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Factors Behind the Environmental Kuznets Curve. A Decomposition of the Changes in Air Pollution

  • Annegrete Bruvoll

    ()

  • Hege Medin

    ()

The environmental Kuznets curve theory suggeststhat economic growth in the long run may reduceenvironmental problems. In this article, we usea decomposition analysis to isolate eightdifferent factors, in order to investigate theorigins of changes in emissions to air over theperiod from 1980 to 1996. Among these factorsare economic growth, changes in the relativesize of production sectors and changes in theuse of energy. Given constant emissions perproduced unit, economic growth alone would havecontributed to a significant increase in theemissions. This potential degradation of theenvironment has been counteracted by first ofall more efficient use of energy and abatementtechnologies. In addition, the substitution ofcleaner for polluting energy types and othertechnological progressions and politicalactions have reduced the growth in emissions.Consequently, the growth in all emissions hasbeen significantly lower than economic growth,and negative for some pollutants.The results indicate that policymakers mayreduce emissions considerably through creatingincentives for lower energy use andsubstitutions of environmental friendly forenvironmental damaging energy types, inaddition to support environmental friendlyresearch or to conduct direct emission reducingactions, such as abatement requirements orbanning of environmental damaging products.This is particularly relevant to countries andsectors with relatively high energy intensitiesand low pollution abatement. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

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Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 27-48

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:24:y:2003:i:1:p:27-48
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