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Mr. Christian Bogmans, Lama Kiyasseh, Mr. Akito Matsumoto, and Mr. Andrea Pescatori
Not anytime soon. Using a novel dataset covering 127 countries and spanning two centuries, we find evidence for an energy Kuznets curve, with an initial decline of energy demand at low levels of per capita income followed by stages of acceleration and then saturation at high-income levels. Historical trends in energy efficiency have reduced energy demand, globally, by about 1.2 percent per year and have, thus, helped bring forward a plateau in energy demand for high income countries. At middle incomes energy and income move in lockstep. The decline in the manufacturing share of value added, globally, accounted for about 0.2 percentage points of the energy efficiency gains. At the country level, the decline (rise) of the manufacturing sector has reduced (increased) US (China) energy demand by 4.1 (10.7) percent between 1990 and 2017.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and Mr. Manuk Ghazanchyan
While the world’s attention is on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change remains a greater existential threat to vulnerable countries that are highly dependent on a weather-sensitive sector like tourism. Using a novel multidimensional index, this study investigates the long-term impact of climate change vulnerability on international tourism in a panel of 15 Caribbean countries over the period 1995–2017. Empirical results show that climate vulnerability already has a statistically and economically significant negative effect on international tourism revenues across the region. As extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe over time, our findings indicate that the Caribbean countries need to pursue comprehensive adaptation policies to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change.
Mr. Jiaqian Chen, Maksym Chepeliev, Mr. Daniel Garcia-Macia, Ms. Dora M Iakova, Mr. James Roaf, Ms. Anna Shabunina, Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
This paper aims to contribute to the debate on the choice of policies to reach the more ambitious 2030 emission reduction goals currently under consideration. It provides an analysis of the macroeconomic and distributional impacts of different options to scale up the mitigation effort, and proposes enhancements to the existing EU policies. A key finding is that a well-designed package, consisting of more extensive carbon pricing across EU countries and sectors, combined with cuts in distortionary taxes and targeted green investment support, would allow the EU to reach the emission goals with practically no effects on aggregate income. To enhance the social and political acceptance of climate policies, part of the revenue from carbon pricing should be used to compensate the most vulnerable households and to support the transition of workers to greener jobs. A carbon border adjustment mechanism could complement the package to avoid an increase in emissions outside the EU due to higher carbon prices in the EU (“carbon leakage”). From a risk-reward perspective, the benefits of reducing the risk of extreme life-threatening climate events and the health benefits from lower air pollution clearly outweigh the costs of mitigation policies.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department

Abstract

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde delivered this address at Guildhall as part of the World Traders’ Tacitus Lecture series in London on February 28, 2019.

Dongyeol Lee, Huan Zhang, and Chau Nguyen
Pacific island countries are highly vulnerable to various natural disasters which are destructive, unpredictable and occur frequently. The frequency and scale of these shocks heightens the importance of medium-term economic and fiscal planning to minimize the adverse impact of disasters on economic development. This paper identifies the intensity of natural disasters for each country in the Pacific based on the distribution of damage and population affected by disasters, and estimates the impact of disasters on economic growth and international trade using a panel regression. The results show that “severe” disasters have a significant and negative impact on economic growth and lead to a deterioration of the fiscal and trade balance. We also find that the negative impact on growth is stronger for more intense disasters. Going further this paper proposes a simple and consistent method to adjust IMF staff’s economic projections and debt sustainability analysis for disaster shocks for the Pacific islands. Better incorporating the economic impact of natural disasters in the medium- and long-term economic planning would help policy makers improve fiscal policy decisions and to be better adapted and prepared for natural disasters.
Gail Cohen, João Tovar Jalles, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Ricardo Marto, and Gewei Wang
We provide a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and GDP in China using both aggregate and provincial data. The Kuznets elasticity is about 0.6 for China, higher than that in advanced countries but below that of major emerging markets. The elasticity is somewhat lower for consumption-based emissions than for production-based emissions, providing mild evidence consistent with the “pollution haven” hypothesis. The Kuznets elasticity is much lower for the last three decades than for the three previous decades, suggesting a longer-term trend toward decoupling as China has become richer. Further evidence of this comes from provincial data: richer provinces tend to have smaller Kuznets elasticities than poorer ones. In addition to the trend relationship, we find that the Environmental Okun's Law holds in China.
Gail Cohen, João Tovar Jalles, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Ricardo Marto
For the world's 20 largest emitters, we use a simple trend/cycle decomposition to provide evidence of decoupling between greenhouse gas emissions and output in richer nations, particularly in European countries, but not yet in emerging markets. If consumption-based emissions—measures that account for countries' net emissions embodied in cross-border trade—are used, the evidence for decoupling in the richer economies gets weaker. Countries with underlying policy frameworks more supportive of renewable energy and climate change mitigation efforts tend to show greater decoupling between trend emissions and trend GDP, and for both production- and consumption-based emissions. The relationship between trend emissions and trend GDP has also become much weaker in the last two decades than in preceding decades.
Mrs. Kerstin Gerling
Weather-related natural disasters and climate change pose interrelated macro-fiscal challenges. Using panel-VARX studies for a sample of 19 countries in Developing Asia during 1970 to 2015, this paper contributes new empirical evidence on the dynamic adjustment path of growth and key fiscal variables after severe weather-related disasters. It does not only show that output loss can be permanent, but even twice as large for cases of severe casualties or material damages than people affected. Meanwhile, key fiscal aggregates remain surprisingly stable. Event and case studies suggest that this can reflect both a deliberate policy choice or binding constraints. The latter can make governments respond through mitigating fiscal policy efforts such as ad hoc fiscal rebalancing and reprioritization. The findings help better customize disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts to countries’ risk exposure along a particular loss dimension.
Gail Cohen, João Tovar Jalles, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Ricardo Marto
Recent discussions of the extent of decoupling between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and real gross domestic product (GDP) provide mixed evidence and have generated much debate. We show that to get a clear picture of decoupling it is important to distinguish cycles from trends: there is an Environmental Okun's Law (a cyclical relationship between emissions and real GDP) that often obscures the trend relationship between emissions and real GDP. We show that, once the cyclical relationship is accounted for, the trends show evidence of decoupling in richer nations—particularly in European countries, but not yet in emerging markets. The picture changes somewhat, however, if we take into consideration the effects of international trade, that is, if we distinguish between production-based and consumption-based emissions. Once we add in their net emission transfers, the evidence for decoupling among the richer countries gets weaker. The good news is that countries with underlying policy frameworks more supportive of renewable energy and supportive of climate change tend to have greater decoupling between trend emissions and trend GDP, and for both production- and consumption-based emissions.