The Environmentalist

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 183–205

Identifying the major players behind increasing global carbon dioxide emissions: a decomposition analysis



The paper using data on 114 countries during 1992–2004 identifies the major perpetrators of escalating global emissions. Using the LMDI decomposition technique, we examine the contribution of the major factors in changing the level of emissions. The effect of GDP on emission is found to be substantially more than that of population. However, the income effect shows high fluctuation over time, while the population effect has been roughly constant. The upper middle-income countries, particularly of Europe and Central Asia, despite high economic growth have reduced their emissions substantially, while in the countries of North America, East Asia Pacific and South Asia increase in income have been significantly accompanied by increase in emission. Apart from few low emitting countries, almost all others have been successful in increasing emission efficiency, but their energy efficiencies have not been remarkable. Although emission efficiency has been more instrumental in curtailing emission, in some cases the path of change in emission follows that of change in energy intensity. Thus, both energy and emission intensity have crucial roles in determining the level of emissions. It may be suggested that emphasis should be given on policies oriented towards sufficient counteractive energy and emission efficiencies before embarking on a path towards economic growth.


Carbon dioxide emission Decomposition Energy efficiency Emission intensity 


  1. Ang BW (2005) The LMDI approach to decomposition analysis: a practical guide. Energy Policy 33:867–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Birdsall N (1992) Another look at population and global warming, Policy research working papers. No. 1020., Washington DC, The World BankGoogle Scholar
  3. Bongaarts J (1992) Population growth and global warming. Population and Development Review 18:299–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dietz T, Rosa EA (1994) Rethinking the environmental impacts of population, affluence, and technology. Human Ecology Review 1:277–300Google Scholar
  5. Dietz T, Rosa EA (1997) Effects of population and affluence on CO2 emissions. Ecology 94:175–179Google Scholar
  6. Ehrlich P, Holdren J (1971) Impact of population growth. Science 171:1212–1217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Engleman R (1998) Profiles in carbon: an update on population, consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Population Action International, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Karakaya E, Özcag M (2005) Driving forces of CO2 emissions in central Asia: A decomposition analysis of air pollution from fossil fuel combustion. Arid Ecosystems Journal 11(26–27):49–57Google Scholar
  9. Kaya Y (1990) Impact of carbon dioxide emissions control on GNP growth: interpretation of proposed scenarios, paper presented to IPCC Energy and Industry Sub-group, Response Strategies Working GroupGoogle Scholar
  10. Martínez-Zarzoso I, Bengochea-Morancho A, Morales-Lage R (2006) The impact of population on CO2 emissions: evidence from European countries, The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei Note di Lavoro Series Index:
  11. O’ Neill BC, MacKellar FL, Lutz W (2001) Population and climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  12. Onozaki K (2009) Population is a critical factor for global carbon dioxide increase. J Health Sci 55(1):125–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Shi A (2001) Population growth and global carbon dioxide emissions, paper presented at IUSSP Conference in Brazil/session-s09Google Scholar
  14. Shi A (2003) The impact of population pressure on global carbon dioxide emissions, 1975–1996: evidence from pooled cross-country data. Ecological Economics 44:29–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Smil V (1990) Planetary warming: Realities and responses. Population and Development Review 16(1):1–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. World Bank (2007) Growth and CO2 emissions: how do different countries fare? Environment DepartmentGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sundarban Hazi Desarat College24 Parganas (South)India
  2. 2.Behala CollegeKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations