It is generally accepted in the scientific community that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which lead to global warming, arise from using fossil fuels, namely coal, oil and gas, as energy sources. Consequently, alleviating the effects of global warming and climate change necessitates substantial reductions in the use of fossil fuel energy. This paper uses a financial market-based approach to investigate whether positive stock returns cause changes in CO2 emissions, or vice-versa, based on the Granger causality test to determine cause and effect, or leader and follower. If Granger causality can be determined in any direction, this will enable a clear directional statement regarding temporal predictability between stock returns and CO2 emissions. The empirical data include annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion of the three main fossil energy sources, namely coal, oil and gas, based on 18 countries with sophisticated financial markets that are in the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI)World Index from 1971 to 2017. The empirical results show clearly that all the statistically significant causality findings are unidirectional from the stock market returns to CO2 emissions from coal, oil and gas, but not the reverse. More importantly, the regression results suggest that when stock returns rise by 1%, CO2 emissions from coal combustion decrease by 9% among the countries that are included in MSCI World Index. Furthermore, when stock returns rise 1%, CO2 emissions from oil combustion increase by 2%, but stock returns have no significant effect on CO2 emissions from gas combustion.

Carbon emissions, Climate change, Fossil fuels, Global warming, Granger causality, Predictability, Sophisticated financial markets, stock market returns,
Department of Econometrics

Chang, C-L, Ilomäki, J, Laurila, H, & McAleer, M.J. (2020). Causality between CO2 emissions and stock markets. Energies, 13(11). doi:10.3390/en13112893