Emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels, which may contribute to long-term climate change, are projected through 2050 using reduced-form models estimated with national-level panel data for the period of 1950–1990. Using the same set of income and population growth assumptions as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we find that the IPCC's widely used emissions growth projections exhibit significant and substantial departures from the implications of historical experience. Our model employs a flexible form for income effects, along with fixed time and country effects, and we handle forecast uncertainty explicitly. We find clear evidence of an “inverse U” relation with a within-sample peak between carbon dioxide emissions (and energy use) per capita and per-capita income.

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