Pathways to carbon neutrality in major exporting countries: the threshold effect of digital transition

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Aug 30:1-21. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-22592-x. Online ahead of print.


By investigating the threshold effect on carbon emission from the perspective of digital transformation, this paper collects the panel data of 29 world’s major exporting countries from 2000 to 2019 to explore the impact of energy consumption on CO2 discharge by constructing a multi-variate threshold model. We further decompose digital transition into several indicators of digital infrastructure development, digital trade competitiveness, and digital technology exploitation. The key findings demonstrate that energy consumption exert a significant threshold effect on carbon emissions. When per capita energy usage is selected as the core explanatory variable, digital infrastructure and digital technology exploitation display significant single threshold effect. Likewise, when the proportion of renewable energy consumption is considered the key independent variable, digital trade competitiveness and digital technology exploitation also present significant single threshold impact. Overall, the deeper the digital transformation, the weaker the promotion effect of per capita energy consumption on carbon emissions, and the stronger the influence of the proportion of renewable energy on CO2 abatement. Robustness test confirms that the conclusions of this study are stable and consistent. Policymakers ought to better utilize the opportunities that digital transition offer for energy conservation and carbon neutrality realization. The specific policy implications include the following: (1) raise the scale of the application of renewable energy in digital infrastructure, (2) ameliorate the assessment system for the utilization of renewable energy in the digital industry, (3) elevate the incentive mechanism for boosting the adoption of clean energy during digitalization, (4) steadily advance the digital transition and refinement of industrial structure, and (5) high-income developed economies should help low- and middle-income developing countries accelerate the development of low-carbon economy.

PMID:36040700 | PMC:PMC9425811 | DOI:10.1007/s11356-022-22592-x


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