A Comparative Study on World-Wide Carbon Emission Convergence: An Empirical Analysis

A Comparative Study on World-Wide Carbon Emission Convergence: An Empirical Analysis

Chhanda Mandal (Muralidhar Girls College, India) and Anita Chattopadhyay Gupta (Deshbandhu College for Girls, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0803-8.ch036


Environmental issue is one of the primary concerns in present global scenario for developed as well as developing countries and reducing the emission level of greenhouse gases is the common objective for all. Study of per capita carbon emission convergence is quite significant in the ongoing debate of climate change policy formulation and implementation as future emission level can only decide the incentive to shift to the clean technology. With a balanced panel of 79 countries and 50 years, over 1960-2009, we have tested for both sigma and beta convergence. The data exhibits a possible convergence in carbon emission. The countries are disaggregated twice, first into OECD and Non-OECD countries and then into five categories on the basis of income. OECD countries show absolute and conditional beta convergence, also with sigma convergence. Countries from lower income group have a lower degree of variability in dispersion in the time period being considered. The set of explanatory variables in this analysis are real GDP per capita, population growth rate and trade openness.
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Climate change is a serious and urgent issue. The Earth’s climate is changing, and the scientific consensus is not only that human activities have contributed to it significantly, but that the change is far more rapid and dangerous than thought earlier (IPCC 2007). The main factor in anthropogenic climate change is the increase in the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere over time. This increased concentration has been caused by the emission of GHGs as a result of economic activities, including energy, industry, transport, and land use, many of which rely upon fossil fuels. The most important GHG, carbon dioxide (CO2), currently constitutes 77 per cent of the global warming potential. Other contributors are methane (from agricultural sources), and land use change such as deforestation. Concentration level has increased because emissions during the last two centuries were in excess of what could be absorbed, and the excess GHGs began to accumulate in the atmosphere. The concentration of CO2 alone has increased by some 100 ppm over this period. Current global emissions contribute another 2-3 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) GHGs per year. Hence, climate change has become a significant and complex challenge to policy makers. Economic analysis is crucial to the climate policy debate. Continued research into climate change and appropriate policy action is necessary if governments are going to adopt an efficient and effective response. Contraction and Convergence (C&C) is a proposed global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Conceived by the Global Commons Institute [GCI] in the early 1990s, the Contraction and Convergence strategy consists of reducing overall emissions of greenhouse gases to a safe level (contraction), resulting from every country bringing its emissions per capita to a level which is equal for all countries (convergence). It is intended to form the basis of an international agreement which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions to avoid dangerous climate change, carbon dioxide being the gas that is primarily responsible for changes in the greenhouse effect on Earth. It is expressed as a simple mathematical formula. This formula can be used as a way for the world to stabilize carbon levels at any level. Advocates of Contraction and Convergence stress that negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC] are governed sequentially by the 'objective' of the UNFCCC [safe and stable GHG concentration in the global atmosphere] followed by its organising principles ['precaution' and 'equity']. C&C is widely cited and supported.

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