Main content area

Long-run dynamics of sulphur dioxide emissions, economic growth, and energy efficiency in China

Hu, Bin, Li, Zhengtao, Zhang, Lin
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.227 pp. 942-949
business cycles, cross-sectional studies, econometric models, economic development, emissions, energy efficiency, sulfur dioxide, China
This paper estimates the linkages among total Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, total GDP and energy efficiency using China's provincial panel data from 2002 to 2015. We investigate total emissions rather than per capita emissions or ambient concentrations since it is total emissions that the environment cares about. Energy efficiency is estimated using stochastic frontier analysis and decomposed into both persistent and transient efficiency. We then investigate the long-run dynamics among SO2 emissions, economic growth, and energy efficiency by employing the panel-based error correction model and taking the effects of cyclical variations into account. Our analysis shows that GDP has a positive impact on total SO2 emissions in the short run and gains in energy efficiency have a significant negative effect on emissions in the long run. By controlling the effects of the business cycle, the effects of GDP on emissions remain positive in both the short and long run. The cross-sectional analysis provides similar insights. We argue that economic growth itself is an emission generator. Therefore, the government needs to establish a long-run strategy to curb emissions by improving energy efficiency.