The Drivers of Long-run CO₂ emissions in Europe, North America and Japan since 1800

Sofia Henriques, Karol Borowiecki

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64 Citations (SciVal)


Using an extended Kaya decomposition, we identify the drivers of long-run CO₂ emissions since 1800 for Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the United States, Canada and Japan. By considering biomass and carbon-free energy sources along with fossil fuels, we are able to shed light on the effects of past and present energy transitions on CO₂ emissions. We find that at low levels of income per capita, fuel switching from biomass to fossil fuels is the main contributing factor to emissions growth. As income levels increase, scale effects, especially income effects, become dominant. Technological change proves to be the main offsetting factor in the long run. Particularly in the last decades, technological change and fuel switching have become important contributors to the decrease in emissions in Europe. Our results also contrast the differentiated historical paths of CO₂ emissions taken by these countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-549
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Policy
Early online date2016 Nov 14
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Sciences
  • Economic History


  • carbon emissions
  • decomposition analysis
  • energy transition
  • biomass


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