Keywords: CO2, carbon dioxide, GDP, gross domestic product, EKC, environmental Kuznets curve, turning point, China, carbon emissions
A projected turning point in China's CO2 emissions: an Environmental Kuznets Curve analysis
This paper examines the possible existence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) relationship between China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita (CO2/capita) and GDP per capita (GDP/capita) during the period 1980–2008. The timing of the turning point in China's CO2/capita can be further estimated if an EKC relationship exists. In regression results, a natural logarithm–quadratic relationship was found between CO2/capita and GDP/capita, which supports the EKC hypothesis. However, China's CO2 emissions are still on a growing track until around 2078 in empirical analysis. More importantly, CO2 emissions will not spontaneously decrease if China continues to develop its economy without adopting instruments for mitigating climate change. China's wealth gap and China's role in international trade are discussed as two possible factors to affect EKC hypothesis. Therefore, reduction in domestic income inequality and negotiations to allocate responsibilities between China and developed countries for CO2 emissions associated with China's exports are suggested as further efforts.