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Anthropogenic drivers of carbon emissions: scale and counteracting effects

Hwang, In Chang (2013): Anthropogenic drivers of carbon emissions: scale and counteracting effects.

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Abstract

This paper assesses the achievement and the limitation of our path to the stabilization of anthropogenic carbon emissions with economic growth using a stochastic Kaya model. The elasticity of carbon dioxide emissions with respect to anthropogenic drivers such as population, affluence, energy efficiency, fossil-fuel dependence, and emission factor is estimated using panel data of 132 countries from 1960 to 2010. Then the stochastic Kaya model is used for index decomposition analysis. Investigating the scale and the counteracting effects, I find that except a few countries like Germany, most countries have not achieved the goal of carbon reductions with economic growth. In addition, the current path of each nation does not guarantee the achievement of a global long-term goal of emissions reductions, say 50% by 2050 compared to the 1990 level. This is because the scale effect (the sum of the population and affluence effects) is so large that the current level of the technology effects can rarely offset carbon emissions. Should we achieve the global target for carbon reductions a significant amount of technology effects through stringent policy interventions need to be accompanied.

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