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The national-level energy ladder and its carbon implications

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  • Burke, Paul J.

Abstract

This paper uses data for 134 countries for the period 1960–2010 to document an energy ladder that nations ascend as their economies develop. On average, economic development results in an overall substitution from the use of biomass to energy sourced from fossil fuels, and then increasingly towards nuclear power and certain low-carbon modern renewables such as wind power. The process results in the carbon intensity of energy evolving in an inverse-U manner as per capita incomes increase. Fossil fuel-poor countries climb more quickly to the low-carbon upper rungs of the national-level energy ladder and so typically experience larger reductions in the carbon intensity of energy as they develop. Leapfrogging to low-carbon energy sources on the upper rungs of the national-level energy ladder is one route via which developing countries can reduce the magnitudes of their expected upswings in carbon dioxide emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Burke, Paul J., 2013. "The national-level energy ladder and its carbon implications," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 484-503, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:18:y:2013:i:04:p:484-503_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Burke, Paul J. & Dundas, Guy, 2015. "Female Labor Force Participation and Household Dependence on Biomass Energy: Evidence from National Longitudinal Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 424-437.
    2. Paul J. Burke & Md Shahiduzzaman & David I. Stern, 2015. "Carbon dioxide emissions in the short run: The rate and sources of economic growth matter," CAMA Working Papers 2015-12, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    3. Csereklyei, Zsuzsanna & Thurner, Paul W. & Langer, Johannes & Küchenhoff, Helmut, 2017. "Energy paths in the European Union: A model-based clustering approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 442-457.
    4. Burke, Paul J. & Yang, Hewen, 2016. "The price and income elasticities of natural gas demand: International evidence," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 466-474.
    5. Zsuzsanna Csereklyei, M. d. Mar Rubio-Varas, and David I. Stern, 2016. "Energy and Economic Growth: The Stylized Facts," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    6. repec:cup:endeec:v:22:y:2017:i:06:p:699-724_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Burke, Paul J. & Csereklyei, Zsuzsanna, 2016. "Understanding the energy-GDP elasticity: A sectoral approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 199-210.
    8. Stern, David I. & Gerlagh, Reyer & Burke, Paul J., 2017. "Modeling the emissions–income relationship using long-run growth rates," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(06), pages 699-724, December.
    9. Stern, David, 2014. "Rethinking the Emissions-Income Relationship in Terms of Growth Rates," 2014 Conference (58th), February 4-7, 2014, Port Maquarie, Australia 165877, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    10. Csereklyei, Zsuzsanna & Thurner, Paul W. & Bauer, Alexander & Küchenhoff, Helmut, 2016. "The effect of economic growth, oil prices, and the benefits of reactor standardization: Duration of nuclear power plant construction revisited," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 49-59.
    11. Sanchez, Luis F. & Stern, David I., 2016. "Drivers of industrial and non-industrial greenhouse gas emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 17-24.
    12. Hua Liao & Huaishu Cao, 2012. "How does carbon dioxide emission change with the economic development? Statistical experiences from 132 countries," CEEP-BIT Working Papers 54, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEP), Beijing Institute of Technology.
    13. Csereklyei, Zsuzsanna & Humer, Stefan, 2013. "Projecting Long-Term Primary Energy Consumption," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 3874, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    14. Best, Rohan, 2017. "Switching towards coal or renewable energy? The effects of financial capital on energy transitions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 75-83.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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