainable tourism E-20 154 6 251 0.807 0.806 0.038 0.010 From the top 5 to the top 26 journals, the multi- and cross- Austria. Clusters B and C occupy the central positions of the disciplinary features were analyzed and visualized, showing how network diagram, connecting to the main clusters A (red) on the knowledge publication is distributed across sources with their left and clusters D (yellow) and E (purple) on the right. With the associated disciplines and topics. Business and Economics, Public highest number of nodes, cluster A on the left consists of many Administration, and Geography were shown to be the most more Asian and South American countries, such as China (A-10), dominant disciplines. Japan (A-21), Brazil (A-23), India (A-2), and Singapore (A-26). Finally, the smaller cluster D (in yellow) is shown to be at the Top-Performing Countries or Regions periphery on the lower right of Figure 6, consisting of three This sub-section advances the analysis of the features of the Nordic countries—Sweden (D-7), Norway (D-11), and Finland countries, with the aim to explore national and regional (D-18)—along with New Zealand (D-19). Based on the network contributions as well as implicit collaboration (in the form of visualization (Figure 6) and its centrality indicators (Table 6), the citing the same knowledge sources) across national and regional most central nodes are England (E-1), the United States (B-2), boundaries. and Germany (C-3). At the level of countries, Figure 6 and Table 6 show visualizations of the bibliographic coupling network and key Main Research: Most-Cited Work Across scientometric indicators. The first digit of the ID represents the membership of five clusters: four mid-size clusters (A, B, Social Science Disciplines C, and E) and a smaller cluster (D). The most important node in The previous section indicates that the body of related social terms of the number of documents (as visualized in Figure 6 as science knowledge has three core clusters and other scattered the size of the nodes and listed in the column titled “Documents” peripheral work. To explore the specific details across disciplinary in Table 7) is England (E-1), with 220 documents, as part of (and often thus geographic) contexts, a total 55 articles were cluster E with other United Kingdom regions such as Scotland (E- selected for further review based on the top two most-cited 15) and Wales (E-25), as well as Denmark (E-16). The second- articles in each social science discipline. Together they will ranking node is the United States (B-2), along with Australia (B- provide a mosaic of disciplinary research with specific 4), Canada (B-5), South Africa (B-27), and Russia (B-30). Shown disciplinary and geographic details. in the lower part of Figure 6 is cluster C, which contains four To determine the measurement of “most-cited” work, this European countries: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and research has used the data of the “Total Times Cited Count” (with Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 14 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies FIGURE 6 | Main countries: a bibliographic coupling network visualization, with each node representing a country (Table 6). the field tag Z9), including citation data from the following environmental impact (Grübler et al., 1999; Goldemberg et al., database: Web of Science Core Collection, BIOSIS Citation 2008). Index, Chinese Science Citation Database, Data Citation Index, Both articles were published in Energy Policy, an international Russian Science Citation Index, and SciELO Citation Index. journal for the political, economic, planning, environmental, and Table 7 lists the most-cited work across different social science social aspects of energy. This exemplar research provides a deep disciplines, and it is sorted based on the number of publications analysis of the intricate relationship between energy and the (see the column headed “Counts”), which are unevenly environment, as well as the impacts of specific technologies distributed. The following discussions were systematically and policies. The human energy technology shift from coal to organized based on the clusters found in Table 8, with the oil to natural gas requires a better understanding of the impact on aim to highlight the disciplinary features. global environmental changes over time, including measurements such as unit energy of carbon pollution Business and Economics Cross-Disciplinary Core (Grübler et al., 1999). The systematic approach is also Cluster required to gain a holistic view of both the positive and Based on the business and economics cross-disciplinary core negative impacts, as illustrated in the analysis of Brazil’s cluster shown in Table 8, this subsection will summarize the sugarcane ethanol (Goldemberg et al., 2008). Although carbon major works in the only social science discipline in the business dioxide emissions have also been reduced, this has led to and economics cluster. worsening the conditions of high-biodiversity areas—for First, business and economics research examples include the example, through deforestation, water contamination, soil energy technology and global environmental changes (Grübler degradation, and soil damage. Indeed, the sustainability et al., 1999), as well as the sustainability of sugarcane ethanol