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Decoupling economic growth from emissions: A regional approach

Authors: Jenny Berggren*, University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Topics: Political Geography, Environment, Economic Geography
Keywords: impact decoupling; Southern United States; political culture
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Impact decoupling entails “increasing economic activity while decreasing negative environmental impacts, like pollution, CO2 emissions, and the destruction of biodiversity” (UNEP, 2013). This relationship, studied in a variety of national contexts, is better known as the environmental Kuznets curve. While a variety of national studies have analyzed impact decoupling, examination of regional or other sub-national units for evidence of this relationship has been severely limited. The study here documents research performed in U.S. states. For the duration of the two decades examined, all states experienced a form of impact decoupling, as measured in GDP growth and carbon dioxide levels. Here, we focus on testing various explanations for the forms of decoupling which took place in the southern U. S. from 1997 to 2017. In particular, we examine the role of intragovernmental relations, privatization, and political culture in explaining the different outcomes.

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