Climate Change Research ›› 2018, Vol. 14 ›› Issue (3): 303-309.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2017.213

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A Granger Causality analysis between GDP and CO2 emissions by major emitters and implications for international climate governance

Mou WANG1,2   

  1. 1 Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing 100732, China
    2 Research Centre for Sustainable Development, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing 100732, China
  • Received:2017-10-18 Revised:2017-12-05 Online:2018-05-31 Published:2018-06-07


Based on the time sequence data of carbon emissions and GDP of the world’s top 20 emitters between 1990-2015, this paper conducts a cointegration analysis and Granger Causality Test to empirically analyze the relationship between carbon emissions and economic growth in the world’s major emitters. According to the cointegration analysis, there remains a long-term balanced relationship between carbon emissions and economic growth in most countries; furthermore, in the light of the results deduced from the Granger Causality Test concerning carbon emissions and GDP, there exists a one-way relationship of causality between carbon emissions and economic growth in most of the major emitters. In developed countries, the relationship is mainly manifested in the economic growth as a Granger cause of carbon emissions; whereas for developing nations, the opposite is true. Research findings have reflected the stage characteristics of developed and developing countries in terms of CO2 emissions reduction, suggesting that emission reduction obviously exerts a more negative influence on the economic growth of developing nations than their developed counterparts. On the ground of the conclusion drawn from Granger Causality analysis, this paper holds that at the current stage, demand for developing countries to set forth a substantial emission reduction target in the process of international climate governance is not in accordance with the characteristics of their development stages, which may probably affects the normal order and rules of economic development in developing countries. Developed countries, based on their historical emission responsibility, development stage and capability, should take a lead in undertaking emission reduction actions, assist developing countries with transition and upgrading, in order to reduce their dependence of economic growth on carbon emissions. International climate governance needs to base on and take into account the development demand and features of various countries to establish institutional arrangements of international cooperation, so as to push for a concerted and coordinated relationship between socio-economic development and global climate governance.

Key words: Top emitters, Carbon dioxide (CO2), GDP, Granger Causality Test, Climate governance

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