aspects of the energy–climate (or even energy–environment) (Goldemberg et al., 2008). Grübler et al. (1999) proposed a useful relationship require unpacking and clarity. technical analysis typology for analyzing the impact of energy technology on the global environment, especially global warming Public Policy Cross-Disciplinary Core Cluster (Grübler et al., 1999). Goldemberg et al. (2008) found that the As Table 8 suggests that several disciplines are in close rapid expansion of sugarcane ethanol production in Brazil has relationship with public administration (i.e., the public policy caused sustainability issues, including the positive impact of air cross-disciplinary core cluster), this subsection will summarize quality improvement and negative impacts on food security and the major work in these disciplines, as listed in Table 7. field working conditions (Goldemberg et al., 2008). Both studies Public administration work examples include climate policy point to the central policy concerns of energy policies and their (Hohne et al., 2017) and smart-sustainable cities (Yigitcanlar and Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 15 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 6 | Main countries: key scientometric metrics. Country or ID Total links Documents Citations Clustering Centrality region strength coefficient Closeness Eigenvector Betweenness France A-6 7,572 42 771 0.966 1.000 0.217 0.001 Peoples R China A-10 6,592 51 544 0.966 1.000 0.177 0.001 Switzerland A-12 5,127 35 554 0.966 1.000 0.151 0.001 Spain A-14 3,658 33 318 0.975 0.968 0.095 0.001 Greece A-17 2,477 15 306 0.966 1.000 0.060 0.001 Ireland A-20 1945 12 100 0.966 1.000 0.058 0.001 Japan A-21 1934 14 237 0.966 1.000 0.045 0.001 Belgium A-22 1920 16 252 0.966 1.000 0.048 0.001 Brazil A-23 1854 15 682 0.966 1.000 0.045 0.001 India A-24 1,434 6 186 0.989 0.909 0.039 0.000 Singapore A-26 1,097 8 153 0.973 0.968 0.029 0.001 Poland A-28 689 8 96 0.984 0.938 0.019 0.001 Portugal A-29 678 9 102 0.993 0.857 0.015 0.000 Lithuania A-31 496 5 55 0.993 0.857 0.010 0.000 United States B-2 16,422 191 3,608 0.966 1.000 0.420 0.001 Australia B-4 8,614 93 1,686 0.966 1.000 0.245 0.001 Canada B-5 7,586 55 839 0.966 1.000 0.237 0.001 South Africa B-27 994 11 125 0.975 0.968 0.030 0.001 Russia B-30 630 6 24 0.997 0.857 0.020 0.000 Germany C-3 13,129 102 1,584 0.966 1.000 0.358 0.001 Italy C-8 7,240 48 570 0.966 1.000 0.206 0.001 Netherlands C-9 7,031 41 1,036 0.966 1.000 0.200 0.001 Austria C-13 4,232 24 319 0.975 0.968 0.130 0.001 Sweden D-7 7,307 42 920 0.966 1.000 0.207 0.001 Norway D-11 5,319 33 409 0.966 1.000 0.152 0.001 Finland D-18 2,353 22 331 0.966 1.000 0.069 0.001 New Zealand D-19 2,314 13 297 0.975 0.968 0.071 0.001 England E-1 22,783 220 4,458 0.966 1.000 0.498 0.001 Scotland E-15 3,571 38 776 0.966 1.000 0.130 0.001 Denmark E-16 2,968 22 318 0.970 0.968 0.101 0.001 Wales E-25 1,142 8 167 0.997 0.882 0.043 0.000 Lee, 2014). In specific, the importance and implications of the (2012) conducted semi-structured interviews of practitioners 2015 Paris Agreement were discussed and examined by Hohne and found that a clear definition of carbon-neutral building is et al. (2017), with the analytical focus on the “individual intended needed, along with other facilitating factors such as material nationally determined contributions” (INDCs); they found that choice, managers’ knowledge, market demand, government the progress of decarbonization has been made faster than expected support, and leadership (Zuo et al., 2012). Kibwami and in sectors such as solar photovoltaics, onshore wind, and electric Tutesigensi (2016) investigated whether and how the cars, and they argued that policies must be implemented in order to integration of embodied carbon in the development approval meet the INDC pledges made by national governments to resolve process by regulators can facilitate sustainability in construction, the inconsistency between INDCs and global goals such as the 2015 based on a set of structured interviews regarding policy proposals Paris Agreement (Hohne et al., 2017). At the city level, eco-city in Uganda (Kibwami and Tutesigensi, 2016). In the development initiatives were studied by Yigitcanlar and Lee (2014),focusing on approval process, the authors argue, both environmental and the Korean case of ubiquitous-eco-city (u-eco-city), with the goal social sustainability should be considered, even in developing being to distinguish whether this contributes to an ideal model of countries. Similarly, an exemplar work in education discussed sustainable and smart urban forms beyond being a mere branding sustainability initiatives at a Canadian university and proposed a event (Yigitcanlar and Lee, 2014). Both studies hint at the political, multi-bottom line approach based on a set of tools using a financial, technological, and other forms of support in driving-force–pressure–state–exposure–effect–action implementing such policy initiatives (Yigitcanlar and Lee, 2014; framework (Waheed et al., 2011). Stadel et al. (2011) developed Hohne et al., 2017). engineering education that integrates carbon accounting and Published in the journal Habitat International (Zuo et al., building information modeling as the basis for intelligent 2012; Kibwami and Tutesigensi, 2016), these exemplar works in sustainable design (Stadel et al., 2011). urban studies recognize the importance of sustainability agenda in the building sector as one of the biggest contributors of carbon Social Science Disciplinary Core Cluster emissions and energy consumption. With the aim of examining Based on the social science disciplinary core cluster shown in the factors that hinder or help carbon neutrality goals regarding Table 8, this subsection will summarize the most-cited works in reducing emissions in commercial developments, Zuo et al. these disciplines, as listed in Table 7. