Okay – one last time. I decided to have a look at Will Steffen’s comment:
So much for the myth that taking vigorous action on climate change will damage or slow the economy. Quite the opposite seems to be the case.
Sweden is part of the European Emissions Trading System so it is possible to compare like with like. A very simple test is to compare economic growth over the phase one period of the EU ETS. The Wiki provides a very nice table showing the change in emissions over the 2005 – 2007 period. It also has the nice feature of pre-dating the GFC. I then collected GDP (at PPP prices) from the IMF for those economies for the 2005 – 2007 period and calculated percentage changes and then graphed the data.
For the 24 economies in the sample Sweden is at the median for growth but has achieved the greatest emission reduction. That does not support Steffen’s argument. To be fair it doesn’t negate it either. A lot more analysis would have to be undertaken and I wouldn’t be surprised if that analysis did negate Steffen’s argument.
I also put a trend line through the data – the coefficient is positive but not statistically significantly different from zero (p-value not shown). So the (very simple) analysis fails to reject the hypothesis that there is no relationship between emissions change and economic growth in the EU ETS over the 2005 – 2007 period.
Update: Should point out the other country to come close to cutting as much as Sweden is Portugal and their growth was an anaemic 10.3 per cent.