Economic growth and atmospheric pollution in Spain: discussing the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis
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The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis posits an inverted U relationship between environmental pressure and per capita income. Recent research has examined this hypothesis for different pollutants in different countries. Despite certain empirical evidence showing that some specific environmental pressures have diminished in developed countries, the hypothesis could not be generalized to the global relationship between economy and environment at all. In this article, we contribute to this debate analyzing the trends of annual emission flux of six atmospheric pollutants in Spain. The study presents evidence that there is not any correlation between higher income level and smaller emissions, except for SO2 whose evolution might be compatible with the EKC hypothesis. The authors argue that the relationship between income level and diverse types of emissions depends on many factors. Thus it cannot be thought that economic growth, by itself, will solve environmental problems. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.