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 16 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 7 | Main research: social science work. Disciplines Counts Main work Key ideas Business and economics 557 Grübler et al. (1999), Goldemberg et al. (2008) Energy technology and global environmental changes Grübler et al.(1999); sustainability of sugarcane ethanol Goldemberg et al. (2008). Public administration 172 Hohne et al. (2017), Yigitcanlar and Lee (2014) Individual intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) Hohne et al.(2017); Eco-city initiatives, Korean u-eco-city initiatives Yigitcanlar and Lee (2014) Government and law 75 Vandenbergh and Steinemann (2007), Green The carbon-neutral individual, carbon neutrality norms Vandenbergh and (2013) Steinemann (2007), the institutional complexity of carbon neutrality, and carbon management Green (2013) Geography 70 Bumpus and Liverman (2008), Byers et al. International governance of carbon offsets Bumpus and Liverman (2008); (2014) United Kingdom decarbonization pathways for the United Kingdom Byers et al. (2014) Urban studies 33 Zuo et al. (2012), Kibwami and Tutesigensi Sustainability agenda in the building sector Zuo et al. (2012) and related regulatory (2016) policies Kibwami and Tutesigensi (2016) International relations 32 Green (2013), van der Ven et al. (2017) Institutional complexity under the Kyoto Protocol (Green, 2013); contributions by nonstate and subnational actors on climate governance van der Ven et al. (2017) Development studies 31 Zuo et al. (2012), Andrews (2008) Sustainability agenda in the building sector Zuo et al. (2012); land-use pattern changes Andrews (2008) Social sciences-other topics 29 Higham and Cohen (2011), Gössling (2009) Consumers’ attitudes regarding the impact of tourism and travel on climate change Higham and Cohen (2011); industrial actors’ role in greenhouse gas emissions Gössling (2009) Sociology 15 Scott et al. (2019), Marres (2011) Public consent and acceptability Scott et al. (2019); the role of technology in carbon accounting Marres (2011) Social issues 12 Pidgeon and Demski (2012), Public consent and acceptability Pidgeon and Demski (2012); the role of Boehmer-Christiansen (2003) technology in carbon accounting Boehmer-Christiansen (2003) Education and educational 11 Waheed et al. (2011), Stadel et al. (2011) University sustainability initiatives, using a driving force-pressure-state-exposure- research effect-action framework Waheed et al. (2011); intelligent sustainable design education that integrates carbon accounting for engineers Stadel et al. (2011) Area studies 4 Benjaminsen (2017), Gilley (2017) The legitimacy of the local adoption of global policy frameworks such as REDD+ Benjaminsen (2017); integrated governance solutions and central-local relations on environmental issues Gilley (2017) Psychology 4 Quimby and Angelique (2011), Payne (2020) Pro-environmental behavior research and community psychology knowledge aiming for a carbon neutral future Quimby and Angelique (2011); psychologically vulnerable groups impacted by decarbonization Payne (2020) Communication 2 Hopke and Hestres (2018), Koteyko (2012) Visual narratives, the media and climate stakeholder relationship Hopke and Hestres (2018); critical discourse analysis work on carbon neutrality Koteyko (2012) Linguistics 2 Dury (2008), Koteyko (2012) The English term “carbon neutral” evolution Dury (2008); critical discourse analysis work on carbon neutrality Koteyko (2012) Social work 2 Quimby and Angelique (2011), Chapman and Community psychology knowledge relating to a carbon-neutral future Quimby and Boston (2007) Angelique (2011); public attitudes towards and behaviors concerning carbon emission reduction Chapman and Boston (2007) Archaeology 1 Pigliautile et al. (2019) Environmental sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings Pigliautile et al. (2019) Cultural studies 1 Pallesen (2016) Cultural and framing politics of pricing Pallesen (2016) Government and law discipline works include the seminal regulatory imagination to address the governance and work by Vandenbergh and Steinemann (2007) on the legal and management issues surrounding carbon neutrality and carbon regulatory basis on the notion of the carbon-neutral individual management. (Vandenbergh and Steinemann, 2007) and the analysis of carbon Works on major international relations includes the article by management standards by Green (2013). Drawing upon Green (2013), which was not only published in Global empirical studies and norms theory, the notion of the carbon- Environmental Politics but also touches upon the institutional neutral individual suggests the possibility of advancing legal complexity under the Kyoto Protocol (Green, 2013). reforms that combine the existing norm of personal Additionally, the