Advertisement

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 31, pp 32446–32459 | Cite as

Configurational conditions of national carbon intensity: a fuzzy set analysis of 136 countries

  • Yimin MaoEmail author
Research Article
  • 69 Downloads

Abstract

Drawing on the insights from the literature in environmental economics and politics, this study examines the configurational conditions of national carbon intensity by constructing a new analytical framework integrating six factors, i.e. population, affluence, industrial structure, energy intensity, urbanization rate and democracy. A fuzzy set analysis of 136 countries shows that national carbon intensity is not determined by any single factor but rather by the combined effects of multiple factors. There are two configurational pathways to low-carbon development while four pathways to high-carbon development, each with its own configuration. Low-carbon development occurs most often in those affluent, highly urbanized and democratic countries with low intensity of energy use, while high-carbon development is most likely in those small, poor countries with high intensity of energy use. This study also shows that the role of particular factor should be understood in the context as its combinations with different sets of other factors may produce opposite effects on national carbon intensity. That is, the policy efforts concentrated on single factor may be ineffective to reduce carbon intensity. These findings permit a more contextualized and systematic understanding of the determinants of national carbon intensity.

Keywords

Carbon intensity Configurational conditions Qualitative comparative analysis Cross-national data 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author thanks two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft.

Funding information

This work was supported by the China National Social Science Foundation (No. 18CZZ023).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Adom PK, Kwakwa PA, Amankwaa A (2018) The long-run effects of economic, demographic, and political indices on actual and potential CO2 emissions. J Environ Manag 218:516–526.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.04.090 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arvin MB, Lew B (2011) Does democracy affect environmental quality in developing countries? Appl Econ 43:1151–1160.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00036840802600277 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barrett S, Graddy K (2000) Freedom, growth, and the environment. Environ Dev Econ 5:433–456.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355770X00000267 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beeson M (2010) The coming of environmental authoritarianism. Environ Polit 19:276–294.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09644010903576918 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhattacharyya SC, Ussanarassamee A (2004) Decomposition of energy and CO2 intensities of Thai industry between 1981 and 2000. Energy Econ 26:765–781.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2004.04.035 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bueno de Mesquita B, Smith A, Siverson RM, Morrow JD (2003) The logic of political survival. The MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  7. Buitenzorgy M, Mol A (2010) Does democracy lead to a better environment? Deforestation and the democratic transition peak. Environ Resour Econ 48:59–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chang YS, Choi D, Kim HE (2017) Dynamic trends of carbon intensities among 127 countries. Sustainability 9:2268.  https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122268 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dasgupta S, De Cian E (2018) The influence of institutions, governance, and public opinion on the environment: synthesized findings from applied econometrics studies. Energy Res Soc Sci 43:77–95.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.05.023 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dietz T, Rosa EA (1997) Effects of population and affluence on CO2 emissions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 94:175–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dong F, Long R, Li Z, Dai Y (2016) Analysis of carbon emission intensity, urbanization and energy mix: evidence from China. Nat Hazards 82:1375–1391.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-016-2248-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Du WC, Xia XH (2018) How does urbanization affect GHG emissions? A cross-country panel threshold data analysis. Appl Energy 229:872–883.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.08.050 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dusa A (2018) QCA with R: a comprehensive description. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Ebohon OJ, Ikeme AJ (2006) Decomposition analysis of CO2 emission intensity between oil-producing and non-oil-producing sub-Saharan African countries. Energy Policy 34:3599–3611.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2004.10.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ehrlich P, Holdren J (1971) Impact of population growth. Science 171:1212–1217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fan Y, Liu L-C, Wu G, Tsai HT, Wei YM (2007) Changes in carbon intensity in China: empirical findings from 1980–2003. Ecol Econ 62:683–691.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.08.016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Farzin YH, Bond CA (2006) Democracy and environmental quality. J Dev Econ 81:213–235.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdeveco.2005.04.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Garcia-Castro R, Ariño M (2016) A general approach to panel data set-theoretic research. J Adv Manag Sci Inf Syst 2:63–76Google Scholar
  19. Greckhamer T, Misangyi VF, Fiss PC (2013) The two QCAs: from a small-N to a large-N set theoretic approach. In: Configurational theory and methods in organizational research. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp 49–75Google Scholar
  20. Grossman GM, Krueger AB (1995) Economic growth and the environment. Q J Econ 110:353–377.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2118443 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hadenius A, Teorell J (2005) Assessing alternative indices of democracy. Concepts & Methods Working Papers 6. International Political Science AssociationGoogle Scholar
  22. Heilbroner RL (1974) An inquiry into the human prospect. W. W. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Herzog T, Baumert KA, Pershing J (2006) Target--intensity: an analysis of greenhouse gas intensity targets. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.CGoogle Scholar
  24. Jorgenson AK, Auerbach D, Clark B (2014) The (de-) carbonization of urbanization, 1960–2010. Clim Chang 127:561–575.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1267-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Joshi P, Beck K (2018) Democracy and carbon dioxide emissions: assessing the interactions of political and economic freedom and the environmental Kuznets curve. Energy Res Soc Sci 39:46–54.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.10.020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lægreid OM, Povitkina M (2018) Do political institutions moderate the GDP-CO2 relationship? Ecol Econ 145:441–450.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.11.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li Q, Reuveny R (2006) Democracy and environmental degradation. Int Stud Q 50:935–956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liddle B (2015) What are the carbon emissions elasticities for income and population? Bridging STIRPAT and EKC via robust heterogeneous panel estimates. Glob Environ Chang 31:62–73.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.10.016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lv Z (2017) The effect of democracy on CO 2 emissions in emerging countries: does the level of income matter? Renew Sust Energ Rev 72:900–906.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2017.01.096 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. MacKellar FL, Lutz W, Prinz C, Goujon A (1995) Population, households, and CO2 emissions. Popul Dev Rev 21:849.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2137777 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mackie JL (1965) Causes and Conditions. American Philosophical Quarterly 2:245–264Google Scholar
