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Environmental Conservation as an Engine for Economic Growth: Testing the Validity of Environmental Kuznets Curve on Carbon Emissions for Kenya

Mercyline W. Kamande, University of Dares Salaam

Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis postulates an inverted U-shaped relationship between Carbon dioxide emissions and per capita income. However, the experiences of many countries show that economic growth is causing an increase in resource use and pollution more than it is a solution to environmental problems. The consequences of neglecting environmental conservation can be drastic. This study investigates the role of environmental conservation as an engine for economic growth in Kenya by exploring the relevance of the Environmental Kuznets Curve. Using time series data from World Development Indicators for Kenya for the years 1960 to 2006, a quadratic Environmental Kuznets Curve between per capita carbon emissions and per capita GDP is estimated. The study finds no evidence for the inverted-U relationship but rather a cyclical relationship is observed. Given these findings, the responsibility of environmental conservation cannot be passively left to economic growth but rather deliberate efforts must be made to ensure a clean environment. This is possible by pursuing a vigorous environmental policy alongside economic development policy.