Achieving a synergistic effect of carbon emission and pollution reduction is important to China. However, whether the low-carbon transformation measures can simultaneously achieve the reduction of industrial pollution remains unclear. This paper takes the low-carbon city pilots as a quasi-natural experiment, combining the time-varying difference in difference (DID) model and the spatial Durbin model to explore whether the low-carbon city policy can reduce industrial SO2 emissions. The results show that the low-carbon city policy significantly reduces local industrial SO2 emissions, but raises the emissions of neighboring cities. For the mechanism, the low-carbon city policy promotes green technology innovation to reduce industrial SO2 emissions. In addition, low-carbon city policy shows a spatial spillover effect by influencing local industrial enterprises and foreign direct investment to transfer to non-pilot cities.
Keywords Low-carbon city pilots; carbon emission and pollution reduction synergies; quasi-natural experiments; spatial spillovers