When does economic development promote mitigation and why?

Clulow, Zeynep (2016) When does economic development promote mitigation and why? Climate Policy . pp. 1-14. ISSN 1752-7457

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Abstract

Is economic development compatible with mitigation? On the one hand, development should promote effective climate policy by enhancing states’ capacities for mitigation. On the other hand, economic growth creates more demand for production, thereby inhibiting emissions reduction. These arguments are often reconciled in the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) thesis. According to this approach, development initially increases emissions in poor economies, but begins to lower emissions after a country has attained a certain level of development.

The aim of this article is to determine empirically whether the EKC hypothesis seems plausible in light of emissions trends over the birth and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Drawing on data from the World Bank World Development Indicators and World Resources Institute Climate Data Explorer, it conducts a large-N investigation of the emissions behaviour of 120 countries from 1990 to 2012. While several quantitative studies have found that economic factors influence emissions activity, this article goes beyond existing research by employing a more sophisticated – multilevel – research design to determine whether economic development: (a) continues to be a significant driver once country-level clustering is accounted for and (b) has different effects on different countries. The results of this article indicate that, even after we account for country-level clustering and hold constant the other main putative drivers of emissions activity, economic development tends to inhibit emissions reduction. They also provide strong evidence that emissions trends resemble the EKC, with development significantly constraining emissions reduction in the South and promoting it in the North.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Mitigation, Environmental Kuznets curve, Carbon trajectories, Emissions and economic development
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2016.1268088
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2017 13:04
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2017 13:04
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/39848

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