Background Decoupling is a green growth concept suggested as a means to achieve economic growth without or with less environmental risks. Despite extensive empirical studies made on decoupling between emissions and growth, the existing evidence is quite mixed and inconclusive. On top of that, the vast majority of studies considered emissions generated at the point of production alone which do not explicitly account for emissions associated with international trade. Accordingly, this study examines the issue of decoupling between carbon emissions and economic growth in 25 African countries over 1990-2017, considering both production and consumption-based CO2 emissions.
Results The results from decoupling method and panel data estimation techniques invariably indicate some evidence of relative decoupling for production-based emissions, but no robust evidence of decoupling for consumption-related emissions. Primary energy intensity and population are found as the main drivers of carbon emissions in Africa. Further, exports and imports have insignificant effects on territorial emissions, but significant and offsetting effects on consumption-based emissions.
Conclusion The main conclusion of the study is to incorporate emissions generated from consumption activities in emissions-growth linkage as production-related emissions alone would evidently be insufficient for decarbonizing economic growth. The study also suggests that climate policy measures in Africa are not fully-effective in mitigating carbon emissions and hence the need for enforcing active policy interventions and consumption-related emissions regulation in particular.