4,196 research outputs found

    Economic Development and Environmental Protection

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    There is a long-standing debate on the relationship between economic development and environmental quality. From a sustainable development viewpoint there has been a growing concern that the economic expansion of the world economy will cause irreparable damage to our planet. In the last few years several studies have appeared dealing with the relationship between the scale of economic activity and the level of pollution. In particular, if we concentrate on local pollutants several empirical studies have identified a bell shaped curve linking pollution to per capita GDP (in the case of global pollutants like CO2 the evidence is less clear-cut). This behaviour implies that, starting from low per capita income levels, per capita emissions or concentrations tend to increase but at a slower pace. After a certain level of income (which typically differs across pollutants) – the “turning point” – pollution starts to decline as income further increases. In analogy with the historic relationship between income distribution and income growth, the inverted-U relationship between per capita income and pollution has been termed “Environmental Kuznets Curve”. The purpose of this chapter is not to provide an overview the literature: there are several survey papers around doing precisely that. We instead reconsider the explanations that have been put forth for its inverted-U pattern. We look at the literature from this perspective. In addition, without resorting to any econometric estimation, we consider whether simple data analysis can help to shed some light on the motives that can rationalize the Environmental Kuznets Curve.Climate Policy, Environmental Modeling, Integrated Assessment, Technical Change

    Environment and Economic Growth: Is Technical Change the Key to Decoupling?

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    The relationship between economic growth and pollution is very complex, depending upon a host of different factors. Thus the study of this phenomenon represents a challenging endeavor. While most economics papers begin with theory and support that theory with econometric evidence, the literature on Environmental Kuznets Curves has proceeded in the opposite direction: first developing an empirical observation about the world, and then attempting to supply appropriate theories. A number of papers have aimed at providing the theoretical underpinnings to the Environmental Kuznets Curve. Prominent here is the class of optimal growth models. These are usually studied from the point of view of the analytical conditions that must hold in order to obtain an inverted-U functional relationship between pollution and growth. These models are however seldom confronted with the data. In this paper we take one popular optimal growth model designed for climate change policy analysis and carry out a few simulation exercises with the purpose of characterizing the relationship between economic growth and emissions. In particular, we try to assess the relative contribution of the ingredients of the well-known decomposition of the environment-growth relationship put forth by Grossman (1995): according to it, the presumed inverted-U pattern results from the joint effect of scale, composition, and technology components. We do this focusing on the developed regions of the world and on a global pollutant, CO2 emissions.Climate Policy, Environmental Modeling, Integrated Assessment, Technical Change

    Desperately Seeking (Environmental) Kuznets

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    The number of studies seeking to empirically characterize the reduced-form relationship between a country's economic growth and the quantity of various pollutants produced has recently increased significantly. In several cases researchers have found evidence in favor of an inverted-U "environmental Kuznets" curve. In the case of a major greenhouse gas, CO2, however, the evidence is at best mixed. This paper attempts to shed further light on this issue by using a newly developed data set covering over one hundred countries around the world for the last twenty five years and by considering alternative functional forms together with an effort to rigorously discriminate among competing alternatives.Environment, Growth, CO2 emissions, Panel data

    Does Endogenous Technical Change Make a Difference in Climate Policy Analysis? A Robustness Exercise with the FEEM-RICE Model

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    Technical change is generally considered the key to the solution of environmental problems, in particular global phenomena like climate change. Scientists differ in their views on the thaumaturgic virtues of technical change. There are those who are confident that pollution-free technologies will materialize at some time in the future and will prevent humans from suffering the catastrophic consequences of climate change. Others believe that there are inexpensive technologies already available and argue the case for no-regret adoption policies (e.g. subsidies). Others again believe that the process of technological change responds to economic stimuli. These economic incentives to technological innovation are provided not only by forces that are endogenous to the economic system, but also by suitably designed environmental and innovation policies. In this paper, we consider and translate into analytical counterparts these different views of technical change. We then study alternative formulations of technical change and, with the help of a computerized climate-economy model, carry out a number of optimization runs in order to assess what type of technical change plays a role (assuming it does) in the evaluation of the impact of climate change and of the policies designed to cope with it.Climate policy, Environmental modeling, Integrated assessment, Technical change

    Partially observed Markov random fields are variable neighborhood random fields

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    The present paper has two goals. First to present a natural example of a new class of random fields which are the variable neighborhood random fields. The example we consider is a partially observed nearest neighbor binary Markov random field. The second goal is to establish sufficient conditions ensuring that the variable neighborhoods are almost surely finite. We discuss the relationship between the almost sure finiteness of the interaction neighborhoods and the presence/absence of phase transition of the underlying Markov random field. In the case where the underlying random field has no phase transition we show that the finiteness of neighborhoods depends on a specific relation between the noise level and the minimum values of the one-point specification of the Markov random field. The case in which there is phase transition is addressed in the frame of the ferromagnetic Ising model. We prove that the existence of infinite interaction neighborhoods depends on the phase.Comment: To appear in Journal of Statistical Physic

    Desperately Seeking Environmental Kuznets

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    The number of studies seeking to empirically characterize the reduced-form relationship between a country economic growth and the quantity of various pollutants produced has recently increased significantly. In several cases researchers have found evidence in favor of an inverted-U “environmental Kuznets” curve. In the case of a major greenhouse gas, CO2, however, the evidence is at best mixed. This paper attempts to shed further light on this issue by using a newly developed data set covering over one hundred countries around the world for the last twenty five years and by considering alternative functional forms together with an effort to rigorously discriminate among competing alternatives.Environment, Growth, CO2 Emissions, Panel Data
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