New Study Discovers Countries with Transparent Mining Sectors Have Lower Carbon Emissions

In a new study conducted by the University of Sussex, data shows that countries which are part of the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) have recorded a 13% average decline in carbon emissions between the years 2000 and 2014. However, the world average carbon footprint per capita increased by 23% in the same period. The initiative demands financial transparency over gas, oil and mining revenues.

Benjamin Sovacool, an energy policy professor involved in the research, explains how the scheme has allowed nations globally to use recovered funds that would have been lost to corruption to invest in more sustainable energy forms and other environmental practices. In the study, which was published in the “Extractive Industries and Society” journal, Sovacool also describes that the relationship between carbon reductions and EITI membership is not necessarily deterministic.

In a media statement, Sovacool states that the EITI has brought about changes throughout the industry without using standard approaches and tools such as mandates, timetables, environmental standards and carbon permits.

Using a unique World Bank dataset, the research compared the median of 218 nations against the performance of the 12 countries that were the first to acquire EITI Candidacy Status using data on political, economic and social metrics from the years 2000 to 2020.

Apart from a decline in carbon emissions, the study discovered that the EITI countries performed better than the world average on standards related to interest rates, foreign direct investment, control of corruption, rule of law and regulatory quality.

The researchers also observed a link between EITI membership, declines in extreme poverty rates and growth in energy infrastructure investment. Despite this, EITI nations did not record a universal improvement against the global average on all metrics. Instead, these nations saw a 235% decrease in political stability while globally, the situation improved by more than 11%. Additionally, EITI countries only experienced a 30% increase in private sector investment while on average, countries enjoyed a 226% growth in the same.

Sovacool stated that the EITI is both a necessary and important ingredient for sustainable development in countries that are dependent on natural resources, but it isn’t all that is needed. He asserted that while EITI membership may enhance foreign direct investment and economic governance, membership did not prompt improved democracy, reduce poverty or increase stability. However, he added that the research findings suggest that when governments and corporations in resources-rich nations were left to their own devices, this did not always lower their standards or continue the resource curse.

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