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Abstract

York, Richard. 2008. De-Carbonization in Former Soviet Republics, 1992–2000: The Ecological Consequences of De-Modernization. Social Problems, Vol. 55, Issue 3, pp. 370–390.

I use panel data to empirically assess the effects of a variety of theoretically important structural factors on national level CO2 emissions in the former Soviet republics, a context of de-modernization and peripheralization. Several theories address the effects of modernization on the environment, but they neglect to consider the environmental consequences of de-modernization. Unlike the trends in most other nations over the twentieth century, former Soviet republics in the 1990s saw their collective population size, economy, level of urbanization, level of industrialization, and international trade decline, and, thus, they provide an ideal context in which to assess the effects of de-modernization on the environment. In addition to the dramatic changes in economic and demographic factors, the size of the militaries of the former Soviet republics changed substantially during the 1990s, with some republics expanding their militaries while other were scaling theirs back. I take advantage of the substantial variation within the former Soviet republics, and assess the effects of militarization, in addition to economic and demographic factors, on CO2 emissions. I find that de-modernization, as indicated by declines in GDP per capita and urbanization, led to declines in CO2 emissions, countering claims that further modernization is
necessary to resolve the environmental crisis. I also find that militarization has an effect on CO2 emissions above and beyond that of economic development.

Keywords: carbon dioxide emissions, former Soviet republics, STIRPAT, militarization, environmental impacts

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