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The impact of past pandemics on CO$_2$ emissions and transition to renewable energy

Michał Brzeziński ()

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Abstract: We estimate the short- to medium term impact of six major past pandemic crises on the CO2 emissions and energy transition to renewable electricity. The results show that the previous pandemics led on average to a 3.4-3.7% fall in the CO2 emissions in the short-run (1-2 years since the start of the pandemic). The effect is present only in the rich countries, as well as in countries with the highest pandemic death toll (where it disappears only after 8 years) and in countries that were hit by the pandemic during economic recessions. We found that the past pandemics increased the share of electricity generated from renewable sources within the fiveyear horizon by 1.9-2.3 percentage points in the OECD countries and by 3.2-3.9 percentage points in countries experiencing economic recessions. We discuss the implications of our findings in the context of CO2 emissions and the transition to renewable energy in the post-COVID-19 era.

Date: 2021-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-env
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