Environment and Development: Penalized Non-Parametric Inference of Global Trends in Deforestation, Pollution and Carbon

51 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2019 Last revised: 28 Feb 2019

See all articles by Bo Pieter Johannes Andree

Bo Pieter Johannes Andree

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics; World Bank; Tinbergen Institute

Phoebe Girouard Spencer

World Bank

Andres Chamorro

World Bank

Date Written: February 25, 2019

Abstract

This paper revisits the issue of environment and development raised in the 1992 World Development Report, with new analysis tools and data. The paper discusses inference and interpretation in a machine learning framework. The results suggest that production gradually favors conserving the earth's resources as gross domestic product increases, but increased efficiency alone is not sufficient to offset the effects of growth in scale. Instead, structural change in the economy shapes environmental outcomes across GDP. The analysis finds that average development is associated with an inverted $U$-shape in deforestation, pollution, and carbon intensities. Per capita emissions follow a $J$-curve. Specifically, poverty reduction occurs alongside degrading local environments and higher income growth poses a global burden through carbon. Local economic structure further determines the shape, amplitude, and location of tipping points of the Environmental Kuznets Curve. The models are used to extrapolate environmental output to 2030. The daunting implications of continued development are a reminder that immediate and sustained global efforts are required to mitigate forest loss, improve air quality, and shift the global economy to a 2┬░pathway.

Keywords: Global Environment, Inequality, Environmental Disasters & Degradation, Common Carriers Industry, Food & Beverage Industry, Plastics & Rubber Industry, Business Cycles and Stabilization Policies, Textiles, Apparel & Leather Industry, Pulp & Paper Industry, Construction Industry, General Manufacturing, Nutrition

Suggested Citation

Andree, Bo Pieter Johannes and Spencer, Phoebe Girouard and Chamorro, Andres, Environment and Development: Penalized Non-Parametric Inference of Global Trends in Deforestation, Pollution and Carbon (February 25, 2019). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8756, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3341738

Bo Pieter Johannes Andree (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Phoebe Girouard Spencer

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Andres Chamorro

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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