article by van der Ven et al. (2017) that was responsibility with the emerging norm of carbon neutrality published in the same journal examined the effect of the valuable (Vandenbergh and Steinemann, 2007). Focusing on the role of contributions of non-state and subnational actors on climate private authority, the network analysis of public and private governance. It proposes an approach that is more comprehensive standards for carbon management reveals an emerging climate in identifying how such contributions can become far-reaching change governance order that is complex, suggesting the and durable (Van der ven et al., 2017). Such an approach is importance of private authority in institutional complexity applied to an analysis of the Carbon Trust’s initiative on the (Green, 2013). Both articles have contributed to the legal and creation of product carbon footprints, indicating some initial Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 17 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies TABLE 8 | Main disciplines: key scientometric metrics. Disciplines ID Total links Documents Citations Clustering Centrality strength coefficient Closeness Eigenvector Betweenness Public administration A-4 26,649 161 1762 0.783 1.000 0.216 0.023 Science and technology-other topic A-9 4,767 28 486 0.871 0.920 0.031 0.008 Urban studies A-11 3,837 32 196 0.831 0.958 0.023 0.014 Education and educational research A-19 598 11 54 0.895 0.852 0.003 0.007 Operations research and management science A-20 502 7 90 0.895 0.742 0.005 0.004 Engineering A-21 427 5 57 0.912 0.719 0.002 0.003 Architecture A-22 401 9 30 0.956 0.639 0.002 0.001 Government and law B-6 10,623 74 517 0.852 0.920 0.075 0.011 International relations B-7 6,567 32 271 0.930 0.852 0.044 0.003 Social sciences-other topics B-10 4,282 27 546 0.818 0.958 0.026 0.017 Sociology B-14 2,589 15 273 0.895 0.885 0.017 0.006 Social issues B-18 743 11 56 0.971 0.742 0.003 0.001 Area studies B-23 181 4 16 1.000 0.697 0.001 0.000 Environmental sciences and ecology C-1 80,444 500 9,497 0.783 1.000 0.598 0.023 Business and economics C-2 72,624 535 10,737 0.783 1.000 0.585 0.023 Energy and fuels C-3 47,617 255 6,096 0.783 1.000 0.481 0.023 Forestry C-13 2,704 21 228 0.930 0.852 0.027 0.003 Development studies D-8 5,104 29 383 0.818 0.958 0.033 0.017 Transportation D-12 3,081 18 251 0.967 0.767 0.026 0.001 Agriculture D-16 1,143 5 76 0.930 0.852 0.010 0.003 Geography E-5 12,052 69 1,479 0.783 1.000 0.096 0.023 Psychology E-24 27 3 16 1.000 0.590 0.000 0.000 Physical geography F-15 1,444 16 628 0.963 0.793 0.008 0.002 Geology F-17 744 9 349 1.000 0.767 0.003 0.000 Disciplines (“Research Areas”) as assigned by Clarivate Analytics’ WoS. failures and suggestions for policymakers to measure the work by Boehmer-Christiansen (2003) on the need for global contribution to global decarbonization more accurately. treaty obligations to advance the transition to green fuels and A key “social sciences-other topics” work consists of an article technologies asks several questions regarding equity and political on Norwegian attitudes towards the impact of air travel on instability during the decarbonization of global energy supplies climate change. The article concludes that Norway is sensitive (Boehmer-Christiansen, 2003). to climate issues and thus a vanguard European tourism market From area studies, the work by Benjaminsen (2017) examined (Higham and Cohen, 2011). Additionally, on the topic of tourism why the global policy framework known as Reducing Emissions Gössling (2009) provides a critical review of carbon neutrality from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in within the context of the UNWTO’s Davos Declaration, which Zanzibar is at risk of early enthusiasm and then ensuing ascribed the responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to abandonment due to its lack of legitimacy in terms of durable the main tourism industrial actors (Gössling, 2009). community forest management (Benjaminsen, 2017). Another One sociology paper by Scott et al. (2019) also contributes to area studies work by Gilley (2017) compared the local success in the understanding of the consequences facing the tourism sector reducing greenhouse gas emissions in China (Guangzhou) and through the systematic construction of the Climate Change India (Gujarat), revealing similar patterns of integrated Vulnerability Index for Tourism (CVIT) (Scott et al., 2019). governance solutions but different institutional linkages: This research found that Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, mainly intra-governmental linkages for China and mainly and Small Island Developing States are highly vulnerable and that state-society linkages for India. The research also showed the climate change will hinder the contributions of tourism to the insignificant to marginal effects of international negotiations and Sustainable Development Goals. From the perspective of national frameworks, with implications for central–local relations everyday life and devices of accounting, another sociology regarding environmental issues and for international aid and work carried out by Marres (2011) examined the role of assistance (Gilley, 2017). technology in public participation in carbon accounting, suggesting the capacity to “co-articulate” participation (Marres, Other Peripheral Disciplinary Work 2011). Other social science disciplines consist of Development Studies, From the discipline of social issues, the exemplar work by Geography, Psychology, Communication, Linguistics, Social Pidgeon and Demski (2012) on the public’s attitudes towards Work, Archaeology, and Cultural Studies, each with a few energy transformation highlights the importance of public publications (some four and often two). Nonetheless, it is consent and acceptability in the adoption of emerging helpful to examine how each social science discipline has renewable energy projects (Pidgeon and Demski, 2012). The contributed to this topic so far. