PLoS One. 2023 Sep 12;18(9):e0291144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0291144. eCollection 2023.
Institutions and energy production sources shape environmental policies and practices. Institutions establish frameworks for renewable energy and enforce environmental protection measures. Conventional energy sources cause pollution and climate change, while green energy sources have lower environmental impacts. In this study we analyzed how quality institutions, along with different types of energy production sources affect the quality of environment in 101 countries that are part of the BRI, a global development project. We used a statistical method called panel quantile regression to analyze data from 2000 to 2020. We found that producing energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, reduces CO2 emissions by 0.003% in BRI countries. However, producing energy from non-renewable sources, such as gas and coal, harms the environment more in high-income and middle-income countries. We also found that having better institutional quality reduces CO2 emissions by 3.421%, 2.710%, and 0.006% in different groups of BRI countries. This means that having stronger and fairer institutions can help protect the environment by limiting the use of non-renewable energy sources and encouraging the use of renewable ones. Our study suggests that improving institutional quality is a key factor for achieving green energy and environmental sustainability in BRI countries.