Climbing the Electricity Ladder Generates Carbon Kuznets Curve Downturns

20 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2012  

Paul J. Burke

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2012

Abstract

This paper examines why some countries have experienced environmental Kuznets curve (EKC)‐type reductions in carbon dioxide (CO) emissions, while others have not. The hypothesis that climbing to the upper rungs of the electricity ladder (nuclear power and modern renewables) has been the primary mechanism via which countries have achieved substantial reductions in per capita CO emissions is tested using a binomial dependent variable modelling approach for a sample of 105 countries. The findings suggest that electricity mix transitions caused by long‐run growth in per capita incomes are indeed the primary determinant of carbon Kuznets curve downturns. The paper explores additional mechanisms via which carbon Kuznets curves may have been generated, but the results indicate that these are of lesser overall importance than the electricity mix effect. The evidence also suggests that countries with larger fossil fuel endowments are less likely to experience carbon Kuznets curve downturns, an additional curse of natural resources.

Keywords: carbon dioxide, economic development, electricity ladder, electricity mix, environmental Kuznets curve, resource curse

Suggested Citation

Burke, Paul J., Climbing the Electricity Ladder Generates Carbon Kuznets Curve Downturns (April 2012). Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 56, Issue 2, pp. 260-279, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2030126 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8489.2011.00572.x

Paul J. Burke (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory ACT 0200
Australia

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