The Jevons Paradox and Anthropogenic Global Warming: A Panel Analysis of State-Level Carbon Emissions in the United States, 1963–1997
Between 1963 and 1997, the average carbon emissions intensity of all American states decreased by roughly 30%, meaning there was almost three-tenths less carbon emitted for every dollar of economic growth, adjusting for inflation. However, decreasing emissions intensity did not translate into a reduction in overall carbon emissions. A first-differenced, cross-sectional, autoregressive time-series analysis at the state level reveals that the increase in emissions still depended on inflation-adjusted economic growth, even when controlling for the effects of changes in population size and percent of economy in the industrial sector. For the period examined, 1963?1997, these findings represent the Jevons paradox as emphasized by political economists in environmental sociology. The implications suggest that the benefits to the climate from technological improvements have been minimal because the political economy of capitalism has not been addressed.