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 18 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies One major development studies work by Zuo et al. (2012) media discourse analysis by Koteyko (2012) examined the was previously discussed in the urban studies discipline, not “market-driven sustainability” in the British media, specifically only because it was published in the cross-disciplinary journal United Kingdom national newspapers, between 1990 and 2009 Habitat International but also because it discusses the need for (Koteyko, 2012). The findings reveal that finance-related carbon cultural change in the construction industry towards compound phrases (1990–2005) occur before other compound sustainability (Green, 2013). Another research article by phrases, such as “low-carbon”, “zero-carbon”, and “carbon- Andrews (2008) investigated how land use and greenhouse neutral” (popular after 2005). This study argues that the gas emissions are related using exploratory case studies to climate change debate has been narrowed because carbon illustrate the varying per capita carbon dioxide emissions. compound phrases suggest that carbon emissions management This study found that buildings typically contribute more starts from calculation and monetization. emissions than personal transportation and argued that Linguistics works include the communications research work holistic solutions to this problem must incorporate carried out by Koteyko (2012), as discussed earlier, as it was technical fixes (especially green buildings) and land-use published in a cross-disciplinary journal called Language and pattern changes (considering population densities and Communication. Additionally related to communication transportation). research is an article by Dury (2008) from the linguistics One important work in the field of geography is an article journal Terminology, based on a bilingual (French and published in Economic Geography by Bumpus and Liverman English) comparable corpus, which shows that the English (2008) on the governance of carbon offsets. Its political economy term “carbon neutral” has followed a particular development analysis contextualized the governance structures of the Kyoto pattern: it becomes more widespread in the media over time Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. The analysis (i.e., determinologized) and then moves into the ecology lexicon illustrates how carbon offsets represent the strategies of capital (i.e., terminologized) (Dury, 2008). accumulation. Another geography research article tested six From the discipline of social work, the previously discussed decarbonization pathways for the United Kingdom, with work by Quimby and Angelique (2011) is included, since it specific discussions of the role of water in electricity was published in the cross-disciplinary journal American generation and cooling water use (Byers et al., 2014). Journal of Community Psychology (Quimby and Angelique, Following the traditions of pro-environmental behavior 2011). The social work article by Chapman and Boston (2007) research, one essential psychology work by Quimby and examines the social implications of decarbonization in the Angelique (2011) analyzed the perceived barriers and catalysts New Zealand economy, outlining the likely economic and for encouraging pro-environmental behavior within the distributional impacts of related policies on public attitudes environmental movement. Based on the perceived barriers towards and behaviors concerning carbon emission reduction they found (such as hopelessness, low efficacy, and time and (Chapman and Boston, 2007). The archaeology work by money resources) and the catalysts identified (such as changing Pigliautile et al. (2019) examines historical buildings to social norms through institutional and educational explore an innovative approach to microclimate transformation), the article argues that knowledge of enhancement using thin-envelope materials (Pigliautile community psychology can contribute to the fight for a et al., 2019). The cultural studies work by Pallesen (2016) carbon-neutral future (Quimby and Angelique, 2011). Based examines the cultural and framing politics of pricing by on the fieldwork examining cobalt mining in the Democratic examining the adoption of tariffs and wind power pricing Republic of the Congo (DRC), another important psychology in France during the decarbonization of the electricity sector, work by Payne (2020) highlighted the injustice of the raising the issues of the social and governance dynamics of “decarbonization divide”, connecting decarbonization with value attribution and negotiation (Pallesen, 2016). issues of environmental