Towards mitigating ecological degradation in G-7 countries: accounting for economic effect dynamics, renewable energy consumption, and innovation

Heliyon. 2021 Dec 13;7(12):e08592. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e08592. eCollection 2021 Dec.


The 21st century economic growth is characterized by extensive production and consumption, which increases anthropogenic emissions. However, reducing emission levels require ecological sustainability through innovation and modern technological consideration. This paper investigated not only renewable energy-driven environmental quality but also captured innovation research investment in renewables within the framework of the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) model for G-7 countries. The findings confirmed the presence of EKC hypothesis for G-7 countries. In addition, renewable energy and innovation were identified to exert negative effects on ecological footprint. To capture the entire conditional distribution of the ecological footprint, we applied the Method of Moments Quantile Regression with fixed-effects. The results affirmed the negative effects of renewable energy innovation. Besides, their effects were heterogeneous across the quantiles with evidence of diminishing effects from lower to higher quantiles, suggesting that countries with lower levels of ecological footprint are possibly more prone to the environmental deterioration effect of income growth. The results of the causality test support economic growth-induced ecological degradation, growth-induced renewables, and innovation-induced ecological conservation. The results further showed a feedback effect between renewables and ecological footprint, innovation, and income growth as well as innovation and renewables. These findings portend important implications for the realization of carbon-free economies in G-7 countries by 2100.

PMID:34977411 | PMC:PMC8689085 | DOI:10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e08592


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