Up in Smoke: The Human Ecology and Political Economy of Coal Consumption


Structural human ecology, ecological modernization theory, and international political economy perspectives are engaged to assess the extent to which coal consumption is influenced by various demographic factors, socioeconomic characteristics, and international relationships. Results of panel analyses for a sample of 66 countries from 1990 to 2005 indicate that both total population size and economic development increase levels of coal consumption. Additional findings suggest that export-oriented manufacturing increases coal consumption in developing nations but not in developed nations. The authors conclude by reflecting on the theoretical implications of the study and the policy relevance of the results for dealing with the human causes and consequences of climate change.