Carbon curse in developed countries

Chiroleu-Assouline, Mireille, Mouez Fodha, and Yassine Kirat. “Carbon curse in developed countries.” Energy Economics 90 (2020): 104829.

Among the ten countries with the highest carbon intensity, six are natural resource-rich countries. This suggests the existence of a carbon curse: resource-rich countries would tend to follow more carbon-intensive development paths than resource-poor countries. We investigate this assumption empirically using a panel data method covering 29 countries (OECD and BRIC) and seven sectors over the 1995–2009 period. First, at the macroeconomic level, we find that the relationship between national CO2 emissions per unit of GDP and abundance in natural resources is U-shaped. The carbon curse appears only after the turning point. Second, we measure the impact of resource abundance on sectoral emissions for two groups of countries based on their resource endowments. We show that a country rich in natural resources pollutes relatively more in resource-related sectors as well as all other sectors. Our results suggest that the debate on climate change mitigation should rather focus on a comparison of resource-rich countries versus resource-poor countries than the developed-country versus developing-country debate.

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