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Understanding Long-Term Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the Usa

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  • Richard S.J. Tol

    (Princeton University, Vrije Universiteit and Hamburg University)

  • Stephen W. Pacala

    (Princeton University)

  • Robert Socolow

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

We compile a database of energy uses, energy sources, and carbon dioxide emissions for the USA for the period 1850-2002. We use a model to extrapolate the missing observations on energy use by sector. Overall emission intensity rose between 1850 and 1917, and fell between 1917 and 2002. The leading cause for the rise in emission intensity was the switch from wood to coal, but population growth, economic growth, and electrification contributed as well. After 1917, population growth, economic growth and electrification pushed emissions up further, and there was no net shift from fossil to non-fossil energy sources. From 1850 to 2002, emissions were reduced by technological and behavioural change (particularly in transport, manufacturing and households), structural change in the economy, and a shift from coal to oil and gas. These trends are stronger than electrification, explaining the fall in emissions relative to GDP.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2006.107.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.107

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Keywords: Carbon Dioxide Emissions; Decomposition; Environmental Kuznets Curve; USA; History;

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Cited by:
  1. Andersson, Fredrik N.G. & Karpestam, Peter, 2013. "CO2 emissions and economic activity: Short- and long-run economic determinants of scale, energy intensity and carbon intensity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1285-1294.
  2. Kaika, Dimitra & Zervas, Efthimios, 2013. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) theory—Part A: Concept, causes and the CO2 emissions case," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1392-1402.
  3. Xu, X.Y. & Ang, B.W., 2013. "Index decomposition analysis applied to CO2 emission studies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 313-329.
  4. Radoslaw Stefanski, 2010. "On the mechanics of the "Green Solow Model"," OxCarre Working Papers 047, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  5. Tol, Richard S.J., 2007. "Carbon dioxide emission scenarios for the USA," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5310-5326, November.
  6. Guo, Xiao-Dan & Zhu, Lei & Fan, Ying & Xie, Bai-Chen, 2011. "Evaluation of potential reductions in carbon emissions in Chinese provinces based on environmental DEA," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2352-2360, May.
  7. Esteve, Vicente & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2012. "Is there an environmental Kuznets curve for Spain? Fresh evidence from old data," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2696-2703.
  8. Kaika, Dimitra & Zervas, Efthimios, 2013. "The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) theory. Part B: Critical issues," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1403-1411.
  9. Zhou, P. & Ang, B.W. & Han, J.Y., 2010. "Total factor carbon emission performance: A Malmquist index analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 194-201, January.

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