The Impact of Environmental Technological Innovations on CO2 Emissions: The Case of OECD CountriesMehmet Akyol, Emrullah Mete
Global warming and climate change, caused by greenhouse gas emissions, have compelled all countries to reconsider their production factors. Developing technologies to reduce emission volumes has been one of the priority targets for countries. This study investigated the impact of environmental technological innovations on CO2 emissions in 18 OECD members. The panel generalized method of moments (GMM)was employed in the study to produce estimates for the period between 2005 and 2018. Energy consumption, economic growth (GDP), and technological innovation data were used as independent variables in the study, CO2 emissions were used as dependent variable, whereas the number of patents preventing climate change was used as a technological innovation indicator. The analysis results showed that a 1% increase in patent applications for preventing climate change reduced CO2 emissions by 0.02%. However, a 1% increase in energy consumption caused an increase of 0.56% in CO2 emissions. Finally, the 1% increase in the GDP growth rate caused an increase of 0.002% in CO2 emissions.
Çevresel Teknolojik İnovasyonların CO2 Emisyonu Üzerindeki Etkisi: OECD Ülkeleri ÖrneğiMehmet Akyol, Emrullah Mete
Sera gazı emisyonlarının neden olduğu küresel ısınma ve iklim değişikliği tüm ülkeleri üretim faktörlerini yeniden gözden geçirmeye zorlamaktadır. Emisyon hacimlerini düşürücü teknolojilerin geliştirilmesi ülkeler için öncelikli hedeflerden biri olmuştur. Bu çalışmada çevresel teknolojik inovasyonların CO2 emisyonu üzerindeki etkisi OECD kurucu üyesi 18 ülke için araştırılmıştır. 2005-2018 yılları arası dönemin incelendiği çalışmada panel genelleştirilmiş momentler metodu (GMM) yönteminden yararlanılmıştır. Bağımlı değişken olarak CO2 emisyonunun kullanıldığı çalışmada enerji tüketimi, ekonomik büyüme (GSYH) ve teknolojik inovasyon verileri bağımsız değişken olarak kullanılmıştır. Teknolojik inovasyon göstergesi olarak iklim değişikliğini önleyici patent sayıları kullanılmıştır. Analiz sonuçlarına göre, iklim değişikliğini önlemeye yönelik patent başvurularında meydana gelen %1 düzeyinde artış CO2 emisyonunu %0.02 oranında azaltmaktadır. Diğer yandan enerji tüketiminde meydana gelen %1 düzeyindeki artış CO2 emisyonu üzerinde %0.56 oranında artışa neden olmaktadır. Son olarak GSYH büyüme hızında meydana gelen %1 düzeyindeki artış ise CO2 emisyonu üzerinde %0.001 oranında artışa neden olmaktadır.
Following the industrial revolution, the adoption of mechanization, the introduction of mass production, and the use of fossil fuels put serious pressure on the ecosystem, resulting in climate change and environmental pollution. This mode of production and economic growth, which has threatened the continuity of natural life since the first half of the 20th century, has begun to draw attention, necessitating the introduction of certain environmental principles. One of the key principles is the concept of sustainable development. Sustainable development refers to economic development based on the use of renewable resources, considering the environmental effects of economic activities. Achieving economic growth without causing environmental pollution will be possible only with technological development and innovation.
According to the endogenous economic growth theory, increase in research and development (R&D) activities can provide factor productivity and an increase in production with technological innovation; however, the contribution of technological innovation to environmental quality, especially greenhouse gas emissions, is uncertain. Thus, it is important to determine whether technological innovation protects the environment.
Technological innovation is considered as a key solution to environmental problems and a viable instrument for sustainable development. Technological innovation refers to the innovation of production or production technology, the development of new ideas, development and implementation of new patents and technologies, and modification in the existing production process. The relationship between economic growth and CO2 emissions is based on the Environmental Kuznets Curve in economic literature. The relationship between economic growth and pollution is presented as an inverse U-curve, and the increase in production and income creates an initial increasing pressure on the environment as countries continue their economic development. On reaching a certain income level, the environmental pressure created by economic growth is decreased.
Studies on the emission-reducing effect of technological innovation are important not only in the relation to countries but also for academic purposes. In this regard, this study used energy technology innovation to test the impact of technology on emissions; it evaluated the R&D scale and, finally, developed a patent. Unlike R&D expenditure, patent data were a measure of output. A patent is a right to the person making an invention granted by a governing authority; it may grant other people the right to use the invention for a certain period. Obtaining a patent is both an intensive procedure and a very expensive process. The intensive procedure and heavy cost serve as a guarantor for high quality inventions. A patent is usually granted after the development of the technology has begun, that is, it proofs that success has been achieved.
This study examined the impact of environmental technological innovations on CO2 emissions in 18 OECD founding countries. The study focused on the period between 2005 and 2018. CO2 emissions were used as the dependent variable; energy consumption, economic growth (GDP), and technological innovation data were used as independent variables. The panel generalized method of moments (GMM) was used for the analysis and the number of patents to prevent climate change was used as a technological innovation indicator.
The patent data used in the study were scored according to the inventor countries. For example, where there was a joint patent application from two different countries, each country was given 0.5 points to prevent duplicate counting, and in case of applications from three countries, each country was given 0.33 points. Concerning patent applications, classifications were made based on the technology density. There were four classifications. Classifications of 1 and above refer to all patent applications, including inventions with low value. In this study, patent applications of inventions with higher value were used, considering the classifications of 2 and above.
Analyzed results show that the increase in energy consumption and economic growth increase CO2 emissions and an increase in the number of patents reduces CO2 emissions. The evaluated results in terms of OECD countries were not surprising. In fact, patent applications for environmental innovations aimed at preventing climate change increased approximately six times in the last three decades across OECD countries. This increase indicates the importance given to policies for preventing environmental problems in OECD countries. Additionally, the acceleration of globalization, the increase in the world population, and the resulting increase in total demand increased the production and energy demand. Although efforts to reduce energy consumption based on fossil resources and interest in renewable energy have recently increased, the share of renewable energy consumption in total energy consumption has not yet reached the desired levels.