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Environmental Kuznets Curves, Carbon Emissions, and Public Choice


Jody W. Lipford*
Professor of Economics Department of Economics and Business Administration
Presbyterian College
Clinton, SC 29235


 Bruce Yandle
Professor of Economics Emeritus
Clemson University, PERC Senior Fellow, and
Distinguished Adjunct Professor, Mercatus Center at
George Mason University.
Clemson, SC 29634


Concern about global climate change has elicited responses from governments around the world. These responses began with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and have continued with other negotiations, including the 2009 Copenhagen Summit. These negotiations raise important questions about whether countries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, if so, how the burden of emissions reductions will be shared. To investigate these questions we utilize Environmental Kuznets Curves for carbon emissions for the G8 plus five main developing countries. Our findings raise doubts about the feasibility of reducing global carbon emissions and shed light on the different positions taken by countries on the distribution of emissions reductions.

*The authors express thanks to Roger E. Meiners, Jeffrey Pompe, Jerry Slice, Robert D. Tollison, two anonymous referees, an associate editor of this journal, and the editor of this journal for helpful comments on earlier drafts. Any remaining errors are our own.

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