  32. Mao Y (2018) Does democratic transition reduce carbon intensity? Evidence from Indonesia using the synthetic control method. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25:19908–19917.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2165-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Martínez-Zarzoso I, Maruotti A (2011) The impact of urbanization on CO2 emissions: evidence from developing countries. Ecol Econ 70:1344–1353.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.02.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Martínez-Zarzoso I, Bengochea-Morancho A, Morales-Lage R (2007) The impact of population on CO2 emissions: evidence from European countries. Environ Resour Econ 38:497–512.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10640-007-9096-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mayer A (2017) Will democratization save the climate? An entropy-balanced, random slope study. Int J Sociol 47:81–98.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00207659.2017.1300465 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Midlarsky MI (1998) Democracy and the environment: an empirical assessment. J Peace Res 35:341–361.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343398035003005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Misangyi VF, Greckhamer T, Furnari S, Fiss PC, Crilly D, Aguilera R (2016) Embracing causal complexity: the emergence of a neo-configurational perspective. J Manag 43:255–282.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206316679252 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mulugetta Y, Urban F (2010) Deliberating on low carbon development. Energy Policy 38:7546–7549.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2010.05.049 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Olson M (1993) Dictatorship, democracy and development. Am Polit Sci Rev 87:567–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ophuls W (1977) Ecology and the politics of scarcity. W.H. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  41. Pappas D, Chalvatzis KJ, Guan D, Ioannidis A (2018) Energy and carbon intensity: a study on the cross-country industrial shift from China to India and SE Asia. Appl Energy 225:183–194.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.04.132 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Payne RA (1995) Freedom and the environment. J Democr 6:41–55.  https://doi.org/10.1353/jod.1995.0053 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Policardo L (2016) Is democracy good for the environment? Quasi-experimental evidence from regime transitions. Environ Resour Econ 64:275–300.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10640-014-9870-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Poumanyvong P, Kaneko S (2010) Does urbanization lead to less energy use and lower CO2 emissions? A cross-country analysis. Ecol Econ 70:434–444.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.09.029 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ragin CC (2008) Redesigning Social Inquiry. University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
  46. Ragin CC (2009) Qualitative comparative analysis using fuzzy sets (fsQCA). Configurational comparative methods: qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) and related techniques 51:87–121Google Scholar
  47. Roberts JT, Grimes PE (1997) Carbon intensity and economic development 1962–1991: a brief exploration of the environmental Kuznets curve. World Dev 25:191–198.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0305-750X(96)00104-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rodríguez M, Pena-Boquete Y (2017) Carbon intensity changes in the Asian Dragons. Lessons for climate policy design. Energy Econ 66:17–26.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2017.05.028 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rosa EA, York R, Dietz T (2004) Tracking the anthropogenic drivers of ecological impacts. Ambio 33:509–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schneider CQ, Wagemann C (2012) Set-theoretic methods for the social sciences. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Shi A (2003) The impact of population pressure on global carbon dioxide emissions, 1975–1996: evidence from pooled cross-country data. Ecol Econ 44:29–42.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(02)00223-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Skaaning S-E (2011) Assessing the robustness of crisp-set and fuzzy-set QCA results. Sociol Methods Res 40:391–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stern DI, Common MS, Barbier EB (1996) Economic growth and environmental degradation: the environmental Kuznets curve and sustainable development. World Dev 24:1151–1160.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-750X(96)00032-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sun JW (2005) The decrease of CO2 emission intensity is decarbonization at national and global levels. Energy Policy 33:975–978.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2003.10.023 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Teorell J (2010) Determinants of democratization: explaining regime change in the world, 1972–2006. Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  56. Vis B (2012) The comparative advantages of fsQCA and regression analysis for moderately large-N analyses. Sociol Methods Res 41:168–198.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0049124112442142 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Welzel C, Inglehart R (2008) The role of ordinary people in democratization. J Democr 19:126–140.  https://doi.org/10.1353/jod.2008.0009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Winslow M (2005) Is democracy good for the environment? J Environ Plan Manag 48:771–783.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09640560500183074 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Xu XY, Ang BW (2013) Index decomposition analysis applied to CO2 emission studies. Ecol Econ 93:313–329.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.06.007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. York R, Rosa EA, Dietz T (2003) STIRPAT, IPAT and ImPACT: analytic tools for unpacking the driving forces of environmental impacts. Ecol Econ 46:351–365.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(03)00188-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zhang Y-J, Liu Z, Zhang H, Tan T-D (2014) The impact of economic growth, industrial structure and urbanization on carbon emission intensity in China. Nat Hazards 73:579–595.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-014-1091-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zhu Z-S, Liao H, Cao H-S, Wang L, Wei YM, Yan J (2014) The differences of carbon intensity reduction rate across 89 countries in recent three decades. Appl Energy 113:808–815.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.07.062 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public AdministrationZhejiang Gongshang UniversityHangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations