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Does renewable energy consumption reduce ecological footprint? Evidence from eight developing countries of Asia

Sharma, Rajesh and Sinha, Avik and Kautish, Pradeep (2020): Does renewable energy consumption reduce ecological footprint? Evidence from eight developing countries of Asia. Published in: Journal of Cleaner Production (2020): p. 124867.

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Economic and demographic transitions led by the persistent increase in the per capita income have challenged the environmental conservation drive in most of the developing nations. Therefore, in recent years, policymakers emphasized the need for navigating the harmful impacts of economic growth endeavors on the established ecosystem. In this regard, the widespread usage of renewable energy solutions has helped in restoring the environmental quality in both developed and developing countries. Keeping this in mind, in the present study, we examined the long run and short-run impacts of per capita income, renewable energy, life expectancy, and population density on the ecological footprint in the eight developing countries of South and Southeast Asia from 1990-2015. In the selected nations, these variables appear to be the potential drivers of the ecological footprint. To calculate the common coefficients, we have employed the cross-sectional augmented autoregressive distributed lag (CS-ARDL) approach, as this approach handles the cross-sectional dependency issue efficiently and provides the short-run and long-run coefficients. The long-run results supported the need for low pollution-intense energy resources because the association between per capita income and ecological footprint is found N-shaped. Further, the study established that the increased use of renewable energy has significantly reduced the ecological footprint in the region. However, the increased population density has led to an increase in pollution emissions in these countries. Similarly, the impact of life expectancy on the ecological footprint is found positive but insignificant. Based on the findings, a multipronged policy framework has been designed, so that these nations can attain the objectives of certain sustainable development goals (SDGs).

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