SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, vol.723, 2020 (SCI-Expanded)
A vast body of literature estimates the impact of economic growth on environmental degradation in the framework of EKC model. Typical empirical studies proxy environmental degradation with CO2 emissions; however, this indicator does not consider the complex nature of environmental degradation. To fulfill this omission, ecological footprint that tracks the use of multiple categories of productive surface areas is used as proxy for the environment. Moreover, studies that do not consider issues of heterogeneity and cross-sectional dependence may not produce reliable outcomes. Hence, the present study re-investigates the validity of the EKC hypothesis for BRICST (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Turkey) by using ecological footprint and considering the mentioned issues in the estimation process. Based on the annual data covering the period of 1980-2014, excluding Russia due to data unavailability, empirical results show that the EKC hypothesis is not valid, and energy intensity and energy structure are important determinants of environmental degradation. In line with the empirical outputs, possible policy suggestions are discussed in the present study. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.