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US carbon emissions, technological progress and economic growth since 1870

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  • Hillard G. Huntington

Abstract

The long-term US experience emphasises the importance of controlling for electrification and other major technology transformations when evaluating the growth of carbon emissions at different stages of development. Prior to World War I, carbon emissions grew faster than economic growth by 2.3% per year. As electricity use expanded and steam engines became much larger, carbon emissions began to grow slower than economic growth by 1.6% per year. Adjusting to this technological shift, an expanding economy continues to increase carbon emissions by about 9% for each 10% faster growth. There is little evidence of a decline in this elasticity as the income level rises. These results suggest that the USA today will need to find additional policies to curb carbon emissions if it wishes to prevent any further increase in its per capita emissions, and if its per capita economy grows by more than 1.8% per year.

Suggested Citation

  • Hillard G. Huntington, 2005. "US carbon emissions, technological progress and economic growth since 1870," International Journal of Global Energy Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 23(4), pages 292-306.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijgeni:v:23:y:2005:i:4:p:292-306
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    Cited by:

    1. Liddle, Brantley & Messinis, George, 2014. "Revisiting carbon Kuznets curves with endogenous breaks modeling: Evidence of decoupling and saturation (but few inverted-Us) for individual OECD countries," MPRA Paper 59566, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Tol, Richard S.J. & Pacala, Stephen W. & Socolow, Robert H., 2009. "Understanding Long-Term Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the USA," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 425-445, May.
    3. Esteve, Vicente & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2012. "Threshold cointegration and nonlinear adjustment between CO2 and income: The Environmental Kuznets Curve in Spain, 1857–2007," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2148-2156.
    4. 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.
    5. Liddle, Brantley, 2012. "Breaks and trends in OECD countries' energy–GDP ratios," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 502-509.
    6. Alaimo, Veronica & Lopez, Humberto, 2008. "Oil intensities and oil prices : evidence for Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4640, The World Bank.

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