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Energy use and the role of per capita income on carbon emissions in African countries

Ngozi Adeleye (), Romanus Osabohien, Adedoyin Isola Lawal and Tyrone De Alwis

PLOS ONE, 2021, vol. 16, issue 11, 1-17

Abstract: This study contributes towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 which aims “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” by investigating the role of per capita income in moderating the impact of energy use on carbon emissions. Using data from 28 selected African countries covering 1990 to 2019 and deploying the FGLS, PCSE, and MM-QR techniques, findings reveal, among others, that: at the 1% significance level, a percentage change in energy use leads to between 0.60% and 0.70% increase in carbon emissions, on average, ceteris paribus. Correspondingly, income shows to be a positive driver of emissions contributing between 0.87% and 0.84% percentage increase, on average, ceteris paribus. Also, per capita income attenuates the impact of energy use on emissions by between -0.27% and -0.23%, on average, ceteris paribus. However, significant heterogeneities occur across the sub-regions. Specifically, Southern Africa shows the largest energy contributor to emissions 1.65% while Central Africa contributes the most to aggravating emissions by 1.87% through increase in per capita income. West Africa shows the largest moderation effect at -0.56%. Across the quartiles, the effects of energy use and per capita are positive. Given these, we submit that the strong correlation between energy usage and per capita income (i.e. economic growth) poses a dilemma for African economies in their drive for growth. Leaving room for trade-offs. Perhaps, the lesson is that as African countries seek for more development without contributing to carbon emissions, governments should invest more in renewable energy.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259488

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