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Journal Articles Environmental and Resource Economics Year : 2023

The environmental effects of the “twin” green and digital transition in European regions

Abstract

This study explores the nexus between digital and green transformations—the so-called “twin” transition—in European regions in an effort to identify the impact of digital and environmental technologies on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions originating from industrial production. We conduct an empirical analysis based on an original dataset that combines information on environmental and digital patent applications with information on GHG emissions from highly polluting plants for the period 2007–2016 at the metropolitan region level in the European Union and the UK. Results show that the local development of environmental technologies reduces GHG emissions, while the local development of digital technologies increases them, albeit in the latter case different technologies seem to have different impacts on the environment, with big data and computing infrastructures being the most detrimental. We also find differential impacts across regions depending on local endowment levels of the respective technologies: the beneficial effect of environmental technologies is stronger in regions with large digital technology endowments and, conversely, the detrimental effect of digital technologies is weaker in regions with large green technology endowments. Policy actions promoting the “twin” transition should take this evidence into account, in light of the potential downside of the digital transformation when not combined with the green transformation.

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hal-04048872 , version 1 (28-03-2023)

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Stefano Bianchini, Giacomo Damioli, Claudia Ghisetti. The environmental effects of the “twin” green and digital transition in European regions. Environmental and Resource Economics, 2023, 84 (4), pp.877-918. ⟨10.1007/s10640-022-00741-7⟩. ⟨hal-04048872⟩
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