destruction, child labor, energy dispossession, and gender inequality, with certain ethnic groups being rendered more psychologically vulnerable DISCUSSION (Payne, 2020). Coming from the discipline of communication research, Overall, our findings confirm our assumption that the issues of Hopke and Hestres (2018) visualized the media and climate carbon neutrality and decarbonization are multi- and cross- stakeholder relationship based on Twitter activity relating to disciplinary; these detailed and systematic findings provide the Paris Climate Talks (Hopke and Hestres, 2018). The specific empirical evidence to quantify and qualify the existing findings showed that the Twitter accounts of fossil fuel and knowledge in this area. As carbon-neutral efforts are shown to be trade association, as major outliers, had put more emphasis on made in response to various issues of climate change, collective former US President Barack Obama’s climate policy instead of action requires not only technical innovations for transforming the more common climate change visual framing used by various modern industrial sectors, but also social science understanding of the ways in which carbon information can activists, movement organizations, multinational representatives, and scientific experts. These accounts’ be instrumental in reshaping our social, economic, and political messages aimed to create a visual narrative of the lack of interactions. Researchers and policy-makers have so far domestic support for his climate policies in the global arena. contributed to the discussions on the role of technologies, Additionally, focusing on the discourse surrounding carbon, the policies, and markets in achieving carbon neutrality. Facing Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 19 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies the climate change mitigation opportunities and challenges, the aforementioned intellectual structural base. Specific issues such as measuring and accounting decarbonization connections have been explored in discussing the specific main efforts, sustainability transition, and just transition have been research works in section 3.4, revealing a vibrant picture of discussed in specific sectors such as energy, transport, forestry, policy, professional, educational, and academic work that agriculture, forestry, and tourism. contributes to human knowledge on carbon neutrality and Our descriptive summary of 907 articles revealed the fast- decarbonization. While the backbone of cross-disciplinary growing publications patterns, especially after the Paris carbon neutrality research remains at the intersection between Agreement in 2015, with temporal evolution in intellectual the “Business and Economics” and “Life Sciences and and conceptual structures of the knowledge. Biomedicine” disciplines, an emerging critical body of work In terms of intellectual structure, the established state-of-the- has begun to question the limitations of “market-driven art knowledge has been built based on the intellectual origin of 1) sustainability” and the social and emotional costs and systems and technology cluster, 2) accounting and accountability implications of decarbonization, which coincides with the cluster, and 3) transition and scenario clusters. Both emerging notion of just transitions. historiography and author co-citation analysis have revealed the intellectual origins and authoritative sources that have founded and shaped the body of knowledge. The largely CONCLUSION macro-, regional, sectorial and country-level of analysis aim to Significant progress has been made, especially since the Paris address the fundamental concerns of human technologies’ impact on the environment, with the initial system modelling work Agreement in 2015, on the issues of decarbonization and carbon growing into technology-, policy- and organization-level neutrality, as part of the arguably the largest human efforts in analysis towards more sustainable scenarios and pathways. transitioning energy, transport, industries, and cities towards In terms of conceptual structure, the last few years low-carbon and net-zero sustainability. It is significant because (2019–2022) have seen the rise of keywords such as human-caused climate change needs human efforts and decarbonization, energy transition, the Paris Agreement, just knowledge to change the socio-technical and socio-ecological transition, European Union, and net-zero. Such a trend systems we have constructed. The emphasis on the “socio” indicates the impacts of political actions and policies on requires a comprehensive overview of the state of art in social carbon neutrality research for just and equal transitions science knowledge on the topic. towards sustainability. Undoubtedly, what decarbonization This scientometric and systematic review provides a comprehensive and disciplinary examination of the body of opportunities and challenges may occur for the industry and environment has become the basis for the most relevant and social science knowledge produced so far on the topic of cutting-edge research topics across various social science carbon neutrality. However, it is acknowledged that the scope disciplines. of this review does not include conference proceedings and other In terms of social structure of knowledge publication, the works that are not indexed