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Per Capita Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Convergence or Divergence?


  • Aldy, Joseph

    () (Resources for the Future)


Understanding and considering the distribution of per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is important in designing international climate change proposals and incentives for participation. I evaluate historic international emissions distributions and forecast future distributions to assess whether per capita emissions have been converging or will converge. I find evidence of convergence among 23 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), whereas emissions appear to be diverging for an 88-country global sample over 1960–2000. Forecasts based on a Markov chain transition matrix provide little evidence of future emissions convergence and indicate that emissions may diverge in the near term. I also review the shortcomings of environmental Kuznets curve regressions and structural models in characterizing future emissions distributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Aldy, Joseph, 2005. "Per Capita Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Convergence or Divergence?," Discussion Papers dp-05-53, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-05-53

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark Strazicich & John List, 2003. "Are CO 2 Emission Levels Converging Among Industrial Countries?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(3), pages 263-271, March.
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    More about this item


    emissions distributions; environmental Kuznets curve; Markov chain transition matrix;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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