Greenhouse gases emissions, growth and the energy mix in Europe: a dynamic panel data approach
The 20/20/20 plan for Europe emphasizes the role of changing the energy model as a means to reach the objective of reducing emissions in 2020 by 20% with respect to 1990 levels. Most empirical emission models are found within the framework of the Environmental Kuznetz Curve (EKC), which focuses on the relationship between emissions and economic activity, ignoring energy aspects. However, the importance of energy on GHG emissions is reflected by the fact that 80% of said emissions in Europe are currently due to the use and production of energy. This paper includes energy variables in an EKC dynamic panel data (DPD) model and uses the one-step system GMM estimator of Blundell and Bond (1998), which should allow for endogeneity, measurement error and omitted variable problems. For a panel of 24 European countries between 1990 and 2006, results suggest the existence of conditional convergence in terms of GHG emissions, no evidence of the EKC hypothesis, a positive and lower than one emissions-energy elasticity and how merely shifting the energy mix toward renewable sources (and, to a lesser extent, nuclear) would yield significant reductions in per capita emissions.
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