Abstract: This study investigated the link between GDP, energy consumption and CO2 emission and examined the role of decoupling CO2 from GDP and energy consumption in reducing climate change in six ECOWAS countries. Using data on real GDP per capita, energy consumption per capita, and CO2 emission for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo between 1970 and 2015, panel autoregressive distributed lag (PARDL), the study found evidence of a strong and positive link between CO2 and energy and growth for all six countries. Furthermore, the growth hypothesis was found to hold in the entire region in the long run while the conservation hypothesis held in the short run. The main implication of these findings is that these countries are more amenable to conservation policies in the short run. In the long run, however, attempts to conserve energy consumption may harm growth. Increased decoupling of CO2 from energy consumption was found to lead to higher energy intensity, thereby validating the energy rebound effect in these countries. However, increased decoupling of CO2 from economic activity was found to reduce energy intensity in the entire region in the long run. It is recommended that the need to pursue greater growth in these countries ought to factor in the link between energy and growth and between energy and CO2 emission as well as the limitation of conservation as a reliable long-term strategy for curbing CO2 emission.

JEL classification: Q43, Q56
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