by the Web of Science database. It has bibliographic coupling analysis of journals shows that the two limitations in depth because more specific carbon-neutrality main core journal clusters are multidisciplinary while the other keywords such as forest carbon sinks, carbon capture, three smaller clusters focus on cross-disciplinary topics such as utilization and storage (CCUS), and so on were not included forestry, transportation, and sustainable tourism. Throughout in the search query design. It is also limited to the trade-off the years, main journals such as Energy Policy, Climate Policy, between comprehensiveness and depth that any scientometric Energy Economics, Ecological Economics, Global and systematic review must decide and justify. More in-depth analysis in the future should include more specific keywords by Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions,and Technological Forecasting and Social Change have accumulated snowballing specific set of keywords, and the conceptual structure findings here can be useful references. Future work must a substantial number of studies, connecting social science disciplines such as Business and Economics, Public determine such trade-off in using scientometric and systematic Administration, and Geography with other disciplines such reviews to understand the multi-disciplinary topic of as Energy and Fuels and Environmental Sciences and Ecology. decarbonization. Publishing works on carbon neutrality that connect social Nonetheless, the findings presented here amount to the first science and non-social science categories; the journals have scientometric analysis of the social science knowledge of carbon been identified in their contribution to have bridged the related neutrality. This study provides an updated understanding and disciplines. The empirical evidence on top-performing highlights the established and emerging relationship between countries shows the relatively low presence of Asia and policies and technologies, especially those relating to energy, Africa, indicating a gap in the knowledge production and transport, construction, education, and other sectors. The collaboration needed to tackle the issues of decarbonization main body of work have been policy-oriented to examine the industrial and economic activities, especially those surrounding as part of the global goals for sustainable and just transitions. In terms of social discipline perspective, the scientometric energy, transport, forestry, and cities-related technologies, with approach of science mapping has revealed the otherwise partial the practical purpose to outline transitioning pathways and and incomplete impressions of the social science literature in a scenarios. The emerging conceptual structure findings reveal systematic whole. The overall picture is much more diverse than the substantial impact of just transition, European Union, net- Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 20 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies zero, cites, and energy transition on the most recent literature. carbon information, including GHG emission information, is key Such a phenomena can be explained by the social structure of the for constructing a sustainable future, it is important to current knowledge production, where European and North understand the overall and specific datafication processes of American regions remain dominant. selecting, recording, monitoring, and acting upon any specific The main controversy appears to be about justice in the piece and set of carbon information concerning human activities decarbonization processes, as reflected in the recent literature and the environment, as a necessary and evidence-based and European Union policy on “just transition.” Research gaps in grounding. The datafication of carbon information requires the case studies beyond European and North American regions, better knowledge in data science and social data science that cities, and people must be filled, especially the impact of climate can identify relevant and critical carbon information that change is expected to be more severe in developing regions such contributes to the socio-technical transition to a sustainable as Asia, Africa, and South America. future, especially the unjust cost of decarbonization processes. In terms of the potential development, we believe that, based Second, as carbon information-based products, systems, and on the findings presented here, the existing backbone of cross- stories have increasingly involved several important industrial disciplinary carbon neutrality research, which remains at the bodies and various human daily activities, it is vital to intersection between the “Business and Economics” and “Life understand the conflicts, struggles, and negotiations that Sciences and Biomedicine” disciplines, must engage the emerging institutions, organizations, and individuals are likely to critical literature to reflect on the limitations of the mainstream encounter. Decisions, interactions, and participation processes market-driven, business-driven, and data-driven approaches of relating to carbon information, ranging from carbon trading to decarbonization efforts aiming at carbon neutrality. Given the sustainable consumption, demands adequate empirical and increasing knowledge demand for the development of