Quality & Quantity

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 2007–2030 | Cite as

Does renewable energy ensure environmental quality in favour of economic growth? Empirical evidence from China’s renewable development

  • Joshua Sunday RitiEmail author
  • Deyong Song
  • Yang ShuEmail author
  • Miriam Kamah
  • Agya Adi Atabani


An economy in transition that is growing fast coupled with rising population requires more energy. Economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions in China have been increasing together over the past several years. Exploring the dynamic relationship among these variables has a lot of policy implications related to environment–growth–energy linkage. This paper explores the interrelationship among CO2 emissions, economic growth, disaggregated energy (fossil fuel and renewable) consumption and population. The broad objective of the paper is to examine the potential role of renewable energy consumption to ensure environmental quality in favour of growth. Data spanned from 1971 to 2013 sourced from World Bank data base. The results from auto regression distributed lag suggests that fossil fuel energy consumption increases CO2 emissions, both in the short and the long run, but renewable energy consumption reduces CO2 emissions in the long run. Although economic growth and population increase CO2 emissions in the short run, their impacts on CO2 emissions in the long run diminish, validating the environmental carbon Kuznets curve hypothesis in China. Short run vector error correction mechanism Granger causality results reveal unidirectional causality from both fossil fuel and renewable energy consumption to CO2 emissions revealing growth hypothesis. Bidirectional causality exists between both energies and economic growth confirming the role of energy on economic expansion vis-à-vis the role of income on energy consumption. The findings have important policy implications for harmonizing economic growth vis-à-vis environmental quality and thus climate change mitigation with a higher proportion of energy from renewables.


Renewable energy Environmental quality Economic growth Green environment China 

JEL Classification

Q27 O44 Q43 Q54 



The authors gratefully acknowledged the anonymous reviewers of this manuscript for their editorial comments that really improved this manuscript.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of JosJosNigeria
  3. 3.School of EconomicsCapital School of Economics and BusinessBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of EconomicsFederal UniversityWukariNigeria

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