3.1 Carbon intensity of wellbeing (CIWB) and Economic Development
The scholars termed the link between CO2 emissions and human wellbeing as the carbon intensity of wellbeing (CIWB) or Ecological Intensity of human wellbeing (EIWB) that measures environmental and human wellbeing simultaneously (Jorgenson, 2014; Dietz et al., 2012). There are nascent literatures that concentrate on the assumption that a larger value of CIWB refers to a higher level of CO2 emission, whereas a lesser value denotes a lower level of CO2 emission (Jorgenson, 2014; Jorgenson & Dietz, 2015). Studies of Dietz et al. (2009), Dietz & Jorgenson (2013), and Jorgenson & Dietz (2015) concentrates on the wide-ranging ecological intensity of wellbeing context as well. In their opinion, it is a ratio of environmental pressure to human wellbeing which is operationalized taking the ratio between per capita CO2 emission and average life expectancy indicators. The (CIWB) concentrates on sustainable development issues by joining the environmental and human wellbeing indicator together into one indicator.
The study on the link between CO2 emission and economic development receives substantial consideration, however, a very limited degree of attention has been paid to the relationship between CO2 emissions and wellbeing indicators by emphasizing economic development (Knight & Rosa, 2011). Moreover, most studies concentrate on single or broad indicators, i.e., life expectancy, human development index, life satisfaction, apart from few exceptions (O’Neill, Fanning, Lamb, & Steinberger, 2018). There are studies that have concentrated on fundamental socio-technical changes that convey message to keep economic development, energy use and emissions within the boundary of ecological wellbeing (Lamb, 2016; Sulkowski & White, 2016).
The relationship between economic development (growth) and environmental wellbeing is elucidated utilizing the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) theory of Grossman and Krueger in 1995 (Press & Journal, 2010). There are innumerable studies that deal with EKC hypothesis (e.g., Hamit-Haggar, 2012; Friedl & Getzner, 2003; Al-Mulali, Saboori, & Ozturk, 2015 and Sharmin & Tareque, 2020). These studies have postulated that each economy is unique in terms of underlying aspects that impels the link involving human and environmental wellbeing and development. There is not known studies that concentrate on social wellbeing indicators (i.e., water, sanitation, life expectancy issues) applying EKC hypothesis on Asian economies.
3.2 Economic development, urbanization, energy consumption and CIWB
Rosa et al. (2010) establish that the impact of economic development on CIWB is a sustainability issue concerning the links among environmental, social and economic growth. Givens (2015) has identified that level of economic development and urbanization are linked with higher CIWB. This study also finds that a healthy urban development could lower the Carbon intensity of wellbeing. Dietz & Jorgenson (2013) investigate population dynamics with affluence as a stimulator of environmental impacts to show human-environment connections. Another study (Sadorsky, 2015) examined the effect of urbanization on CO2 emissions in 7 emerging economies. The study of Sharmin & Tareque (2018) have investigated that growth exploits energy consumption which is the reason behind the increase of CO2 emissions that hinders the quality of environment in Bangladesh. This study has found along with growth and energy use; urbanization, industrialization is the catalyst behind CO2 emission as well.
Urbanization is increasing energy consumption as found from the study of A. K. Jorgenson, Rice, & Clark, (2010) and their findings suggest that energy consumption is indispensable for quality of life improvement. In this respect, CIWB has a direct relationship with CO2 emissions and quality of life. Corresponding to that, it has a positive correlation with CO2 emissions (A. K. Jorgenson, Auerbach, & Clark, 2014). In connection with environmental and other human wellbeing issues, Liu et al. (2010) found that most arable land is transformed to urbanization and it is harmful to those countries that have a high depletion rate but a low potential for sustainable development. The study of Mazur (2011) has found that increased energy and electricity use is vital for poor nations to improve wellbeing and is not associated with improved wellbeing of industrialized nations. Some studies are in favor of using renewable energy instead of non-renewable energy to sustain environmental and human wellbeing (e.g., Baek & Kim, 2013; Al-Mulali, 2014; Sharif, Raza, Ozturk, & Afshan, 2019; Sharmin, 2021). In their view, more use of renewable enrgy might have poitive impact on overall wellbeing indicators and could reduce ecological footprint.
From the above-mentioned empirical evidence, it is discernible that a large amount of literature investigates the connection linking economic activities and its impact on the environment. But there is a paucity of studies that concentrate on social and human wellbeing indicators (i.e. water, sanitation, life expectancy, health issues) along with environmental issues applying EKC hypothesis on Asian economies. This study aims to contribute to above-mentioned less explored areas of literature.