What Really Drives the Deployment of Renewable Energy? A Global Assessment of 118 Countries

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Renewable energy deployment, Vulnerability to climate change, Carbon intensity, Carbon tax

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Climate change poses unprecedented risks to human society. Ample scientific evidence suggests that greenhouse gas emissions are the primary contributor to climate change. Large-scale greenhouse gas emissions are mainly caused by the consumption of fossil fuels. Thus, promoting renewable energy is one key strategy to mitigate these emissions and combat climate change. In this study, we investigate some potential driving forces of renewable energy deployment. We analyze panel data from 118 countries worldwide from 1995 to 2015. Results show that countries that are more vulnerable to climate change and have less carbon-intensive economies deploy higher shares of renewable energy in their total energy consumption. However, carbon tax has a statistically insignificant influence on renewable energy deployment. This study complements the literature by exploring the impact of climate change vulnerability, carbon intensity, and carbon taxes on renewable energy deployment. The findings imply that countries become more supportive of renewable energy when their economies are less intertwined with fossil fuels and when relevant policies are in place to provide incentives on renewables.

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Energy Research & Social Science, v. 72, art. 101880