J Environ Manage. 2022 Sep 1;317:115386. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115386. Epub 2022 Jun 8.
Based on the commitment to improve environmental quality across European Union under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and varying national goals, this study investigates the dynamic linkages between bureaucracy, socioeconomic factors, conventional fossil fuel energy consumption vis-à-vis aggregate fossil and disaggregate fossil (oil, coal, and gas) fuels and environmental quality in the panel of selected 25-EU nations for the period 1990-2017. The study employs relevant second-generation empirical method and unearth the following results: (1) inverted environmental Kuznets curve was validated while fossil fuel consumption has a deteriorating impact on environmental performance due to its positive effect on carbon emission; (2) fossil fuel energy consumption (both aggregate and it components) exerts a dampening impact on environmental performance due to its positive effect on carbon emission; (3) that direct effect of bureaucracy and socioeconomic factors promote environmental quality but the degree or magnitude of influence is significantly different between bureaucratic system and socioeconomic factor, and (4) the moderating or indirect impact of bureaucracy, socioeconomic on the environment via fossil fuel energy consumption is observed and significantly different across the model specification. Moreover, the result reveals a unidirectional causal relationship flows from GDP per capita, bureaucracy and socioeconomic factors to carbon emission, while bi-directional relationships between oil, gas and carbon emission are established. In policy direction, the study therefore recommend that the European Union member countries should further explore the opportunities in clean energy development in order to ameliorate the continent’s environmental concerns. Furthermore, in the quest to scale up the bloc’s energy transition, significant improvement in the countries’ bureaucracy establishment and socioeconomic conditions could hasten the energy transition and efficiency policy while improving the environmental sustainability drive.