Income level and environmental quality in the MENA countries: discussing the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis

Income level and environmental quality in the MENA countries: discussing the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis

The relationship between environmental quality and economic growth is puzzling. This paper illustrates that according to the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis, as income increases, emissions increase as well until some threshold level of income is reached after which emissions begin to decline.

The paper states that for MENA region, MENA countries produce around 7% of worldwide greenhouse gases while accounting for around 6% of the world's population. In addition, the document highlights that emissions are increasing rapidly.

The authors investigate the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions, energy consumption, and real GDP for 12 MENA countries over the period 1981–2005. The results show that in the long-run, energy consumption has a positive significant impact on CO2 emissions, but this impact varies considerably across MENA countries. Equally important, the results show that real GDP exhibits a quadratic relationship with CO2 emissions.

Subsequently, the document indicates that the findings support an inverted U-shape pattern associated with the EKC hypothesis for the MENA region: CO2 emissions increase with real GDP, stabilise, and then decrease. Still, the paper underlines that the literature on carbon emissions policies suggests a possible tax on polluters, while a second option would be a carbon emissions trading scheme.

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