Environmental and Resource Economics, Volume 63(1), 57-77
This paper analyses the international inequalities in CO2 emissions intensity for the period 1971–2009 and assesses explanatory factors. Group, additive and multiplicative methodologies of inequality decomposition are employed. The first allows us to understand the role of regional groups; the second allows us to investigate the role of different fossil energy sources (coal, oil and gas); and the third allows us to clarify the separated role of the carbonisation index and the energy intensity in the pattern observed for inequalities in CO2 intensities. The results show that, first, the reduction in global emissions intensity has coincided with a significant reduction in international inequality. Second, the bulk of this inequality and its reduction are attributed to differences between the groups of countries considered. Third, coal is the main energy source explaining these inequalities, although the growth in the relative contribution of gas is also remarkable. Fourth, the bulk of inequalities between countries and its decline are explained by differences in energy intensities, although there are significant differences in the patterns demonstrated by different groups of countries. The policy implications of these results are discussed.