The relevance of EKC hypothesis in energy intensity real-output trade-off for sustainable environment in EU-27

Bekun F. V., Alola A. A., Gyamfi B. A., Yaw S. S.

Environmental Science and Pollution Research, vol.28, no.37, pp.51137-51148, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28 Issue: 37
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11356-021-14251-4
  • Journal Name: Environmental Science and Pollution Research
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, IBZ Online, ABI/INFORM, Aerospace Database, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Environment Index, Geobase, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.51137-51148
  • Keywords: Carbon mitigation, EKC hypothesis, Energy intensity, Environmental sustainability, The EU
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.Considering the prevailing wave of global warming and other environmental challenges, which can be attributed to increasing environmental pollution as a result of economic activity, thus, it is essential to understand the effect of economic progress on the environment. More importantly, this endeavor is especially suited for the European Union (EU) member states, which account for a sizable portion of the world economy. However, by considering the open border or trade policy approach of the bloc, this study applies a battery of econometrics analysis that consists of mean group, augmented mean group, common correlated effect mean group estimators, and Dumitrescu and Hurlin causality analysis for direction of causality. These techniques are superior to first-generation methods to substantiate the relationship between real income, energy intensity, and carbon emission between annual frequency data from 1990 to 2017. Empirical results from series of cointegration tests reveal the long-run equilibrium relationship between the highlighted variables in the EU. Our study validates the existence of EKC phenomenon where emphasis is based on GDP growth at the expense of environmental quality. This implies that EU growth trajectory comes with an environmental trade-off and consequences. However, few countries in the region have made substantial strides of carbon reduction but not as a bloc. This position is resonated by the regression from all estimators in harmony where energy intensity dampens environmental quality in the blocs investigated. On the direction of causality, feedback Granger causality is observed running from GDP growth and carbon emission. A similar direction of causality is seen between energy intensity and carbon emission. These outcomes have far-reaching consequences on the environment. This study recommends the need for energy transition to cleaner and friendlier energy technologies by EU officials. That is, the need for a paradigm shift from conventional energy based on fossil fuel to renewable energy should be pursued in the region. More policy directions are outlined in the concluding section.