The role of partisan conflict in environmental sustainability targets of the United States

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The prevailing political atmosphere and partisanship in the United States depict the degree of polarization between the two major political parties of the country. Evidently, the polarization between the Democratic Party (DP) and the Republican Party will expectedly drive the partisan conflict to the higher levels. Considering this motivation, this paper examined the role of partisan conflict in the pollutant emissions in the case of the United States. For sound empirical analysis, the impacts of other environmental quality determinants are being examined over the period 1960–2015. In order to present a decent argument that is viable for policy implementation, the study adopts the combined methodologies of Johansen cointegration; the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) of Pesaran et al. J Am Stat Assoc 94(446):621–634 (1999); and the Toda and Yamamoto J Econ 66(1–2):225–250 (1995) Granger causality. Empirical outcomes show (i) the kg oil equivalent per capita energy consumed exercise positive and significant impacts on metric tons of per capita CO2 emissions, and it is the principal determinant of environmental degradation in both the short-run and the long-run (ii) renewable energy consumption and economic growth also exercise negative and significant impacts on metric tons of per capita CO2 emissions. Based on our empirical findings, we conclude that partisan conflict indirectly plays a significant role in environmental sustainability targets of the United States. Thus, we are of the opinion that the government should avoid heightened partisan conflict among the political parties in order to promote sustainable environmental policies that would enhance sound and clean environment for both the immediate and the future generation.

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Fig. 1
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  1. 1.

    Paris Agreement of the United Nations Climate Change builds upon the convention and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. Further information on Paris Agreement is available at

  2. 2.

    Emphasis in this study is placed on empirical results rather than methodologies. Thus, discussions pertaining to methodologies and its equations were omitted, since this study adopts methodologies that are well-known in literature. Interested readers that are not too familiar with these methodologies can read up on the respective generic papers from the references list. Otherwise, it will be made available upon request.

  3. 3.

    For brevity and clarity, all variables are stationary at first difference, that is, integrated at order one. The unit root table will be made available on request.


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We would like to appreciate AVIOLA Consult ltd for it quality proofreading service ( e-mail: Also, thanks to sheytex logistics and Services ( for both the paper formatting and significant input on the econometric analysis.

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Correspondence to Seyi Saint Akadiri.

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We would like to thank the two anonymous referee(s) for their useful comments

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Akadiri, S.S., Alola, A.A. The role of partisan conflict in environmental sustainability targets of the United States. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020).

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  • Energy demand
  • Environmental pollution
  • Partisan conflict
  • Real income
  • United States