Understanding material and energy use in the processes of decoupling CO2 emissions from economic growth

Akdogan T., Erkara E., Mert B., Hicyilmaz B., Alatas S., KARAKAYA E.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, vol.30, no.33, pp.80863-80883, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 33
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11356-023-28020-y
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, IBZ Online, ABI/INFORM, Aerospace Database, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Environment Index, Geobase, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.80863-80883
  • Keywords: CO2 Emissions, Materials, Energy, Decoupling, Decomposition, Decoupling Effort Index, Tapio, LMDI, DECOMPOSITION ANALYSIS, CHINA, EU, CONSUMPTION, DRIVERS
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


The share of emissions from materials has dramatically increased over the last decades and is projected to rise in the coming years. Therefore, understanding the environmental effect of materials becomes highly crucial, especially from the climate mitigation perspective. However, its effect on emissions is often overlooked and more attention is heavily paid to the energy-related policies. In this study, to address this shortcoming, we investigate the role of materials on the decoupling of carbon-dioxide emissions (CO2) from economic growth and compare it with the role of energy use in the world's top-19 emitting countries for the 1990-2019 period. Methodologically, using the logarithmic mean divisia index (LMDI) approach, we first decompose CO2 emissions into four effects based on the two different model specifications (materials and energy models). We secondly determine the impact decoupling status and efforts of countries with two different approaches: Tapio-based decoupling elasticity (TAPIO) and decoupling effort index (DEI). Our LMDI and TAPIO results show that material and energy-related efficiency effects have an inhibitory factor. However, the carbon intensity of materials has not contributed to CO2 emissions reduction and impact decoupling as much as the carbon intensity of energy has. DEI results indicate that while developed countries make relatively good progress towards decoupling, particularly after the Paris Agreement, developing countries need to further improve their mitigation efforts. Designing and implementing some policies only centering energy/material intensity or carbon intensity of energy might not be sufficient to achieve the decoupling. Both energy- and material-related strategies should be considered in harmony.