Determinants of carbon emissions in ‘Belt and Road initiative’ countries: A production technology perspective


Little attention has been given to the carbon emissions issues of ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ countries although most countries have set explicit targets for Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Taking advantage of the production theory, distance function, and data envelopment analysis, we employed a production-theoretical decomposition analysis to decompose the total carbon dioxide emission changes of the “Belt and Road Initiatives” countries from 2000 to 2014 into the contribution of seven driving factors and focused particularly on a production technology perspective. The main findings are as follows: (1) the economic development as proxied by the gross domestic product and the potential carbon emissions related to energy consumption were the two most important factors affecting carbon emission growth. The driving factor values for these two factors were 1.989 and 1.37. The average CO2 emissions of the “Belt and Road Initiatives” countries in 2014 were 1.425 times larger than those in 2000. (2) The carbon abatement technology changes and potential energy intensity changes were the two main inhibiting factors return with factor values of 0.775 and 0.793. Moreover, we divided all countries into four groups, namely China and three other groups based on the income level. The results showed that the three groups had similar characteristics in terms of the carbon abatement technology effect and the carbon dioxide abatement technological efficiency, whereas China exhibited larger fluctuations. The promoting effect of economic development is significantly higher in China than in the other three groups. In addition, this promoting effect exhibited a decrease over time, indicating a decoupling between economic development and CO2 emissions.

Applied Energy 239: 268-279
Yabin Da
Yabin Da
Assistant Professor

Research interests include Environmental Economics (Climate Change), Applied Econometrics, and Causal Inference.