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The Relationship between National-Level Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Population Size: An Assessment of Regional and Temporal Variation, 1960–2005

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  • Andrew K Jorgenson
  • Brett Clark

Abstract

This study examines the regional and temporal differences in the statistical relationship between national-level carbon dioxide emissions and national-level population size. The authors analyze panel data from 1960 to 2005 for a diverse sample of nations, and employ descriptive statistics and rigorous panel regression modeling techniques. Initial descriptive analyses indicate that all regions experienced overall increases in carbon emissions and population size during the 45-year period of investigation, but with notable differences. For carbon emissions, the sample of countries in Asia experienced the largest percent increase, followed by countries in Latin America, Africa, and lastly the sample of relatively affluent countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania combined. For population size, the sample of countries in Africa experienced the largest percent increase, followed countries in Latin America, Asia, and the combined sample of countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania. Findings for two-way fixed effects panel regression elasticity models of national-level carbon emissions indicate that the estimated elasticity coefficient for population size is much smaller for nations in Africa than for nations in other regions of the world. Regarding potential temporal changes, from 1960 to 2005 the estimated elasticity coefficient for population size decreased by 25% for the sample of Africa countries, 14% for the sample of Asia countries, 6.5% for the sample of Latin America countries, but remained the same in size for the sample of countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania. Overall, while population size continues to be the primary driver of total national-level anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, the findings for this study highlight the need for future research and policies to recognize that the actual impacts of population size on national-level carbon emissions differ across both time and region.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew K Jorgenson & Brett Clark, 2013. "The Relationship between National-Level Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Population Size: An Assessment of Regional and Temporal Variation, 1960–2005," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(2), pages 1-8, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0057107
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057107
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Feng Dong & Ruyin Long & Hong Chen & Xiaohui Li & Qingliang Yang, 2013. "Factors Affecting Regional Per-Capita Carbon Emissions in China Based on an LMDI Factor Decomposition Model," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(12), pages 1-10, December.

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