CO2 Emissions and Economic Growth: The Post-1990 Annex I Story

For the financially vested climate alarmists who continue to claim that developed nations can drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions -- perhaps even entirely decarbonize their economies, without seriously harming economic growth and the prosperity of current and future generations, the story of the Annex I group tells a very different story.

The Annex I parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN-FCCC) are the industrialized countries that were members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 1992, plus countries with economies in transition (the EIT Parties), including the Russian Federation, the Baltic States, and several Central and Eastern European States. The latest CO2 emissions data for these nations is 2012.

The following chart shows the change in CO2 emissions for each of the Annex I parties between 1990 and 2012 plotted against the corresponding change in real GDP for each country:

Other than a unique grouping of Belarus, Poland, Luxembourg, and Ireland, and the special cases of Turkey and Ukraine, all the Annex I parties group along a line that clearly shows a strong positive correlation between emissions and economic growth.

The message is undeniable: those nations who limited their CO2 emissions experienced much lower economic growth compared to those who did not. There is two-way causation in these types of plots, but one thing cannot be refuted -- there is absolutely no evidence that reducing CO2 emissions will not significantly damage a nation’s economy. In fact, all the evidence points in the opposite direction, towards an era of much slower economic growth -- and perhaps a serious depression -- within the developed world if we move rapidly forward towards decarbonization.