AbstractsPolitical Science

Energy Paths and Political Commitments: Their Roles in Environmental Inequality

by Corinne Ong

Institution: University of North Texas
Year: 2014
Keywords: Environmental inequality; energetic theory; political commitments; decentralized renewable energy; less developed countries; GHG emissions
Record ID: 2024776
Full text PDF: http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500097/


Decentralized renewable energy procurement has gained traction in recent years for its potential to alleviate rural energy poverty and environmental degradation in developing countries. Hence, this study investigates if deploying renewable energy can mitigate rural energy poverty in developing countries as often claimed. Because any energy regime cannot be initiated or sustained without the conviction of local political leaders, the study also evaluates the extent to which government investments in the development of renewable energy technologies and the energy sector, affect the environmental quality (i.e. greenhouse gas emissions) of developing countries. Energetic theory and environmental inequality constitute the key conceptual premises guiding this study. Ordinary least squares regression is utilized to analyze the relationship between key variables. The results reveal that as of 2010, use of renewable energy can indeed support rural electrification. Higher GNI per capita and use of conventional fuels are also positively related to rural electrification, all else equal. As for environmental degradation in 2005 and 2008, R&D investments actually tend to increase GHG emissions; procuring energy from either renewable or non-renewable sources is however, found to be environmentally detrimental, net of all other variables. Finally, some evidence is found for the role of aid funds and multilateral debt in abating GHG emissions.