policies theoretical knowledge that can help in integrating relevant and technologies relating to carbon neutrality across various carbon information into the socio-technical systems of industrial sectors and different academic disciplines, such a everyday life. Third, collaboration surrounding carbon systematic science-mapping work provides significant results information, carbon accounting, and carbon neutrality will that will help to foster new conversations and enrich old ones. and should have become the focus of research and The descriptions on the most-cited work in each social science development for stakeholders across geographic boundaries, discipline in section 3.4 should begin to provide a more balanced industrial sectors, and academic disciplines. Digital perspective in terms of disciplines. Such knowledge, for instance, collaborations, especially those leveraging digital technologies can be more personal and emotional at the micro-levels, beyond such as AI, Blockchains, cloud computing, and data the initial knowledge base on country- and organization-level analytics, should track the social and environmental impacts scenarios and pathways. Future work is needed, for instance, to of the human footprint on Earth, and act upon such impacts. deliver in-depth systematic reviews for each social science Acting upon the understanding of human impacts, it is then discipline. possible to create a future that is not only carbon neutral These science-mapping outcomes lead to the final research but also sustainable for the planet and its inhabitants. In question we will raise upfront: How can researchers and policy- conclusion, as many aspects of the planet and humans have makers understand this overview of social science literature become datafied, digitized, and networked, carbon neutrality relating to the topic of carbon neutrality, with a conceptual or must take on a central role in guiding our conscious green taxonomic framework, to address the issues in achieving digital transformation of many political, economic, social and decarbonization and carbon neutrality, especially in terms of psychological aspects of our societies according to the existing the design and application of relevant policies and technologies? and emerging social science knowledge. While the findings described here may not be sufficient to generate a definitive conceptual framework, a set of common taxonomic features across disciplines and sectors can be built that DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT includes decarbonization, carbon management, carbon accounting, sustainability, sustainable development, and just The original contributions presented in the study are included in transition. Future work can advance more in-depth analysis the article/Supplementary Material, further inquiries can be within a specific social science discipline or a specific cross- directed to the corresponding author. disciplinary mix. As carbon-neutral efforts are shown to be carried out in response to various issues of climate change, a collective action that requires not only technical innovation for AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS transforming various modern industrial sectors but also a social Conceptualization, YZ, H-TL, and C-LP; methodology, H-TL and science understanding of how carbon information can be instrumental in reshaping our social, economic, and political C-LP; software, H-TL and C-LP; data curation, YZ, H-TL, and C-LP; writing—original draft preparation, H-TL, C-LP, and YZ; interactions, especially for coming up with new strategy for green and digital transitions, is needed (European Commission, 2020). writing—review and editing, YZ, H-TL, and C-LP; visualization, Several directions for future research relating to social science H-TL, YZ, and C-LP; funding acquisition, YZ. All authors have knowledge about carbon neutrality are discussed here. First, since read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript. Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org 21 October 2021 | Volume 9 | Article 761736 Zhang et al. Carbon Neutrality Policies and Technologies Guangzhou Nanfang College for the curriculum project of FUNDING “Information Visualization Design” (Grant Number NFU 02- This research was funded mainly by the Department of 40250). Education of Guangdong Province for the project “Enterprise energy privilege trading scheme in Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao Greater Bay Area” (Grant Number 2020WTSCX138), ACKNOWLEDGMENTS partly by the Department of Education of Guangdong Province in the project called “Smart App Design Innovation Research The authors wish to express their gratitude to all colleagues who in the Age of New Business, Arts and Engineering directly or indirectly contributed to the making of the VOSviewer, Disciplines” (Grant Number 2019GXJK186), and partly by Bibliometrix, and Citespace software. and Co-Citation Analyses for Green and Digital Transformation,” in 2020 REFERENCES Management Science Informatization and Economic Innovation Development Conference (MSIEID, 18-20 Dec. 2020, Guangzhou, China), New York, NY, Altieri, K. E., Trollip, H., Caetano, T., Hughes, A., Merven, B., and Winkler, H. USA (IEEE), 281–284. doi:10.1109/MSIEID52046.2020.00058 (2016). 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