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Long-term changes in CO₂ emissions in Austria and Czechoslovakia—Identifying the drivers of environmental pressures

Gingrich, Simone, Kušková, Petra, Steinberger, Julia K.
Energy policy 2011 v.39 no.2 pp. 535-543
carbon dioxide, eco-efficiency, economic development, economic structure, emissions, energy, fossil fuels, household expenditure, income, politics, Austria, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia
This study presents fossil-fuel related CO₂ emissions in Austria and Czechoslovakia (current Czech Republic and Slovakia) for 1830–2000. The drivers of CO₂ emissions are discussed by investigating the variables of the standard Kaya identity for 1920–2000 and conducting a comparative Index Decomposition Analysis. Proxy data on industrial production and household consumption are analysed to understand the role of the economic structure. CO₂ emissions increased in both countries in the long run. Czechoslovakia was a stronger emitter of CO₂ throughout the time period, but per-capita emissions significantly differed only after World War I, when Czechoslovakia and Austria became independent. The difference in CO₂ emissions increased until the mid-1980s (the period of communism in Czechoslovakia), explained by the energy intensity and the composition effects, and higher industrial production in Czechoslovakia. Counterbalancing factors were the income effect and household consumption. After the Velvet revolution in 1990, Czechoslovak CO₂ emissions decreased, and the energy composition effect (and industrial production) lost importance. Despite their different political and economic development, Austria and Czechoslovakia reached similar levels of per-capita CO₂ emissions in the late 20th century. Neither Austrian “eco-efficiency” nor Czechoslovak restructuring have been effective in reducing CO₂ emissions to a sustainable level.