An Empirical Study on Relationship between Economic Growth and Carbon Emissions Based on Decoupling Theory

Xingjun Ru, Shaofeng Chen, Hongxiang Dong


This article is based on Tapio’s decoupling model theory, make a quantitative evaluation on the relationship between economic development and carbon dioxide emissions in 6 typical developed countries, that is the United States, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, and 3 typical developing countries, that is China, Brazil and India. We find that strong decoupling between economic development and carbon emissions occurs in all developed countries and at least once in every country; 6 developed countries’ decoupling trends are continued in the entire target research phase; decoupling trends in 3 typical developing countries had substantial differences. Generally speaking, developing countries’ decoupling elasticity values are significantly higher than developed countries’ decoupling elasticity values in the entire target research phase. The final conclusion is that continued decoupling can be achieved; pursuit of achieving strong decoupling between economic growth and carbon emissions should not at the expense of economic regression or economic stagnation, in this sense, positive strong decoupling did not appeared in 3 typical developing countries, it will be take a long time for developing countries to achieve developed countries’ decoupling achievements.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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