Understanding how energy efficiency improvement can mitigate CO2 emissions is critical for global climate change policies to ensure environmental sustainability and a low carbon future. Being the catalyst for training future generations, universities can play a leading role in this vision by adopting energy-saving and emissions reduction strategies. Using HESA data, a centralized system of reporting energy use and corresponding emissions, we adopt a two-step system GMM estimation procedure to estimate the effect of energy efficiency on CO2 emissions for 119 UK universities over the period between 2008–2009 and 2018–2019. Results confirm that higher energy efficiency is conducive to lower emissions. However, the less-than-elastic relationship between energy efficiency and emissions implies that energy efficiency improvement alone cannot enable the UK universities to comply with their net-zero objectives unless they increasingly adopt renewable energy sources. Despite this, universities were able to avoid 2.21 gtCO2e emissions over the sample period due to energy efficiency improvements. Our results are robust to alternative specifications.

Shaikh M.S.U. Eskander & Khandokar Istiak (2022) Energy efficiency and CO2 emissions: evidence from the UK universities, Applied Economics, DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2022.2130872

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