Convergence in carbon emissions per capita

Author name: 
Stegman A

Convergence in cross country per capita carbon emission rates is an important concept in the climate change debate. This paper provides an empirical analysis of emissions per capita convergence. This analysis is crucial to the assessment of projection models that generate convergence in emission per capita rates and to the assessment of policy proposals that advocate imposing convergence in emissions per capita. The main conclusions in this paper are based on a detailed examination of the intra-distributional dynamics of cross country emissions per capita over time. Stochastic kernel estimation of these dynamics suggests that the cross country distribution of emissions per capita is characterised by persistence. There is little evidence that emission per capita rates across countries are converging in an absolute sense. Projection models that generate convergence in emissions per capita are therefore inconsistent with empirical behaviour. Policies that impose convergence in emissions per capita are likely to generate large re-distributional impacts.

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