The results obtained for this paper stem from the research project “Environmental Pollution as a Global Phenomenon” sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG). I wish to thank Christoph Oberst, Lena Masch, Katja Staack, Kati Kuitto, and Thomas Behm for help with the data collection, as well as Douglas Voigt for suggestions and editing. The paper was presented at the 8th International Summer Academy on Energy and the Environment in Guildford, UK, June 23–29, 2011 where I received numerous helpful comments from fellow participants. I also thank Roger Karapin at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center who gave many helpful suggestions. Finally, I thank the four anonymous reviewers for very thoughtful and detailed comments and suggestions.
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In practice heating degrees may vary over time and between countries according to the standard of buildings. However, this aspect could not been taken into account because no information is available for a systematic analysis. For the methodological consequences, see also footnote 2.
The base temperature 65°F or 15°C is rather arbitrary. However, 15°C is grounded in the research of thermal comfort models [Fanger 1973; for a recent overview see Orosa (2009)]. Research on thermoregulation and heat balance theory describes thermal comfort as the discrepancy between actual heat flow from the body in a given thermal environment and the heat flow required for optimal comfort for a given activity. This is dependent on air temperature, average temperature radiant, air velocity, and the absolute humidity of the air. The minimal accepted value is 15°C (see also ASHRAE 2004). However, the HDM index is relatively robust no matter which base temperature is used. For instance, the HDM index correlates highly (Pearson’s r = 0.985) with 65°F and 15°C. Since all countries included in this study are highly industrialized and have similar housing standards, the base temperature of 15°C is used for all 21 countries over the whole period. Although one may argue that there are differences between countries and periods, quantifying those differences is not possible within the framework of this study.
HDMs are obviously less precise than HDDs and leads to fewer heating degrees. However, as shown in footnote 8, the HDM index constructed in this article correlates strongly with the HDD index for the countries and time period where both indices are available.
For some years, multiple imputations were used to complete the dataset by using climate stations from the same region and with high correlation.
Regional population data are dependent on a census or official estimations. These data points were not available annually. Therefore data points were interpolated from one observation to the other.
For instance, in the year 2000, the average winter temperature (December–February) was −10.7°C for Edmonton, −16.07°C for Winnipeg, −5.37°C for Toronto, and −8.7°C for Montreal.
For the state of Nevada, where Las Vegas is located, the population has grown from 285 000 in 1960 to about 2 million in 2000. This means that in 1960, 0.16% of the U.S. population lived in Nevada whereas 0.71% did in 2000.
California had 8.8% of the U.S. population in 1960 and 12.04% in 2000. The East Coast states and the states aligned to the climate station of Chicago had half of the population in 1960. This figure went down to 38.8% in the year 2000. In Finland, the population in the south was 70% in 1960 and 77% in 2000. In Sweden, the northern population went down from 12.4% to 9.9% and in Norway, the northern and central Norwegian population fell from 21.3% in 1960 to 18.9% in 2002.
The gases CO, NOx, and CO2 contribute to global warming; however, SOx has the opposite effect since SO2 forms sulfate aerosols that reflect sun radiation back to space, and it also affects cloud formation.
The data are taken from OECD. The GDP per capita has been divided by 1.000 to create coefficients with fewer zeros.
The regression models have also been run without fixed effects and period effects as well as first difference models (changes from one year to the next). Concerning the HDM index the results are similar in respect to the significance although some control variables change their impact on atmospheric emissions.
Analysis is not shown here but is available on request by the author.
Of course HDMs and CDMs are also important for the analysis of developing countries. However, constructing indices for those countries is a challenging task for future research.