Determinants of CO2 emissions in the European Union: The role of renewable and non-renewable energy


The EKC hypothesis is valid for the European Union.

Renewable energy and trade mitigate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Non-renewable energy contributes to CO2 emissions.

There is bidirectional causality between renewable energy and CO2 emissions.

One-way causality runs from real income to CO2 emissions.


A number of studies in the environment-energy-growth literature aim to pin down the determinants of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as a result of large increases in CO2 emissions over the last few decades. One criticism related to the existing literature is the selection of data. The majority of studies use aggregate energy consumption. The other criticism is the selection of panel estimation techniques. Almost all studies use panel methods that ignore cross-sectional dependence. To fulfill the mentioned gaps in the literature, this empirical study aims to investigate the impacts of renewable and non-renewable energy, real income and trade openness on CO2 emissions in the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) model for the European Union over the period 1980–2012 by employing panel estimation techniques robust to cross-sectional dependence. By using the dynamic ordinary least squares estimator, we show that renewable energy and trade mitigate carbon emissions while non-renewable energy increases CO2 emissions, and the EKC hypothesis is supported. The Dumitrescu-Hurlin non-causality approach indicates that there is bidirectional causality between renewable energy and carbon emissions, and unidirectional causality running from real income to carbon emissions, from CO2 emissions to non-renewable energy, and from trade openness to CO2 emissions.


  • Carbon emissions;
  • Renewable energy;
  • Non-renewable energy;
  • Trade;
  • EKC hypothesis;
  • European Union

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