Predictors of national CO2 emissions: do international commitments matter?

Franzen, Axel; Mader, Sebastian (2016). Predictors of national CO2 emissions: do international commitments matter? Climatic change, 139(3-4), pp. 491-502. Springer 10.1007/s10584-016-1795-x

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Carbon dioxide emissions are the main cause of anthropogenic climate change and play a central role in discussions on climate change mitigation. Previous research has demonstrated that national carbon dioxide emissions are driven mainly by population size and wealth. However, the variation in per capita emissions of nations with similar standards of living and similar population is huge. In this paper we investigate the drivers of national per capita carbon dioxide emissions over and above already known factors. In particular, we extend previous research by taking into account countries’ shares of imports and exports, indicators of political interventions such as energy prices, and the use of renewable energy sources. Moreover, we also examine whether international commitments, such as the ones made by many nations at climate summits of the United Nations, matter. We use country-level data from 1980 to 2014 and estimate fixed effects panel regression models. In accordance with former research we find no environmental Kuznets curve with respect to carbon dioxide per capita emission levels. However, higher energy prices and the availability of alternative energy sources both reduce emissions. Furthermore, voluntary international environmental commitments also motivate countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Franzen, Axel and Mader, Sebastian


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology








Mahboob Hasan

Date Deposited:

17 Nov 2016 10:08

Last Modified:

14 Mar 2018 10:45

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Energy Intensity Environmental Kuznets Curve International Energy Agency International Energy Agency International Environmental Agreement




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