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Convergence And Per Capita Carbon Emissions

  • Warwick J. McKibbin

    ()

  • Alison Stegman

    ()

The notion of "convergence" of economic variables across countries is a useful concept and in the case of income per capita, a well studied area. If there is empirical evidence of convergence of some economic variables across countries, then our ability to prdict the future (or at least difference between countries in the future) is enhanced. It is common in long run projections of climate change to base these projections on some notion of full or partial convergence whether in incomes per capita, teachnologies, energy intensities, emissions intensities of energy or per capita carbon emissions. But what is the empirical basis of these assumptions? This paper explores the historical experience of a range of variables related to climate change projections with the goal of examining if there is any evidence historically of convergence. The focus of the paper is on per capita carbon emissions from fossil fuel use because this is the basis of many projections as well as a variety of policy proposals. We also present evidence on GDP per capita, energy intensity of output and the emissions intensity o energy supply. We find strong evidence that the wide variety of assumptions about "convergence" commonly used in emissions projections are not based on empirically observed phenomena.

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Paper provided by Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series CAMA Working Papers with number 2005-10.

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Length: 75 pages
Date of creation: May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2005-10
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  1. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X, 1996. "The Classical Approach to Convergence Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1019-36, July.
  2. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "15 Years of New Growth Economics : What Have we Learnt?," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 5(2), pages 5-15, August.
  3. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1994. "Regional Cohesion: Evidence and Theories of Regional Growth and Convergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1075, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Bernard, A.B. & Durlauf, S.N., 1993. "Convergence in International Output," Working papers 93-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521355643 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521586115 is not listed on IDEAS
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