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Economic growth and development with low‐carbon energy

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Energy is needed for economic growth, and access to cheap, reliable energy is an essential development objective. Historically most incremental energy demand has been met through fossil fuels; however, in future that energy will have to be low carbon and ultimately zero‐carbon. Decarbonization can and needs to happen at varying speeds in all countries, depending on national circumstances. This article reviews the implications of a transition to low‐carbon energy on economic growth and development in current low‐income countries. It sets out empirical findings about trajectories for energy intensity and emissions intensity of economic growth; explores pathways to accelerate decarbonization; reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on economic costs and co‐benefits of energy decarbonization; and assesses analytical approaches. It discusses the opportunities that might arise in terms of a cleaner, more dynamic and more sustainable growth model, and the options for developing countries to implement a less‐carbon intensive model of economic development.

Energy intensity and carbon intensity of energy, 2011. Notes: Energy intensity of gross domestic product (GDP): Energy use in kg of oil equivalent per $1000 GDP (constant 2011 PPP). CO2 intensity of energy: kg per kg of oil equivalent energy use. Global average CO2 intensity of GDP: 347 kg/$1000 GDP (constant 2011 PPP at 2011). Data: World Development Indicators 2016. Data for 2011. Data shown for 100 largest countries by population, excluding countries for which no data are available.
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Long‐term trajectory of energy intensity and carbon intensity of energy, country groups.Energy intensity of gross domestic product (GDP): Energy use in kg of oil equivalent per $1000 GDP (constant 2011 PPP). CO2 intensity of energy: kg per kg of oil equivalent energy use. Global average CO2 intensity of GDP: 347 kg/$1000 GDP(constant 2011 PPP at 2011). Data: World Development Indicators 2016. Data for 1990/1992 to 2011. Data for 100 largest countries by population, excluding countries for which no data are available.
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Change in energy intensity and carbon intensity of energy, 2001–2011.Notes: Energy intensity of gross domestic product (GDP): Energy use in kg of oil equivalent per $1000 GDP (constant 2011 PPP). CO2 intensity of energy: kg per kg of oil equivalent energy use. Global average CO2 intensity of GDP: 347 kg/$1000 GDP (constant 2011 PPP at 2011). Data: World Development Indicators 2016. Data for 2011. Data shown for 100 largest countries by population, excluding countries for which no data are available, and excluding extreme outliers. Legend as per Figure .
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Climate Economics > Economics and Climate Change
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