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The carbon curse: Are fuel rich countries doomed to high CO2 intensities?

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  • Friedrichs, Jörg
  • Inderwildi, Oliver R.

Abstract

The carbon curse is a new theory, related to but distinct from the resource curse. It states that fossil-fuel rich countries tend to follow more carbon-intensive developmental pathways than [if they were] fossil-fuel poor countries, due to a hitherto unappreciated syndrome of causal mechanisms. First, fuel rich countries emit significant amounts of CO2 in the extraction of fuel and through associated wasteful practices such as gas flaring. Second, easy access to domestic fuel in such countries leads to crowding-out effects for their energy mix and economic structure (for example, abundant oil may displace other fuels from the energy mix and lead to the “Dutch Disease”). Third, fuel abundance weakens the economic incentive to invest in energy efficiency. Fourth, governments in fuel rich countries are under considerable pressure to grant uneconomic fuel consumption subsidies, which further augments the carbon intensity of their economic output. Due to the combined effect of these causal mechanisms, it is genuinely difficult for fuel rich countries to evade carbon-intensive developmental pathways. And yet there are remarkable exceptions like Norway. Such positive outliers indicate that the carbon curse is not destiny when appropriate policies are adopted.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedrichs, Jörg & Inderwildi, Oliver R., 2013. "The carbon curse: Are fuel rich countries doomed to high CO2 intensities?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1356-1365.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:62:y:2013:i:c:p:1356-1365 DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.07.076
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    Cited by:

    1. Ala-Mantila, Sanna & Heinonen, Jukka & Junnila, Seppo, 2014. "Relationship between urbanization, direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and expenditures: A multivariate analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 129-139.
    2. Shouro Dasgupta, Shouro & De Cian, Enrica & Verdolini, Elena, 2016. "The Political Economy of Energy Innovation," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation,and Transformation Pathways 234939, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    3. José Fuinhas & António Marques & Alcino Couto, 2015. "Oil rents and economic growth in oil producing countries: evidence from a macro panel," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 257-279, November.
    4. Wang, Yiming & Zhang, Pei & Huang, Dake & Cai, Changda, 2014. "Convergence behavior of carbon dioxide emissions in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 75-80.
    5. Shi, Xunpeng, 2015. "Application of best practice for setting minimum energy efficiency standards in technically disadvantaged countries: Case study of Air Conditioners in Brunei Darussalam," Applied Energy, Elsevier, pages 1-12.
    6. Griffiths, Steven, 2017. "A review and assessment of energy policy in the Middle East and North Africa region," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 249-269.
    7. repec:eee:appene:v:206:y:2017:i:c:p:804-814 is not listed on IDEAS

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